Ghostface became a horror icon almost immediately after Scream was released in 1996. The killer helped change the horror landscape and gave birth to a new breed of slasher villains. Each film had a different person behind the mask, and more are set to appear in the upcoming sixth entry. The impact Scream had is still felt today, as several recent horror movies take inspiration from the horror classic.
10 Slasher Villains Inspired by Ghostface
Today, we will be looking at ten slasher villains that are partly inspired by the Ghostface killers from the Scream series.
10. Michael Myers (Halloween H20, Ressurection)
Everyone with even a surface level of horror knows Michael Myers predates Ghostface by nearly twenty years. The first Scream was even heavily inspired by the original Halloween. However, by the late 90s, the franchise desperately needed an overhaul. Following the success of Scream, it was clear what direction the Halloween series needed to go. In fact, Kevin Williamson, who created Scream’s screenplay, was brought on board to write the story for this new era of Halloween. In addition to Halloween H20 feeling more like a Scream knock-off than a Halloween continuation, Michael himself went through some changes. To the disdain of many fans, the villain, Michael, took part in more slapstick-inspired antics that were most likely inspired by Ghostface, Scream’s killer.
9. Rachel Newman (American Psycho II)
Don’t let the title fool you. This movie has far more in common with Scream than with American Psycho. In fact, the script was written as a simple knock-off of the series but had a sequel title slapped on last minute. The film’s main antagonist, Rachel Newman, blends in with the characters in many other horror movies of the time. From a young age, Rachel gets a taste for carnage and decides to become a serial killer. The film’s tone is very obviously inspired by Scream, and Rachel isn’t exactly joining the pantheon of classic slasher villains anytime soon.
8. Rachel Lang (The Rage: Carrie 2)
Much like American Psycho II, this seemingly random sequel owes far more to Scream than it does to the 1976 classic. To give credit to The Rage, it at least has some returning characters and references the events of the original several times. Besides this, Rachel Lang owes much of her existence to Ghostface. All of these movies were directly targeted to the youth of the time, and Rachel is no exception. While not necessarily a slasher, this sequel likely wouldn’t have the same tone or even exist at all, if not for Scream.
7. Blissfield Butcher (Freaky)
One of the more recent entries on this list, Freaky is a horror comedy that takes traditional slasher tropes and adds a much-needed twist. The Blissfield Butcher is primarily played by Vince Vaughn. That is until he switches bodies with a high school senior played by Kathryn Newton. While not as obviously inspired by Ghostface as some others, Freaky shares certain traits in common with Scream. For starters, the movie takes the traditional slasher formula and reinvents it. It also has interesting characters and speaks to the current younger generation. All while paying tribute to the genre, it is satirizing.
6. Babyface Killer (Happy Death Day)
The Babyface Killer is already one of the most recognizable slasher villains from the last decade. The whodunit aspect is the major connection between this killer and the one from Scream. The film’s entire plot revolves around the main character desperately trying to unmask the killer. The film also carries with it a dark comedy feel, not too dissimilar to Scream. While the Babyface Killer doesn’t exactly act like the classic 90s slasher, the inspiration is still obvious.
5. Billy Murphy (Final Girls)
While Billy Murphy, in the horror comedy Final Girls, may seem like more of a Jason clone as opposed to Ghostface, it is the context that adds him to the list. The film follows a young girl dealing with her mother’s death, similar to Sidney in the original film. Along with her met, horror-obsessed friends, they are sucked into a slasher film and must fight their way out. The film points out all of the classic cliches as they happen. Sound familiar?
4. Cupid (Valentine)
In the wake of Scream’s success, many hip slashers aimed toward the teen demographic were released. One of these was the holiday-themed Valentine. As with a majority of slashers at the time, the killer took some notes from Ghostface. In addition to targeting a specific friend group, Cupid was also a masked terror with connections to the main character. The film deals with not only surviving but figuring out the identity of this sinister killer.
3. Urban Legend Killer (Urban Legend)
It is all about the mystery. At least, that is the biggest similarity between the Urban Legend Killer and other slasher villains of the time. This film sees a sinister killer using various urban legends to creatively dispatch victims. The cast all feel like they could have gone to Woodsborro high, and the killer could give even Scream’s killers a run for their money. The Urban Legend Killer is mysterious, creative, and scary villain, that must have been inspired by Ghostface.
2. Leonard Sherman (Cherry Falls)
Like Scream, Cherry Falls looked to take familiar slasher tropes and flip them on their head. In this case, the killer targets virgins instead of the usual sexually amped teens from horror. This makes Cherry Falls unique to a certain point. While the similarities here aren’t as obvious, if not for Ghostface, odds are this film wouldn’t exist.
1. Ben Willis (I Know What You Did Last Summer)
Of all the films released in the shadow of Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer is arguably the best regarded. Similar to the aforementioned franchise, this movie received several sequels, a tv show, and is gearing up for a legacy sequel. The film’s killer became almost as iconic as Ghostface in the late 90s. The fisherman with a hooked weapon ensured teens from the era never looked at a raincoat the same way again. Like so many others, the joy of the film comes from who is behind the mask (or hood, in this case) and how they connect to the main cast.