The landline can be easily forgotten, lost in a dark space on a counter or shelf. Isn't sending a text easier? But suddenly the home phone awakes. The ringing goes on a few times before it’s obvious the caller is a persistent one. Ghostface (Roger L. Jackson) is on the other end, and prior to any movie trivia, there’s a more demanding question. “Who’s your favorite Scream cameo?” You better think fast. Because the Scream movies have a great number of cameos to choose from. Some are way more obvious to spot than others. Linda Blair was scary as a possessed little girl, but when she pops up in Woodsboro, she’s another type of monster. Carrie Fisher is stuck in the underground archives of a production company -- and please, don’t mention Star Wars to her. From the following list, which one is a favorite? Ghostface won’t be waiting too much longer.
Wes Craven left the director’s chair to get in front of the camera. Right before Principal Himbry (Henry Winkler) meets Ghostface, he pokes his head out of the office. Craven is janitor Fred, trying to get the halls cleaned up in time for the town curfew. The red and green striped sweater on the janitor, plus the hat, is a dead giveaway to who “Fred” really is. Craven brought Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) to life and in the first Scream, wore the signature look as a loving wink to his slasher monster.
Linda Blair made life hell for her mother and a pair of priests in The Exorcist (1973). She made Sidney’s (Neve Campbell) life hell too. For a few moments at least. After surviving her first attack, Sidney heads to school and reporters are eager for a story. Blair, credited as Obnoxious Reporter, hurries over to shout, “How does it feel to be almost brutally butchered!” Little crucifixes dangle from her ears, another nod to Blair’s time with Pazuzu.
Scream 2 (1997)
Heather Graham stars as Drew Barrymore’s doomed girl for the in-movie Stab. It retells the events of the first movie. And no surprise, the Stab movies are very exploitative. Stab overindulges in bad jump scares. Graham takes a shower, for the sake of throwing off the towel and showing some skin. When the killer calls, Graham’s version of Casey Becker tells him, “I don’t know who you are but I dislike you already.” In Stab, the dialogue has no pop or bite and that’s on purpose.
“Bitch, hang up the phone and star-69 his ass!” Maureen (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Phil (Omar Epps) attend the Stab premiere for a date. They really should have gone to the Sandra Bullock movie playing across the street. It probably wouldn’t have unnecessary nudity for the sake of the male gaze. Phil tries to keep up, but Maureen is faster. “Why she got to be naked? What does that have to do with the plot of the story, her being butt-ass naked?” It isn’t long until Phil takes a knife to the head, directly to the ear, and Maureen succumbs to knife wounds no one in the theater takes seriously.
The next cameo Sidney sees on her dorm TV. Cotton (Liev Schreiber) has a sit-down interview for the program Current Edition. Who is conducting the interview? That is none other than screenwriter Kevin Williamson. It’s a blink-and-miss-it moment, a grainy, late ‘90s TV set not helping. Which is a big difference to the other cameos which are more right in your face.
Such as Joshua Jackson from The Mighty Ducks trilogy. He’s in the Film Theory class, the only one to bring up House II: The Second Story (1987) as a horror sequel worth talking about. When he talks about Aliens (1986), he recites one of the movie’s iconic lines: “Stay away from her, you bitch!” Randy (Jamie Kennedy) chimes in, telling his classmate the correct way to say. Except, Randy’s actually wrong, Jackson’s character did get it right. It could be a movie goof or possibly a tad bit of foreshadowing. For all of Randy’s movie knowledge, not even he could see his death coming.
Later, Tori Spelling (Beverly Hills, 90210) is a version of herself, starring as Sidney in Stab. For how exploitative the movie is, at least Spelling does a decent job. She’s getting rave reviews for it, apparently. And who is Spelling’s onscreen version of Billy Loomis? Luke Wilson is in the reenactment too, doing a very campy portrayal of the first Ghostface killer. Bad hair and pouting. What makes the scene all the more ridiculous is it shouldn’t exist. It was a very private moment between Sidney and Billy. Then again, this is a movie within a movie. It's more for the Scream fans than Stab fans.
