Every Ghostface In The Scream Series, Ranked

The slasher film subgenre is often the black sheep of horror movies, typically focusing on cliché teenage characters getting hacked up with cheap jump scares sprinkled throughout. Then, the masked villain is "killed" at the end, only to be brought back in increasingly ridiculous ways in the sequels. Rinse and repeat. It's a tried and true formula that critics scoff at while audiences gobble it up. There is one slasher franchise, however, that is a cut above the rest. In 1996, Wes Craven's brilliant horror/comedy "Scream" revitalized and reinvented the genre. It offered up meta-commentary with scares and laughs in equal measure, with the added fun of being wrapped up in a whodunnit. 

By slasher standards, the "Scream" franchise has mostly solid entries, with all of them boasting a Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes (aside from the stumbling third entry, but we'll get to that). With the sixth movie taking Ghostface on a mayhem-fueled trip through Manhattan, we thought it's time to ask: "Who's your favorite scary Ghostface?" We're going to rank each killer based on the surprise of their reveal and motive, the brutality of their kills, and overall how much fun they are to watch. It's time to slice into these maniacal movie murderers. Warning: spoilers ahead, including for "Scream VI." 

13. Ethan Landry - Scream VI

Ethan Landry (Jack Champion) is Chad Meeks-Martin's (Mason Gooding) nerdy roommate. First glimpsed at a Halloween frat party in a homemade costume that could be Monty Python-inspired or a reference to the indie horror/comedy "Murder Party," he spends most of his screen time either showing up with sketchy alibis or offering nervous reactions to possibly being the next victim, given his proximity to the Carpenter sisters (Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega). The reveal that he is the least-favorite sibling of deceased Ghostface, Richie Kirsch (Jack Quaid), rates as a twist we should have seen coming, but in typical "Scream" fashion, there are misdirects aplenty — and they're effective.

Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) suspects Ethan immediately. After all, he has no close connection to the group besides being Chad's roommate. The subway scene is a killer way to convince us he's not Ghostface, and he appears in the surveillance van when Gale throws down with her ghastly assailant. The reveal genuinely surprises, but Ethan doesn't get to do much once unmasked. It's pretty much Detective Bailey's (Dermot Mulroney) time to unleash his evil monologue. Also, just try to tie Ethan to any actual kill. He attacks Chad and Tara but fails to kill either. He can claim one of the best death scenes, though, with a knife in the mouth and then the infamous Stu Macher tube television to the head. 

12. Quinn Bailey - Scream VI

Quinn Bailey (Liana Liberato) plays Sam's sex-positive roommate, who appreciates "variety," as she calls it. Quinn delivers a few funny moments in the first act. She accidentally c**k-blocks Tara and Chad's first near-kiss. She comes across as a friend genuinely concerned for Tara, opening up about how over-protective her father has been since her brother died. Her reveal at the end proves shocking since we assumed she was dead, but her killer time as Ghostface ends when Sam introduces her head to a bullet. 

Quinn isn't the first Ghostface to fake their death, but the filmmakers convincingly staged this particular fake-out. Since Quinn receives limited screen time, her final act showdown amounts to little more than sequel "canon" fodder" to up the body count. We should have known when Sam's ID was found at Jason Carvey's apartment that her roommate stole it, but that's an easy dot to connect with the benefit of hindsight. We never see her body at the crime scene, but again, that could be construed as the filmmakers using restraint and not gratuitously showing Detective Bailey sobbing over his daughter's sliced-up body. Her "death" shifts suspicion away from Quinn and her dad. While her fight with Gale and the tense subway sequence with Mindy are stand-outs, neither kill attempt sticks, and her body count is non-existent compared to previous Ghostface killers.

11. Roman Bridger in Scream 3

"Scream 3" features bizarre plot choices, overly campy humor, and such tame violence that it barely feels part of the same universe. Original "Scream" scribe Kevin Williamson wrote a detailed outline, but it wasn't used for various reasons, including that they felt "it was too violent," considering the Columbine High School shooting and "teenage violence," as Williamson told Bloody Disgusting. The result was a trilogy finale that leaned too heavily into comedy over horror and provided a baffling third-act killer reveal. While this Ghostface wins the award for highest body count since he's the sole killer, all his kills are forgettable at best.

Roman Bridger (Scott Foley) is the director of the latest "Stab" sequel, the in-movie film series based on the original Woodsboro Killings. Before long, his cast starts falling victim to a copycat Ghostface. Roman eventually shows up "dead," only to reveal he faked his death, a lame rehash of the original's twist. Then, there's the reveal that he's Sidney's (Neve Campbell) illegitimate half-brother after slimeball producer John Milton (Lance Henricksen) assaulted their mother. A plot detail that feels both timely and bizarre since real-life monster Harvey Weinstein produced the movie. 

