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These Are The Killers From Scream 2

What makes the "Scream" series so compelling, in part, is the films' whodunnit element. The series has been praised for its meta-commentary, talking about the horror genre while existing within it. But not enough credit is given to the mystery of who's hiding behind Ghostface each time. Part of what makes "Scream" so scary as a franchise is that the killer isn't a supernatural being or even a stranger. It's always someone Sidney Prescott knows, someone she's been close to while also abusing her trust  It's part of what makes the films so resonant. We've all had our trust betrayed at one point or another, but (especially in the wake of #MeToo) women really vibe with Sidney's constant fear that her boyfriend is secretly planning to murder her.

Sidney (played by Neve Campbell) is going through one such crisis of trust in "Scream 2." Having moved away from Woodsboro, Sid is attending college. She has a boyfriend and a tight circle of friends — all of whom become suspects when someone starts copycat killing in the style of "Scream 1" killers Billy Loomis and Stu Macher. It's not until the climactic scene in the college auditorium that we know who wants to kill Sidney and why.

The postmodern killer

The first killer revealed is Mickey. Played by a pre-"Justified" Timothy Olyphant, Mickey has been telegraphing his guilt from the jump. He's got creeper written all over him — from his movie obsession, his "don't trust me" '90s haircut, to his penchant for a Kubrickian stare, as described by TV Tropes. This is all intentional. Mickey wants to get caught so that he can blame movies for his violent nature and become a cause celebre for the Tipper Gore set.

"Scream 2" came out after the launch of Court TV, as well as the famous and well-documented trials of O.J. Simpson and the Menendez brothers, Lyle and Erik. Crime media was omnipresent in the '90s. It didn't matter if they went unsolved like the murders of JonBenet Ramsey, Tupac Shakur, and The Notorious B.I.G. — or if they were open and shut like Selena's slaying by Yolanda Saldivar. At a time when even Judge Lance Ito from the O.J. case can become a star, it makes sense that Mickey would see murder as an easy route to fame. But for his plan to work, Mickey needed someone to pay his tuition. Enter Mrs. Loomis.

Good old fashioned revenge

Played by "Lady Bird" and "Roseanne" star Laurie Metcalf, Mrs. Loomis is known for most of the movie as Debbie Salt. Posing as a local reporter, Debbie gets close to Courteney Cox's Gale Weathers, needling her constantly about being slow on the scoop. It's only once Debbie Salt meets Sidney that her true identity is revealed.

Mrs. Loomis is the disappeared mother of Billy Loomis, the alpha killer in "Scream." She blames Sidney for murdering her son and blames her mother for ruining her marriage. Sidney's mother had an affair with Mr. Loomis, which caused Mrs. Loomis to skip town. Billy cites this as his main motivator for killing Sidney's mom, friends, and — had he gotten away with it — Sid herself.

Mrs. Loomis' plan was to frame Mickey for all the murders, kill him, then emerge from the carnage as the lone, innocent survivor. Of course, as all Ghostfaces eventually learn, Sidney Prescott does not go down without a fight. Together with Gale and Cotton Weary (Liev Schrieber), Sidney takes down Mrs. Loomis just like she did her son.

The killers that could have been

Mickey and Mrs. Loomis weren't always the designated baddies of "Scream 2." The film was the victim of one of the first script leaks in internet history. As recounted by the Nerdist, Ghostface was originally going to be a team of Sid's boyfriend and best friend/roommate. "Once that information was out there, [Kevin] Williamson had to retool his story as production continued," the site wrote. "To prevent further leaks, the identity of the killers became a closely guarded secret, only revealed to actors on a need-to-know basis." 

The boyfriend is the killer again? Boh-ring! It's for the best that the original ending got leaked, as it pushed screenwriter Williamson to come up with a more inventive one. That's not to mention how Metcalf and Olyphant clearly had the times of their lives hamming it up as unhinged killers. Could Jerry O'Connell bring the crazed intensity of a Laurie Metcalf? The world will never know.