Screenwriter Kevin Williamson created one of the iconic horror films that were released in the late ‘90s that featured a strong female presence and was smart enough to not treat women stereotypically as showcased in other horror films. Scream is a horror franchise that is self-aware of what it is and does a good job of analyzing the tropes of the genre to entice the audience into laughing with the film while being scared at the same time. It was a clever premise and seeing as the fifth installment was released, the series still has some life in it. With that being said, the women in these movies stand out more than their male costars. These women are fighters and refuse to fall victim, something that befalls many women in horror films. Let’s recognize them for their popularity, character development, and impact on the franchise as a whole. For this list, we’ll only be mentioning the female characters who made quite the lasting impression but will omit the ones who were killed off early on. So, no Drew Barrymore or Jada Pinkett Smith will appear on this list. Some spoilers will be present for those who haven’t seen these films or the latest installment. You have been warned.
Sidney Prescott is a woman who refuses to die and will do whatever she can to rid herself of the killer or killers. Sidney was dealt a bad hand in life. Her mother was murdered by her boyfriend who later tries to kill her, most of her friends are targeted by the killer, and to make matters worse, the legacy of her survival has made her famous for all the wrong reasons. Sure, Sidney can easily kick the killer’s ass and even kill some of them, but Sid has never got the chance to live a normal life because everywhere she goes, the Ghost Face killer isn’t far behind. Neve Campbell has joined the ranks of other notable horror women who survive, much like Jamie Lee Curtis is Halloween and Heather Langenkamp in A Nightmare on Elm Street. Sidney Prescott is a name that all horror fans are familiar with and we love her for the simple fact that she’s a fighter no matter all the hell she has to endure throughout her life.
A reporter who will do anything to get a story, Gale Weathers is the very definition of why police hate the media. Initially presented as the antagonist of the story, Gale eventually grows a heart and joins forces with Sidney and Deputy Dewey Riley to stop the Ghost Face murders. Throughout the series, Gale never forgets to wear her unique clothing and piss off at least one person. As a reporter, she will get the story no matter what, and even when her life is threatened, she will not go down without a fight. In the beginning, she’s obsessed with the murders that occur in Woodsboro and as the series moves forward, she begins to realize that’s it’s the people around her that make the real difference. This comes full circle when she suffers a tremendous loss at the end of Scream (2022) and decides to change her tone when writing her next book. Originally, Courtney Cox wasn’t considered for the role since she normally played genuine nice characters as seen in Friends. She lobbied hard for the role and even wrote director Wes Craven a letter saying that she wanted a chance to play a “bitch” role. Her efforts paid off and even after all these years, we couldn’t imagine anyone else playing the role of that pesky rude reporter named Gale Weathers.
Actress Emma Roberts sinks deeply into her role as Jill, the cousin of Sidney Prescott. After she and her friends are attacked during Scream 4, it’s becoming apparent that the killer is trying to recreate the events of the first movie. It’s revealed that Jill is the mastermind behind the recent slayings and brings Charlie Walker, a fellow student to assist her. Jill shows no remorse for everyone she kills and is envious of Sidney’s so-called fame. She believes that she has lived in the shadow of her cousin and wishes for fame too. Jill wants to be the sole survivor of the film’s climax and even goes so far as to harm herself to paint the picture that she too is a victim much like Sidney was. This character in particular is cold-blooded, cruel and will do anything to achieve the fame that she believes she deserves.
A special treat was given to the audience during the ending climax of Scream 2 where the second killer is revealed to be Billy Loomis’ mother. This serves as a nod to Jason’s mother being the killer in the Friday the 13th movie. Mrs. Loomis is hell-bent on taking revenge on Sidney for murdering her son even though it was Billy who was after Sid in the first place. Actress Laurie Metcalf has those freaky wide eyes whenever she appears on the screen. She had an accomplice this time and ends up trying to kill him to achieve her ultimate goal. It’s also learned that she was the one who murdered Randy Meeks (everyone’s favorite character) who spoke poorly of her son Billy. What makes this character stand out is the fact that Sid already knew her, but we, the audience did not. We can understand her anger towards Sid but in the end, it’s the ultimate battle between good and evil and we know that Sid isn’t one to quit easily. In terms of clever killer reveals, Mrs. Loomis is certainly one of the best in this franchise.
We have much to learn about Tara Carpenter and the family that she is a part of. In a series first, the first attack doesn’t kill the intended victim. Young Tara is attacked in her home and is brutally assaulted to the point that we believe she was killed only to discover that she survived her wounds and is physically and psychologically damaged. Still, when the killer entered her house and attacked her, she fought her best and when she’s attacked again, she still puts up a fight even with a broken foot and in a wheelchair. If there was any character we want to survive, it is without a doubt young Tara. Actress Jenna Ortega is a small-framed woman but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have the willpower to not give up. Tara’s character was put through the wringer and we only wanted her to survive and despite the many efforts from Ghost Face, she does prevail making her a truly unique character after five movies in this franchise. She is the one potential victim who survived her opening attack and lived to tell her tale and even killed one of the killers at the ending of the film. She’s a strong woman who will not quit no matter how much pain she has to endure.
Who are your favorite female characters from the Scream franchise? Which female character made the biggest impression on you? What do you love about the Scream franchise? Let us know on Twitter @topfivemust!