The professionalsurvivor, Sidney's life has been defined by a series of killing sprees all directed at her. First her mother Maureen was killed out of a jealous rage, then her friends in high school and college were hacked to bits, and then they started making hit slasher movies based on her tragedy. While this has brought her fame, fortune and a bestselling autobiography, it also means that she has had to spend large parts of her adult life constantly looking over her shoulder for the next wannabe Ghostface.
Action Girl: In the fourth film, ready to take on the killer at the drop of a head.
Billing Displacement: Always billed second to David Arquette, despite being the lead. The reason for this is that the actors are billed alphabetically.
Butt Monkey: When you consider that she's basically destined to spend the rest of her life being periodically attacked by masked psychopaths attempting to copy one another's murder sprees. Oh, and Tori Spelling played her in the Stab movie. Why, Sidney, did you have to mention that?
Damsel out of Distress: While she's the target for each Ghostface, she survives each encounter by taking them out instead.
Death by Sex: Averted in the first film; she's the only named character in the franchise to have sex and live to tell about it.
Famed in Story: Becomes a celebrity after the events of the first movie.
Final Girl: Initially played straight (except for the film's subversion of Death by Sex), although she slowly evolves into a deconstruction as the series goes on, with her life defined by her "perpetual victimhood" and the bloody consequences that this has for those around her.
Genre Savvy: "Horror movies are all the same. Some stupid killer stalking some big-breasted girl who can't act who's always running up the stairs when she should be going out the front door. It's insulting." By the end of the series, she's full-on Dangerously Genre Savvy.
He Who Fights Monsters: While Sidney has managed to survive 4 occasions of attacks, there were some scenes that make you wonder whether or not she might end up as a killer, or no different than one. She herself even Lamp Shaded this in 3.
Roman: I shot you.
Sidney:*Reveals bullet proof vest.* I guess we think alike.
Sanity Slippage: Through her half-brother's movie tricks, she apparently undergoes this in the third film, having visions of her dead mother coming for her. It doesn't work though.
Shut Up, Hannibal!: In the third film, she can't help but be annoyed and disgusted with Roman for blaming Sidney's existence for his life, thus his eventual murdering spree. Eventually, she gets fed up, having heard this speech before, and shouts that he's really just looking for an excuse.
A reporter who, in the first film, is fighting to prove that Cotton Weary did not commit the murder that he was put on death row for, and returns to Woodsboro for the one-year anniversary and to cover the new string of murders. Come the sequel, she's written a book about the Woodsboro murders, which has been adapted into a film, and comes to Windsor College to cover yet another killing spree. Has a rather abrasive personality.
Genre Savvy: Progressively grows into this as the series progresses.
Running Gag: Her getting punched in the face by people (usually Sidney) that she pisses off. In the third film, this is turned on its head when she punches Jennifer, the actress playing her in Stab 3. She threatens to do it again in the fourth film.
Woodsboro's deputy sheriff, Dewey is always on the case when a new Ghostface killer comes out of the woodwork, partly due to the loss of his little sister Tatum to the first Ghostface, and partly out of his sense of family with Sidney, Gale and Randy. He is also the only character to not break any of Randy's horror movie rules.
Butt Monkey: He gets the shit beaten out of him by Ghostface in every movie, although he survives them all.
Embarrassing Nickname: His real name is "Dwight", with "Dewey" being a childhood nickname he got stuck with. By the time Scream 2 rolls around, he makes a point on being called "Dwight" by Gale - it doesn't take, though.
Ghostface (Roger L. Jackson (voice), Skeet Ulrich, Matthew Lillard, Laurie Metcalf, Timothy Olyphant, Scott Foley, Emma Roberts, Rory Culkin)
Wearing a white ghost mask and long black robes, the Ghostface killer sneaks and stabs his way through suburban neighborhoods, hacking to pieces pretty young teenagers and college kids — but not before calling them up with horror trivia games. Word of advice: don't get the wrong answer.
