Theory: Is Ghostface Quasi-Supernatural?

It’s safe to say Scream 3 flirting with the supernatural seemed out of place. In keeping with the Scooby Doo template, the supernatural force of Maureen Prescott’s Ghost was more natural than super – it was just Roman messing with Sidney’s mind, and the audience’s too – something I don’t think resonated well. There were still unresolved issues with the reveal, like Sidney’s nightmare: If that wasn’t really Maureen how was she able to convey information about her Hollywood past? (Listen to her dialogue as she moans and slides down the window) Okay, maybe we can chalk that up to Sidney’s own repressed memories of her mother making oblique references when our heroine was younger.

Scream is nothing if not elastic, so by Scream 4 we’re back to the reality of small town murders. However one scene raises the notion of paranormality in the franchise – when Sheriff Dewey addresses Deputies Hoss & Perkins over their failure to stop and/or apprehend Ghostface, one of them compares the escaped killer to an actual ghost.

It would be easy to write this off as the pair just being ineffectual dumb cops (I certainly have). Maybe also easy to mark the scene as a red-herring designed to put one or both of the cops in the spotlight as possible culprits. That would work, only if Ghostface actually was an officer – if not one of them, than Judy Hicks – because someone with a knowledge of police maneuvers could reasonably escape them. I can buy that Ghostface was two teenagers, it’s a tougher swallow that one of those runts (Charlie) was able to outwit two police officers separately closing in to surround him.

We’ve seen Ghostface almost literally disappear before – up in the video booth in Scream 2, after being shot by Dewey after the house explosion in Scream 3, and countless other times. Sometimes the two killer factor helped maintain the internal logic while other times, quick editing was favored over plausibility. But the Scream 4 scene in question is the first time these seeming teleportations have been vocalized by characters as something extra-ordinary. Could this be an actual story point? Or do we continue suspending disbelief?

Ghostface’s identity under the costume varies from film to film, and it has been established and repeatedly reminded that the Ghostface “look” is readily available and easy to obtain. But there seems to be something about the mask and robe that gives its wearer incredible confidence and power to commit those dastardly deeds once they take on the killer role. And once the mask comes off, they become all too human, to their ultimate failing. Will Scream ever examine this element, and explore if there’s some “weird” unifying aspect of becoming Ghostface? I wouldn’t be surprised if they went the New Nightmare route one day when all the reality angles are exhausted. No doubt they already have in the Stab world, which seems to gain more influence over the Scream series as it progresses…

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35 Responses to “ Theory: Is Ghostface Quasi-Supernatural? ”

Reader Advisory: Comments may contain SCREAM 4 SPOILERS
  1. I’ve felt like this since I heard about a 4th installment after seeing “Scream 3″.

  2. Maybe it was just a set up as a red harring for trevor.. When he says “their no match for the ninja baby” and then that happening with him dissapering

  3. And Ghost Face may increase his size, since the two killers in Scream 4 has revealed with much less height!

  4. the bumbling cops were horrile and im sorry scream 4 is getting bettter after other viewings, but scream 4 made scream 3 seem more realistic…as for maureen, it was just sid’s nightmare, she was unhungerd a little in 3

  5. Hmm, you could use a quasi-supernatural explanation to account for the various Ghostfaces’ ability to pull off unlikely stuff but it usually merely requires suspension of disbelief. When Michael Myers is masked he becomes The Shape, evil incarnated, but the self-aggrandizing asshole psychos in Scream may become imbued with the belief that they are super-killers, the belief becomes reality up until Sid kills their asses. That said BOTH of Scream 4’s killers really do seem to radically alter when costumed which is a bit much!

  6. scream 3 for is the best out of the orginal 3…people need to understand that in a trilogy. the final movie is never bout kills or that stuff, its about getting to the whole reason of why it started. and as for the nightmare in scream3 … i think it was a perfect way of bringing the storyline of maureen into that movie. scream 4 . was fantastic. horror has changed in the last 10 years, they borught the idea on board while still trying to make it like a normal scream movie.and they did a great job. if there is a scream 5 ,( and i hope to god there is) even if 5 is the final movie. they need to delve more into sidneys past…maybe even bring the maureen storyline back….and for everyone that always like kill of sideny, gale and dewy. THERE IS NO SCREAM WITHOUT THIS THREE IDOTS.!!!! SCREAM would just turn to another crap horror movie if they dont remain in the movie. bring on scream 5!!!!!