Scream 3 (2000)
Roger Corman is an unnamed Studio Executive at Sunrise Studios. For his short screen time, he’s frustrated about Stab 3 getting involved with the new Ghostface killings. “Violence in cinema is a big deal right now,” is his big line. To those not in the know, Corman is known as the “Pope of Pop Cinema.” He was a pioneer in low-budget filmmaking, with his Vincent Price-starring Edgar Allen Poe adaptations being popular. He not only helped distribute movies from foreign filmmakers, he launched the careers of well-known US directors and actors.
Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) take a studio tour, passing Sunrise Studios where Stab 3’s production is in limbo. The two are plucked from Clerks (1994), a whole other level of meta. They are movie characters entering into another movie. Jay thinks he’s spotted Connie Chung, but it’s Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), author of The Woodsboro Murders. Get it right, Jay.
Randy (Jamie Kennedy) didn’t make it to the end of Scream 2. He shows up here, to usher in the once-believed end to the Scream franchise. He got some film equipment while at Windsor College and made a Last Will and Testament, leaving the Woodsboro Trio with the knowledge of how to survive a trilogy. That is if his roommate will stop knocking and interrupting his moment. He talks about the potential of a superhuman killer this time around. And typical Randy, he gets himself riled up. To kill Ghostface this time, you have to cryogenically freeze his head, decapitate him, or blow him up!
“I was up for Princess Leia. I was this close. So who gets it? The one who sleeps with George Lucas.” Carrie Fisher's Bianca doesn’t need reminding of who she looks like or the movie career she could have had. She minds her own business in the catacomb-like basement to Sunrise Studios. Right as she’s busy filing her nails, Gale and Jennifer Jolie (Parker Posey) barge in. But their investigative questions go unanswered. Bianca takes her position as an archivist seriously. A $50 bribe from Gale doesn’t change her mind. A $2000 bribe from Jennifer does the trick!
Scream 4 (2011)
To show the importance of new blood in this installment, Shenae Grimes-Beech (90210) and Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars) start the show. A new pair of Ghostface killers target Trudie (Grimes-Beech) and Sherrie (Hale), the attack happening at the worst time. Trudie just realized she’s being catfished. A pic from the hot dude she’s messaging, is really Channing Tatum’s abs. This time, the Ghostface killers use Facebook to lure in the young women. Although, this isn’t the real cold open. This is just the start to Stab 6.
The movie which Rachel (Anna Paquin) quickly shuts off even though her friend, Chloe (Kristen Bell), really liked it. Rachel can’t stand it, she’s unable to process how done to death meta horror movies have been. Before Rachel can really channel the blistering critical vocabulary of Pauline Kael -- Chloe stabs her friend. Right in the stomach. This is the start to Stab 7.
Scream 5 (2022)
Skeet Ulrich returns as Billy. This ex-Ghostface hasn’t been resurrected to haunt Woodsboro. He haunts Sam (Melissa Barerra) as a hallucination. She’s his illegitimate daughter and fears his homicidal urges are in her DNA too. The worries are not for nothing in the end. She does have a knack for stabbing like the best Ghostface killer might. Ulrich is de-aged and his appearance is directly pulled from the corn syrup/real blood mess of the 1996 finale. It’s one of the many tributes to the legacy of this franchise, even if thematically, Vision-Billy is one of the odder choices Scream has made.
Heather Matarazzo also returns as Martha Meeks. Always the loving sister to Randy, her home is heavily decorated in memory of the late movie buff. She’s caring enough to put together a snack tray for the younger cast to discuss the topic of requels. Sure, 22 years have passed since her initial appearance in Scream 3. But she is just as awkward and kind-hearted. She gives Dewey (David Arquette) a hug -- after which she mildly insults him. With her status left alive, Martha has yet to encounter Ghostface. Never say never.