Roman also adds he was the one who corrupted Billy to go on his killing spree. See, it's all connected ... or is it just a shoe-horned retcon? The most unforgivably silly plot device is Roman's future-tech voice changer, allowing him to mimic any character's voice. It's a lazy way to make the audience suspect everyone with technology that still doesn't exist.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

10. Charlie Walker in Scream 4

"Scream 4" billed itself with the tagline: "New decade. New rules." The fourth entry takes a stab at Hollywood's penchant for remakes and reboots while continuing our favorite legacy characters' stories. Charlie (Rory Culkin) is this "Screamake's" Randy (Jamie Kennedy), the resident film buff and "Stab" fanatic. Charlie has some of the most meta and entertaining banter pre-killer reveal with his buddy Robbie (Erik Knudsen). He even confesses his manifesto early on, unbeknownst to the other characters or audience. Charlie states the logical evolution would be to film the murders and upload them to the web, "making your art as immortal as you." He also defines the rules of remakes as "the reversals become the new standards."

Charlie spells out his plan, but we think he's the in-the-know movie geek. There are also moments, like when Charlie is tied up, mirroring the boyfriend's death in the original film's opening, that make us fear he will be the next victim. Charlie is responsible for some of the most graphic kills in the movie. While his co-conspirator, Jill (Emma Roberts), is playing the "victim," he's off getting stab-happy. Olivia (Marielle Jaffe) is brutally slashed up and disemboweled. He viciously stabs Kirby, angry that she finally noticed him, giving off real incel vibes. While Charlie being one of the Ghostface killers is a genuine surprise, his motive is a bit of a rehash and isn't quite as scary and cold-blooded as his cohort in crime, Jill.

9. Jason Carvey - Scream VI

"Scream VI" opens with Laura Crane (Samara Weaving) at a swanky bar awaiting a blind date. Her date calls, expressing embarrassment because he's lost. He lures her away from prying eyes, only to switch to the classic Ghostface voice and scold her for walking down a dark alley alone. Ghostface jumps out, viciously stabs away at Laura, and then takes off his mask in a franchise first. Underneath we find Jason Carvey (Tony Revolori). He heads home, places the bloody mask in his shrine to the "Stab" movies, and then receives a call from the same familiar voice. Thinking it's his roommate Greg, he plays along until the killer directs him to find Greg's dismembered body in the refrigerator. Jason meets this movie's real Ghostface, and his killing spree ends with only one notch in his belt. 

Jason's motive: finish Richie's movie and help get the "Stab" franchise back on track. It's a meta way of continuing the theme of toxic fandom while clearly stating that this installment is moving on. Our new Ghostface plays no games, even delivering the rage-filled line: "Who gives a f**k about movies?" before dishing Jason his final slice of murder pie. This entire sequence is fantastic, featuring the most high-profile actress to bite the bullet in an opening since Drew Barrymore in "Scream." Unmasking Ghostface within the first five minutes throws the audience entirely for a loop, and then seeing this wannabe killer caught in his own game is incredibly satisfying to watch and a fun new twist. 

8. Detective Baily - Scream VI

Detective Bailey starts as the cop investigating these new Ghostface killings but enters distraught-father mode and seeks vengeance after his daughter winds up one of the "victims." Taken off the case, he joins the Core Four to trap the killer. Before the final showdown, he calls Sam and says Kirby is the killer, setting the audience on edge when the group finds itself locked in the "Stab" shrine with Kirby. Once he reveals his true identity, Richie's father, he delivers a fun, scene-chewing monologue and hilariously angry lines defending his man-child son. We bet he didn't see the final blow coming ... Sam, in a cheer-worthy, gross-out finishing move, stabs him in the eye.

Bailey is the most logical of the three to have killed Jason Carvey, knowing how to stage a crime scene, and his phone call resembles an interrogation. We are pretty sure he's the Ghostface at the bodega considering his strength, speed, and proficiency with a shotgun. That's police training, not something you learn engaging in "Call of Duty." He 100% killed Sam's therapist to eliminate any alibi for her. If we believe Ethan's econ excuse, then Detective Bailey is responsible for one of the movie's most intense sequences. The fake-out kill of Quinn, her boyfriend, filleted in the bathtub, and poor Anika (Devyn Nekoda) getting gutted and then falling off a ladder, meeting the lid of a dumpster face first, is non-stop tension and gory violence. While Detective Bailey's motive is a little lackluster, being that it's the exact same as Nancy Loomis's in "Scream 2," his kills are off the charts. 