Freudian Excuse: Most Ghostfaces have these, although Sidney's Shut Up, Hannibal! in the third film implies that they're all just that — excuses to kill people For the Evulz. The exception to this being Jill Roberts, who openly admits that she's evil, citing that "sick is the new sane".
Implacable Man: Any Ghostface is repeatedly beaten up by the stalked person, yet doesn't give up the chase.
Knife Nut: Every Ghostface has a hunting knife as their primary weapon.
Legacy Character: Since it's a generic Halloween costume in-universe, a grand total of seven characters don the identity.
Made of Iron: Although in hindsight, whenever the costume is removed, the killer actually seems to be quite breakable.
Voice Changeling: Ghostface's trademark is a voice changer that masks their voice over the phone.
Walking Spoiler: Whomever the killer is, their character tropes are white spaced out with Jill Roberts being the most white spaced out.
Characters Appearing in Multiple Films
Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy)
A horror movie fan who, in the first three films, gave the characters (and the audience) a list of rules for surviving a horror movie. He is one of the key reasons for the series' reputation for self-referential, post-modern humor.
Death by Irony: It's a little odd that the most Genre Savvy character didn't think to look in the back of Gale's news van for the killer.
Death by Sex: A Noodle Incident involving sex in a video store turns out to be the culprit behind his grisly end at the hands of Mrs. Loomis.
Dogged Nice Guy: To Sidney, but he unfortunately isn't allowed much of a shot with Billy or Derek around.
Dying Moment of Awesome: Keeping the killer on the phone so Gale and Dewey could track him down and bravely insulting the killer to his face, er, voice.
Ironic Echo: In the first movie, Randy nearly dies when the killer sneaks up behind him and is about to stab him, before Sidney's screams prompt the killer to abort this plan. In the second movie, Randy is standing in front of Gale's news van talking on the phone with the killer but this time isn't so lucky.
A Man Is Not a Virgin: Randy attributes his survival to being a virgin in the original. It's unfortunately a different story in the second.
The man who was sentenced to death for the murder of Maureen Prescott, Sidney's mother, whom he was having an affair with. In the first film, Gale Weathers is trying to get his name cleared for the murder, feeling that he is innocent. She's right. In the second film, he travels to Windsor College to convince Sidney to do an interview with him. By the third film, his exploits have made him a celebrity, getting him his own talk show.
Attention Whore: Besides getting his name cleared for being wrongfully accused, Cotton's other motivation is to earn the equal amount of fame Sidney did, and overindulges in the fame once he earns it, referring to himself as a "people person", and ultimately getting his own talk show.
Big Damn Heroes: Arrives barely in time to save Sidney from being killed by Mrs. Loomis in the second film's climax.
Clear Their Name: What Gale does for him prior to the first film, and also what he does in the second film.
Death by Irony: He'd just finished shooting a cameo on the set of Stab 3 at the beginning of that movie, only to be killed off in little more than a cameo at the beginning of Scream 3.
Dude, Where's My Respect?: Played with: after being found innocent of the murders, he feels pretty entitled to his newfound fame and asks Sidney to help him land a big TV interview, believing she "owes" it to him.
Ms. Fanservice: Surely she has a good reason not to be wearing a bra...
Your Head A Splode: Specifically, Your Head Gets Crushed Between A Garage Door And The Edge Of The Roof. Even Ghostface seemed a little shaken by this death.
Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich)
Bigger Bad: He is in the sequels. He's long dead by the time the 2nd film starts, but he's mentioned again and again throughout the series, and it's clear that none of the event's of the sequel's would have happened if he and Stu didn't start the original Ghostface murder-spree.
The Reveal: She is Billy's mother from the first film, seeking revenge on Sidney.
Woman in White: In the finale. White coat, white suit, white shoes, everything.
Woman Scorned: Not in the love sense, but in the sense of wanting to kill the person who killed her son. It's also implied that she knew that Sidney and Billy had sex before she killed him. and compared it to Sid's mom taking her husband away.