  7. chalk it up to bad writing. Simple as that.

  8. A lot of horror movies do that. I call it: Now you see me, now you don’t. All killers seem to be able to disappear at will. It doesn’t require an explanation. The audience is just supposed to take it for what it is. I don’t like this at all, but I’ve accepted it long ago.

    The Scream franchise is only one of the many that chose to continue to “tradition”, if you will.

  9. Would be funny if they recieved the previous Killers strength…I mean seriously the Killers progressively get stronger and harder to kill as the movies go on.
    And sure the movies would be dull if they became easier to kill,But something about the Hospital scene with Sid & Jill(Specifically when Jill seemingly picks Sid up and throws her into the shelving on the right hand wall)…makes me think it’s possibly something maybe Erhen was hinting at.

    I think I’d be pissed if they decided to go the Supernatural route…it would make what we’ve seen so far a whole lot less scary.

  10. Or it’s a KW flub because of TVD.
    I can see accidently writing something too supernatural due to focusing on TVD for the last few yrs.

  11. ghostface is not supernatural at all.

  12. “There’s something really scary about a guy with a knife who just… snaps. It’s real, it’s not like werewolves, or ghosts, or vampires, it something that could really happen”

    Or something like that, but they better not go down the supernatural route, that’s straight-to-DVD 8th movie territory. I remain confident that Scream 5 and 6 will happen, but how about let the killer get away at the end of Scream 5, to be unmasked at the end of Scream 6, I just don’t know how Kevin could come up with two (or more) different motives, or crazy family members, or… I don’t know?

  13. That’s EXACTLY what i’ve been thinking for ages!

  14. O please God no Scream 5 and 6, stretching Scream into a 2nd trilogy’d be supernatural all right, supernaturally bad – bazinga! Scream 4 is good enough let Sid live happily. Scream 3’s supernatural elements were ersatz. Bridger’s attempts to unbalance Sid were silly particularly when everyone KNEW that there was a real killer abroad, she wasn’t imagining THAT. While the nightmare sequence was half-assed, even as a symbol of Sidney’s understandable but baseless guilt and fear.

  15. The supernatural force of Maureen Prescott was just awesome. Very creepy and resonated very well imo. To me, Scream 3 ended the story perfectly. Scream 4 was just a complete joke, pointless, and a waste of a film. And enough with the ridiculous excuses on why Scream 4 underperformed. This one is my favorite one, “Scream 4 is under performing is simply the economy, including gas prices at an all time high”. You have got to be kidding me! That is just a poor excuse of an excuse lol. So now that “Fast Five” has made $218,530,305 so far, does that mean that the economy is back on track, gas prices has lowered? Give me a freaking break! You know something, I hope they do make a Scream 5. Without that horrible young cast, it will be a whole lot better. Thank goodness they were all killed off. The only exception was Hayden Panettiere. They need to get better actors and make a more serious film.

  16. No, no, no, no. Scream must never become supernatural, its been done, ill always know what you did last summer, halloween 6, jason goes to hell, harry potter and the chamber of secrets (ok maybe not the last one) scream must stay reality (even tho it is fantasy) so for scream five and six I don’t want my ghostface to go all paro active, or for sidney to find out she’s carrie whites long lost cousin, and please don’t turn dewey into the f**king robocop 2.0 I like my scream films natural and hold the super. I think all the ghosty stuff was just reality playing on what could be.

  17. Wicked-scribe, you’re making a concrete analysis of what Maureen says as she slides down the windowpane and that’s dangerous. Maureen just says “Look what they did to me, they’ll do it to you.” I mean, Maureen was MURDERED and then her reputation dragged through the mud, and now held responsible for all the murders following hers. Why can’t it just be about THAT? Sidney’s life is chock full of other people dying “because” of her and subsequent guilt. We shouldn’t just assume that Maureen is telling Sidney about her rape in Hollywood. That seems silly.