7. Mrs. Loomis in Scream 2

"Scream 2" is arguably the best sequel in the franchise and one of the best slasher sequels in general, with a higher body count, more elaborate kills, and a satirical commentary on sequels and movie violence that's just as sharp. We also get the introduction of the "Stab" movies, taking the definition of meta to a new level. Deb Salt (Laurie Metcalf) first appears as an intrusive reporter and an easy plot device to show Gale's (Courteney Cox) character growth. The audience has almost no reason to have Deb on their suspect sheet, making the twist a shock (if not a little convenient). 

Deb reveals her true identity as the mother of Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich). Before the "logic police" can arrest Gale for not recognizing her, Sidney explains, "This is 60 pounds and a lot of work later." While Mrs. Loomis only confesses to Randy's killing, offing a fan-favorite makes her all the easier to hate. She admits her "motive isn't as '90s as Mickey's — just good old-fashioned revenge," blaming Sidney for killing her son and Maureen Prescott for breaking up her marriage. 

Mrs. Loomis claims to have found Mickey (Timothy Olyphant) in a chat room out of the "97 active serial killers" (a stat we're not sure how to fact-check) and nurtured his killer instinct. Metcalf chews the scenery and is clearly having a blast playing this unhinged serial mom. Her Ghostface doesn't rank higher only because the motive is a bit too straightforward in comparison. 

6. Amber Freeman in Scream 5

Amber (Mikey Madison) is introduced as Tara's (Jenna Ortega) friend in peril if she fails this new Ghostface's killer trivia. She then plays the role of the concerned best friend for most of the movie, even revealing that Sam (Melissa Barrera) ditched Tara when they were younger, and she doesn't want to see her friend get hurt again. When Sam is attacked by Ghostface early on, Amber has the alibi of being at the station with Sheriff Judy Hicks (Marley Shelton). Her reveal is a surprise, mainly because who could have possibly seen her whacky motive coming?

Amber and Richie (Jack Quaid) are both obsessive fans of the original "Stab" movie and want to save the franchise. How? They believe Hollywood needs some inspiration from another real-life event. So they orchestrated getting Sam, the illegitimate daughter of Billy Loomis, back to Woodsboro. They kill Dewey (David Arquette), leading to Sidney and Gale's return because, as Amber puts it, "We had to bring the legacy characters back to make it matter." 

The kills are the highest of the series on the violence scale. Tara's initial Ghostface encounter is harrowing and brutal, and Wes (Dylan Minnette) meets an excruciatingly slow end. Amber also confesses killing Dewey, a feat three prior Ghostfaces have failed, and she gets an epic throwdown with Sidney and Gale. Richie nudges out Amber's turn with more pre-reveal screentime, and his betrayal is more maddening because we all should have seen it coming a mile away.

5. Mickey Altieri from Scream 2

One of the main themes "Scream 2" dissects is if movie violence is directly responsible for real-life violence. A heated debate at the time and, as previously stated, would end up neutering "Scream 3." Mickey feels like Randy 2.0, the sequel's cooler, edgier film fanatic. Played by the then-unknown Timothy Olyphant, he's entertaining to watch even before his killer reveal, and responsible for some of the franchise's best slasher moments. The opening movie theater scene is iconic and terrifying, and later when Sidney has to crawl out of a wrecked cop car over an unconscious Ghostface, it's bite-your-nails-off intense.

Mickey is the first killer to show his face in the finale. He then proceeds to out Sid's boyfriend Derek (Jerry O'Connell) as his partner, and for a moment, we suspect this to be a "deja vu" twist. Then Mickey shoots Derek, whose dying words to Sidney are: "I never would've hurt you." It's devastating, and Mickey callously rubs this in her face, saying, "This was just the kind of boy you'd like to take home to mom. If you had a mom." 

His entire rant oozes sociopathic behavior. Mickey tells Sidney he's different from Billy because he wants to get caught and go on trial to blame the movies. His motivation is absurd and frighteningly believable. Timothy Olyphant's surprise return from the dead, only to be blasted into oblivion by Sidney and Gale, is one final scare for a top-tier Ghostface. 

4. Jill Roberts in Scream 4

Jill Roberts (Emma Roberts) has one of the most unique motives of any Ghostface killer. She wants to be famous for being a victim, a real-life final girl. The film sets her up as this generation's Sidney, with Ghostface ceaselessly stalking her, which is a solid and well-earned misdirect for the audience. After all, Sidney is her cousin, so it's easy to assume that the fourth entry in a horror series would introduce such a stereotypical plot device. When we find out she's the killer and has been playing the victim, it's a bold twist while also connecting to everything we just watched. 