Derek (Jerry O'Connell)
Bound and Gagged: Bound by his Omega Beta Zeta friends as a prank. Ghostface then gags him.
The Drag-Along: Becomes this to Gale after she forces him into snooping around locations where murders have taken place.
Genre Savvy: Joel might just be the most Genre Savvy character in the entire franchise for taking a leave after Randy's murder and not returning until the killings have ceased. Although seeing as how he didn't read Gale's book before taking his job as her cameraman, it kind of puts him in check.
Death by Sex: She gets killed literally seconds after revealing that she had employed the Casting Couch to get the part of Sidney.Damn, do the rules strike fast!
Final Girl: She's playing one in Stab 3, and she's initially presented as such. She dies, though.
Foreshadowing: Averted. Early in the film, she wonders if it will turn out that her character, Sidney, is the killer in the third Stab movie (the cast only has partial scripts to prevent leaks). In the original script, she was one of the killers alongside Roman, but this was changed in the final draft.
The Ingenue: What she presents herself as. Actually, she's anything but that.
Arc Welding: Milton's indirect actions to Maureen during her time in Hollywood prompted Roman to seek revenge on Maureen for giving him up, setting off the entire chain of events in the first three films.
I Never Said It Was Poison: When asked about Maureen Prescott/Rina Reynolds, he claims he's employed too many actors to remember. Gale quickly points out nobody said she was an actress.
Sidney's cousin, though not very close to her since she and her mother live in Woodsboro, while Sidney left the town many years ago (presumably ever since Scream 2). She reminds Sidney of herself, as a young woman. Jill looks like a somewhat ingenuous girl, but she's actually smart and strong-minded. She deals with her complicated relationship with her ex-boyfriend... and the rise of a new Ghostface, who seems determined to kill her and her friends before targeting Sidney.
Attention Whore: To the point of convincing Charlie to help her kill all of her friends and her mother, just for a few minutes of fame.
Evil Is Petty: She shoots Trevor in the groin before she kills him, shouting "I am NOT the girl you cheat on!"
Expy: In keeping with the Remake theme of Scream 4, Jill is setup to be the new Sidney Prescott, but she actually turns out to be more of an expy of Sidney's half-brother Roman, especially right down to his motivation for wanting her fame for herself. Her plan makes use of this trope accordingly.
Eye Scream: Sidney pokes her in the eye to escape from being strangled.
I Never Said It Was Poison: She unknowingly reveals herself as the killer by mentioning she and Gale have "matching wounds". Considering that the details about Ghostface's assault on Gale were never released to the public, the only way Jill could know this was if she attacked Gale herself.
A notorious horror film fan, Kirby is a quirky and spirited best friend to Jill and Olivia. She's somewhat of a tomboy and "alternative" girl, who likes to watch movies, drink (a lot, apparently) and party. She seems to be aware of Charlie's crush on her, but instead prefers to "tease and torment" him. Upon realizing she's the only one of the íThree Amigos! not to receive a phone call from the killer, she becomes really uneasy (ultimately insisting it means she'll be the next one to die).
Drives Like Crazy: Unbelievable speed, real loud music, doesn't always see the stop signs... Jill and Olivia must be very courageous to go to school with her every day.note This may be a bizarre kind of Actor Appeal, as Hayden Panettiere's been similarly dangerous behind the wheel in Heroes and I Love You Beth Cooper.
Dumb Blonde: Subverted; Kirby is probably the wittiest character in the film.
Hard-Drinking Party Girl: "You continue your good girl thing and I'll drink for the both of us." The young lady isn't afraid of alcohol at all.
Sacrificial Lion: However, many believe Kirby isn't dead. Others point to her inclusion in Jill's list of the victims in the hospital climax, but the film itself never actually confirms she's gone - as Panettiere and director Wes Cravenpoint out on the DVD Commentary (or Blu-ray Commentary if you roll that way). And you know what they say about horror movies where you don't see a corpse...
íThree Amigos!: With Jill and Olivia, though the expanded gang includes Trevor, Charlie and Robbie.