  18. There has always been the little supernatural angle, for starters in every film its implied that the killers get some kind of added strength and agility in the role, but the main supernatural point in the films are of course the killer coming back to life, which happens everytime, although at first when viewing scream 4 i was thinkiing well thats just silly, when jill gets back up after being zapped then realised wait a minute that happens in every film the killer get back up but on repeated viewing i now find jills different style death refreshing as the old shoot in the head thing got old by 3, but in 3 the story just got out of hand so much that it just feels out of place in the trilogy compared with 1,2 and 4 which now feels like a proper ending to the series personally.
    But the reason i loved that little supernatural idea of the killer returning to life was, it was an obvious play on halloweens ending with michael myers being shot 6 times in the heart and then disappearing or returning to life, the disappearing act another ghostly feature in scream films that i love. But do think if their is another its time to put the killer comes back to life idea to rest, bring a new elem ent to that idea.

  19. @rick “…Maureen just says “Look what they did to me, they’ll do it to you.” I mean, Maureen was MURDERED and then her reputation dragged through the mud…”

    Ty for posting that. I agree with that statement. I don’t think the dream sequence has anything to do with Hollywood, also. So when I was reading this article, and I went “HUHHHHHH?” I am glad someone else resonates the same notion.

    What Maureen said is open to interpretation, but I prefer one that makes the most sense without any supernatural-ness added.

  20. You gotta be kidding, don’t you?

  21. Ghostface only does what every other slasher killer does – he/she is able to just vanish after a double take. Yeah, its unrealistic, but hey, its a slasher ingredient and is expected and therefore not really questioned. Does it seem supernatural? Yes. IS IT supernatural? No. Not in the case of the Scream series anyway. We just take it on board that ghostface is nimble and hard to defeat, which ever Scream movie you’re watching, and that’s that. Its just part of the recipe. I think to start questioning it and suggesting a supernatural element is straying too far from the franchise’s theme.
    Maureen Prescott in Scream 3 — hideous. Hated it. Still cringe at those ridiculous scenes. Can you imagine that in Scream 1 or 2?? No! They really should have left that alone and not gone there with that whole idea. But again, this is the Williamson/Kruger difference, loud and clear.
    But let’s not get too carried away with this supernatural ghostface idea. There is something creepier about a masked human than an actual supernatural being, like a ghost. Slashers work because of the masked killer – its just how it is. When they turned The Fisherman into a zombie/ghost/whatever in “I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer” I wanted to slap the writer of that movie! Why do that?? It made the series loose its edge and turned it into a joke. It was pointless, unexplained and just horrible. I mean, that whole film didn’t work because of the lack of Jennifer Love Hewitt etc but to rub salt into the wound by suddenly making The Fisherman an invincible ghost was appalling. The Fisherman was Ben Willis – a human who was wronged by the characters and out for revenge! Leave it at that. Don’t alter the theme of the franchise by altering the killer’s identity from natural to supernatural. And the same applies with Ghostface.
    Anyway, I don’t think this is even an issue with Scream. It would never happen with this series. As another comment said, that’s 8th sequel straight to DVD territory. The fact that we waited 11 years for Part 4 and were treated to such a great killer proves this. If Scream were going to even try and go down the supernatural route, it would have surfaced in 2003, not been shown in cinemas, not have featured Gale/Sid/Dewey and have been directed by Sylvain White!

  22. I agree wholeheartedly drewjobullo, but come on when did I Know What You Did Last Summer ever HAVE an edge?! It was crap-a-doodle-doo , Ben Willis was an awful villain, a real clown. The first had a silly plot but the sequel was atrocious, so it wasn’t that much of a step down for the diabolical Fisherman to become literally diabolical in the truly diabolical Always! The supernatural has no place in Scream but a supernatural threat can be as scary as a masked psycho. Both require suspension of disbelief, it’s dependent on the movie’s quality. Woo, sorry to bore.

  23. It wasn’t Charlie that Hoss and Perkins saw he was in Olivia’s closet when for her to come home. My guess is that they saw somebody esle running and just assumed it was the intruder.

  24. I agree the supernatural should not have a place in the Scream series. I think Wes was truly out of ideas when he conceived that stupid scene, when it happened all I could think of how lame and forced it was. I never had a connection to Sidney’s whore mother anyway and plus everything about her was revealed in Scream. The scene didn’t alter my opinion of the whore. Who cares about Sidney’s whore of a mother?

