Skip to main content

The Scream Movies: The Villains Behind Every Ghostface So Far

Courtney Cox, Neve Campbell in Scream
(Image credit: Dimension Films)

The Scream movies have remained one of the most fun horror series over the past 25 years. It’s coming back to the horror fold early next year, as Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott and the gang return to Woodsboro for the first time in over a decade. What makes Scream and its villain, Ghostface, particularly unique from other slasher franchises is it is someone different every time. Plus, they are uniquely guided by the awareness of all-time great scary movies before. Ahead of 2022’s Scream, let’s take a look at every Ghostface so far. 

There have been four Scream movies and a TV show, but since the series does not share a continuity with the film franchise, we’ll keep those reveals close to the vest. Otherwise, major SPOILERS are ahead for everything Scream. This article is meant to be a refresher for the fans out there, not a spoilery killjoy. 

We’re here to talk about the past Ghostface reveals because, following the Scream trailer, we have a lot of questions about who the next killer might be. Could it be someone from the original Scream cast, such as Courtney Cox’s Gale Weathers, David Arquette’s Dewey Riley or Marley Shelton’s Deputy Judy Hicks? Or, are they among the fresh faces of the Scream series such as Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega, Dylan Minnette, and Jack Quaid? Before we can truly go into murder-mystery mode for one of the next year’s upcoming horror movies, let’s go back down memory lane regarding who has been under the mask prior. 

Matthew Lillard and Skeet Ulrich in Scream 1996

(Image credit: Dimension Films)

Scream (1996)

First, to the one that started it all. Wes Craven’s Scream remains one of the most iconic horror stories of all time, and even having seen it many times, while I’m immersed in the film, I tend to forget the big whodunnit reveal. It all starts with a terrifying phone call between Drew Barrymore’s Casey Becker as she prepares some Jiffy Pop, and goes on a murderous rampage throughout Woodsboro. It all comes down to Sidney Prescott, who learns that her very own boyfriend has been Ghostface all along. Traumatizing, am I right?  

Yes, Skeet Ulrich played Ghostface in the first Scream as Billy Loomis, a bad-boy prototype many of us would surely crush on if we walked the halls of Woodsboro High. The motive, even though Billy doesn’t like to discuss it, comes down to Sidney’s mother, who was secretly in a relationship with Billy’s father, Hank, before her death. Billy becomes enraged by the discovery and to get back at her, he decides to go on a killing spree and frame Sidney’s father. His accomplice for the murders was his friend Stu, played by Matthew Lillard, who is peer pressured into the whole thing. Sidney is able to escape death and kill them both with Gale and Randy helping her. 

Timothy Olyphant as Mickey in Scream 2

(Image credit: Dimension Films)

Scream 2 (1997)

The series went on to continue just one year later with 1997’s Scream 2, when Sidney Prescott becomes haunted by a copycat Ghostface who follows her to college. The new Ghostface is revealed to very much be related to the first movie, because we learn it is none other than the mother of her former dead boyfriend (the original Ghostface), Mrs. Loomis. Mrs. Loomis hires Timothy Olyphant’s Mickey Altieri to conduct another murderous spree to avenge her late son. 

It’s a shame, because once again it’s revealed that Ghostface is someone close to Sidney. The new college student was becoming close friends with Mickey up until this horror movie ordeal. We learn that Mickey is actually a psychopath that Mrs. Loomis met online and agreed to pay his tuition to murder for her. And, funny enough, Mickey actually wanted to get caught, so he could go down in history to become famous. Sidney, Gale, and Mrs. Loomis aid in his killing before Mrs. Loomis also dies, by way of Sidney and Liev Schreiber’s Cotton. 

Scott Foley as Ghostface in Scream 3

(Image credit: Dimension Films )

Scream 3 (2000) 

The third Scream movie takes place three years after Scream 2 and sees Sidney going into her own isolation after the two prior incidents. When the cast of a horror movie called Stab 3 begins seeing real murders by Ghostface, Sidney ventures out to Hollywood, along with Gale, Dewey, and Cotton, who is now the host of a talk show in LA. This time around, it’s revealed that the one behind the mask is Roman Bridger, who is the unknown son of Sidney's mother, Maureen Prescott, and her half brother.

As we learn, Maureen was serially raped at a party and she became pregnant with Roman, who was given up for adoption. Apparently, years prior, Roman had found out who his real mother was and found her in Woodsboro only to have a door slammed in his face. We learn that Roman was the person who filmed Maureen and her later affairs, leading to the creation of Ghostface in the first Scream, when he got to Billy, showed him video of his dad and Maureen, and convinced him to become the killer. Roman then went off to become the director of Stab 3. Sidney and Dewey kill Roman at the end of Scream 3

Emma Roberts as Jill Roberts in Scream 4

(Image credit: Dimension Films)

Scream 4 (2011) 

Over a decade after Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson’s trilogy was apparently over, they teamed back up for Scream 4. The movie goes back to Woodsboro on the 15th anniversary of the original massacre by Ghostface (Billy), when two high school students are murdered by another copycat. The next day, Sidney is conveniently back in town to promote a self-help book, and becomes framed for the murders. As we learn later in the film, her estranged cousin, Jill Roberts, played by Emma Roberts, was the next Ghostface, after all. 

Jill was apparently jealous of all the attention Sidney received for being targeted by Ghostface. She’s also a big fan of horror movies and uses her secret boyfriend, Rory Culkin’s Charlie, to help her along until she kills him. Jill is outsmarted by Sidney and Gale, as Neve Campbell lets out the iconic line, “you forgot the first rule of remakes Jill – don’t fuck with the original.” 

Such a great lineup of films! It goes to show that the ongoing trend has been Sidney’s family members. The next Ghostface could be a host of people from the massive cast involved, but now we’re armed with Sidney’s final girl knowledge, as she jumps into her fifth horror movie. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.