Jill's ex-boyfriend, who is said to have cheated on her. Despite being pretty much shunned by Jill and their friends after the incident (they all behave at least uncomfortably towards him, except maybe Robbie), he's eager to win her forgiveness and resume their relationship... with little to no success. He's an avid fan of the Stab series — surprisingly even attending to the Stab-a-thon — a fan of the Ghostface character and is notorious for his ninja-like skills.
Noodle Incident: The fateful "going out" with someone else that caused his falling out with Jill. The subject is only mentioned, never explored upon.
Red Herring: And a well played one; because of the fourth movie's whole remake theme, viewers are led to believe that this time the killer will actually be the obvious boyfriend again, just like Billy. Ends up completely subverted.
Stealth Hi/Bye: His trademark! He simply pops out of nowhere when people less expect it. Both he and Robbie lampshade this.
President of the Cinema Club at Woodsboro High, "one run below the Glee Club, two above Nintendo Wii Fit". Charlie has a vast knowledge about films in general, although with a penchant for the horror genre, and a calm, collected, but somewhat clumsy air. He has a very obvious crush on Kirby, which she is naturally well aware of, but doesn't seem to reciprocate. He and Robbie host the Stab-a-thon every year.
Asshole Victim: A particularly unique example of this trope since he's one of the killers!
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Seemingly to Randy, and even stated as he was going to be the next Randy to Jill's Sidney during the reveal. However, Sidney basically states that Charlie is much like Stu, which leads to his death by Jill.
UST: With Kirby because well, he (may or may not have) killed her, and possibly with Robbie.
Vice-president of the Cinema Club at Woodsboro High, "in case Charlie takes a bullet". Usually seen with a headset and a camera, broadcasting his school experiences live into a videoblog, something he believes will be common one day. Less collected and more playful and prone to panic than Charlie, but as much a film geek, knowledgeable about the makings of a modern horror movie. He and Charlie host the Stab-a-thon every year.
Bury Your Gays: He thought gay people always survived horror movies. Ghostface disagrees.
Cool Loser: Slightly. "We don't have reputations, but we'd like to."
Determinator: Even after being stabbed three times, he barely pulls himself back to the house and warns the girls to run before dying.
Drowning My Sorrows: After the killer attacks at Stab-a-thon — a risk both Sidney and Gale warned Robbie and Charlie about — and it looks like his website will be shut down, this is his reaction to cope.
A dedicated police officer and loyal right-hand woman to Dewey, whom she idolizes and seems to have a crush on (and likes to bake lemon squares to). There is some sort of rivalry between herself and Gale, and the latter doesn't even bother hiding her antipathy towards the deputy (and her lemon squares). Judy knew Sidney from high school, but didn't make a big enough impression for Sidney to remember her.
Red Herring: More subtle than the obvious Trevor, but still.
Remember the New Guy: Her and Sidney went to high school together, but was not seen or mentioned in the very first film. Sidney even points out that she doesn't even remember her from high school, but stated that they've met before.
Two police officers working under Dewey, assigned to guard Sidney and Jill after it's confirmed that a new Ghostface killer has surfaced. Hoss is a rookie officer, recently graduated, with a reserved, respectful and somewhat apprehensive demeanor — as well as a sad realization that cops are always endangered in fiction — while Perkins is an older and seasoned cop with a perpetual cocky and bigoted disposition.
Deadly Prank: Instead of answering when Hoss reports a suspicious open window in the vicinities, Perkins decides to Fake the Dead to scare him. As soon as Hoss comes back to the car to check if he's okay, Ghostface takes advantage of their distraction and kills them both.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Three girls get brutally killed, and the only thing she can think about is how well this will affect the sales of Sidney's book. She also seems to be somewhat envious of Sidney.
Composite Character: In the original draft of the script, there were two characters named Bette (Sidney's pushy and secretly envious assistant) and Rebecca (editor-in-chief of the high school newspaper and Gale's fangirl and wannabe), who were eventually combined into Rebecca Walters.