  25. If Scream turned supernatural I’d stop watching it. That’s too stupid. Jill and Mrs. Loomis were so strong because they were batshit crazy. My mom works at a hospital and it takes a team of people to strap a girl to a bed sometimes because they’re so strong when they’re not right in the head. If adrenaline can enable moms to lift cars up off their children and weird shit like that, I think it’s reasonable that in a single moment of homicidal rage Jill could throw Sidney, who doesn’t weight that much herself.

  26. Ah, see, Hal, I’m an “I Know What You Did Last Summer” fan you see. Must be my Kevin Williamson admiration! I think Ben Willia was quite a good villian – I liked that he was an older, nasty guy and I liked that he had a real motive to go after the teens. And I’m also one of the very few who enjoyed “I Still Know…” and thought it was a decent entry. But yeah, “Always” was, as you say, diabolical.
    And don’t get me wrong – I love a bit of supernatural threat. But that’s better placed in, say, The Exorcist, rather than the slasher genre. I just can’t stand it when slasher villians are turned invincible beyond belief – don’t merge the genres!!! Michael Myers & Jason Vohrees have become ridiculous. I think that’s why I like that with Scream, Ghostface is always a new person. Each movie has you guessing. Ghostface isn’t invincible, he keeps getting resurrected but simply by a new psycho donning the mask. And that brings us back to the debate of this particular post – the general consensus seeimgly being that Scream is NOT to be merged with the supernatural!

  27. I actually just saw Scream 4 again last night and noticed this. With regards to the officers separately closing in on Ghostface, this actually either has to be an error or a mistake on their part. *SPOILERS*
    In order for Charlie to be in Olivia’s closet, he presumably has to get to her house before she does- easy. And Jilly is next door. However, when Olivia arrives home, it’s well established that the police are still in the car outside (because they see her, mention her name, one makes a comment about her). So Charlie must already be in the closet and Jill is obviously in her house. Therefore, this is either an error on the writer’s part, or (and probably more likely as they’re the bumbling cops) whatever they saw wasn’t actually ghostface, or that they just thought they saw something but actually didn’t see anything at all.

  28. I REALLY like the last paragraph of this article. The idea that the costume itself somehow empowers the killers is really cool. And that isn’t even necessarily meaning in a supernatural way (We’re not talking Goosebumps here,) it just means that when these killers put this robe on they become something else. Something visceral, something feral, and deadly. It’s like wearing this robe makes them into something else completely. Very cool ideas, and points here. I don’t mind Scream teetering on the edge of supernatural this way, I just hope they don’t slip and do a belly flop across the line like the Stab films seemed to do…

  29. @drewjobullo, I concede, and hey we agree on Scream! Each new Ghostface is just another psychotic loser who kills to feel powerful, they are very lucky for a time appearing and disappearing like a ghost(face) – a slasher convention that can turn silly if over-used (must not mention I Know What You Did films, oops – only joking!) but when done well is scary – until they get stabbed, shot, crushed by t.v. and/or electrocuted. Hope you didn’t me too rude about the Ben Willis films!

  30. ZDawg, I assume the cops lied. They seemed very lazy. Also, no one seems to care that Olivia dies except for Sidney. Olivia has Tatum and Hallie syndrome. Even when the cops who should have saved her apologized to Dewey, Dewey just kinda shrugs like “eh, it happens… don’t be too hard on yourselves.” Sheriff Burke from the original is a MUCH better sheriff than Dewey who probably shouldn’t be allowed to carry a gun. He can’t even shoot the killer in the barn.

  31. I kind of like this idea. It goes with my idea that the fifth movie should involve Ghostface being Ghostface. I don’t really care who it is because Ghostface is the face of the franchise. Basically, let the mask be the main character of the film.

    Going along with this article, I could imagine the killer getting his/her way and then refusing to unmask his/herself because nobody can kill Ghostface. Something like that.

  32. Maureen did not convey information about her Hollywood Past, her dialogue is simply “What have they done to me, they’ll do it to you”

    I took this to a reference to her murder, not her time in Hollywood.

    “They’ll do it to you” is simply a warning of her own grizzly murder.

    I mean, Maureen is not exactly hinting that Sidney will fall victim to a pack of Hollywood producers, that would be silly.

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