"Scream 4" has a lot of hilarious things to say about reboots and remakes. It also aims sharp criticism at teens and their addiction to social media and YouTube, where, like Jill, being famous is the goal. Jill lets loose some brutal kills, like a knife to the forehead of Deputy Perkins (Anthony Anderson) or stabbing her own mother (Mary McDonnell). 

Jill goes to extremely self-punishing lengths to stage the final crime scene, including using her dead boyfriend's hand to scratch her face, stabbing herself, and bodyslamming a glass table. It's hilarious and violent, a "Scream" moment at its best. Eventually, Jill dies by defibrillators to the skull and a gunshot to the chest, followed by Sidney delivering the cheer-worthy line, "You forgot the first rule of remakes. Don't f*** with the original." 

3. Stu Macher in Scream

Matthew Lillard's performance as Stu Macher in the original "Scream" is a wild combination of over-the-top and scary, making him one of the most unhinged Ghostface killers. Initially, Stu comes off as an eccentric and inappropriate friend, cracking insensitive jokes about Casey's (Drew Barrymore) murder. He banters with and mocks his bud Randy, but overall seems harmless. When it's revealed that Stu is one of the killers, it's a betrayal to Sidney and the audience. How could this lovable goober be a cold-blooded killing machine?

What is Stu's motive? He claims it's scarier when the killer doesn't have one. So, is he a horror fan who took his love for the genre too far? A teen easily influenced by Billy's peer pressure? Or just a sicko? Maybe it's all three. We'll never know since he got some old-school FaceTime, aka death by tube TV. Before Stu meets his "electrifying" end, he dishes out very memorable kills. His girlfriend, Tatum (Rose McGowan), learns the hard way that doggie doors are for pets only. Casey, disemboweled and hanging from a tree while her mother screams, is one of the most disturbing moments in any "Scream" film. 

He also has the best one-liners, whining when Sidney turns the tables: "My mom and dad are going to be so mad at me..." or mocking Randy with "I'll be right back!" Stu is easily the funniest Ghostface killer. In contrast, his lack of motive and gleeful relishing of their bloodbath make him one of the scariest of the bunch.

2. Richie Kirsch in Scream 5

Richie Kirsch plays the loyal boyfriend caught up in Sam's violent past. Jack Quaid's natural charm and typical casting make him less suspicious, but we all should have known. Dewey calls it out immediately; always look at the love interest. When Amber reveals herself as the killer, Richie hides with Sam in the basement, a huge red flag, but we still think he's just trying to protect her. He even gets shot by Sidney while she's on the phone with Ghostface, and we still believe he's the good guy. So when he stabs Sam, it's a throw-your-popcorn-at-the-screen in anger moment. 

As stated with Amber, Richie's motives are based on toxic fandom, but he would argue, "How can fandom be toxic? It's about love!" While this seems ridiculous, it's not too far off if you've been on the internet lately. Fans have review-bombed movies, pressured studios to release alternate cuts, and created petitions to get films remade (looking at you, angry "The Last Jedi" fans). This "Scream" entry satirizes the misguided idea that only "true fans" know how to make a good movie. 

Richie declares: "This time, the fans are going to be the ones who win." The film knowingly mocks legacy sequels while justifying this "requel's" existence. He also gets one of the best Ghostface death scenes. After being viciously stabbed by Sam, Richie (still the concerned fan) wails: "Wait ... what about my ending?" Sam makes sure there will be no sequel for Richie.

1. Billy Loomis in Scream

Rod Stewart once said, "The first cut is the deepest," and that's also true with the first and best Ghostface, the one who set in motion a murderous legacy where blood runs deep. Billy Loomis is the character that everyone (especially Dewey) immediately suspects. He appears after Ghostface attacks Sidney with barely a flesh wound. Even though Sidney has suffered extreme trauma after the rape and murder of her mother, Billy is laser-focused on getting laid. He's a creep, but Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson find several sneaky ways to trick the audience. The corn syrup fake-out is still one of the most iconic slasher twists.

Billy and Stu are the originators of the Ghostface modus operandi. The creepy voice-changing device, the extremely high-stakes movie trivia, and the costume; it's all Billy and Stu. While Stu is the goofier of the duo, Billy is the menacing mastermind, and his motivation is grounded in severe mommy issues. He killed Maureen Prescott, framed Cotton Weary, and now plans to kill Sidney and frame her dad as part of his twisted revenge plot. 

Billy also takes quite a few hits before going down, stabbed multiple times by Stu (once for pretend and again for real), attacked with an umbrella by Sidney, and shot by Gale. When we think the heroes are safe, Randy warns, "Careful, this is the moment where the supposedly dead killer comes back to life for one last scare." Billy lurches back to life to receive one final headshot from Sidney. His reign of terror ends, but Ghostface's legacy will never die.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).