Just the words “Ghostface serial killer” may be enough to stir a deep-seated fear in you. If you are of a certain generation then it will conjure up uncomfortable images, stemming from one of the most famous horror films of recent years. But it goes much deeper than that, as we will find out.
Ghostface Serial Killer
“Hello, Sidney… Do you like scary movies?”
Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson did themselves a service by creating the first Scream movie back in 1996. Since that time, it’s become a huge horror franchise, with four movies produced and two more in the works. Easily one of the best movies about serial killers ever made.
Everyone has heard of the Ghostface Serial Killer. We were introduced to him in the Scream horror movies, but he’s been referenced in pop culture and, unfortunately, has provided inspiration for some true crimes.
On Ways to Die, we often explore real crimes and the killers behind them. But just for fun, let’s look at the Ghostface Serial Killer and how this character became so popular.
The Scream Movies
Released in 1996, you could say that Scream was one of the first horror movies of its kind. Sure, there were slasher movies. The Friday the 13th franchise was one. Wes Craven’s own Nightmare on Elm Street series was another.
But Scream was different. The movie was inventive in that it both glorified and satirized the popular slasher genre. While Freddy and Jason were slashers, the Ghostface serial killer was an act of sheer creative license.
As a horror movie, Scream could be scary. It was released at a time when teenagers, just like Sidney and Billy, were getting cell phones and gaining access to the internet. Williamson and Craven capitalized on that new technology in a way that no one had before. They created a “villain” who was believable to the generation – one who preyed on teenaged victims and toyed with their minds using the first forms of social media. The Ghostface serial killer became iconic, and Scream became a classic.
Following the first Scream movie, three more were released. All continued to play on the fears of teenaged youth, but horror film enthusiasts of all generations can appreciate the films. The films demonstrate a deep affection for the horror genre, while simultaneously poking fun at their flaws.
Scream was, in a word, brilliant.
The Ghostface Serial Killer
Like the movies, the Ghostface serial killer has become a cultural icon. From pop culture references to Halloween costumes, that white mask is recognizable to everyone. But what makes Ghostface so scary?
When writer Kevin Williamson advised on the production of the film, he gave the production team little direction as to what Ghostface should actually look like. Wes Craven and his team were left to their devices, with simple instructions to find an appropriate wardrobe for a “ghost face killer.”
As the crew searched for a filming location, producer Marianne Maddalena stumbled upon a mask, hanging from a post, in an abandoned home in Santa Rosa, California. She brought the mask to Craven, and after a bit of negotiation with the creators of the accessory, Ghostface was born.
The mask. The voice. The fact that Ghostface could be anyone, at any time. A friend, a family member or a stranger – any could have that mask hanging behind their bedroom door. The appeal of the Ghostface serial killer to horror fans is simple to see.
Throughout Scream, we suspect everyone from the reporter to the horror movie buff to the girl next door. Our main characters become paranoid yet trusting as they try to determine the real identity of the Ghostface serial killer. And in the end, our assumptions prove correct – it’s Sidney’s boyfriend who’s gone on a psychopathic killing spree across the town of Woodsboro.
One attribute can be credited for the success of the Scream franchise: simplicity. A simple costume store mask and a fictional boyfriend-gone-psycho left teenagers around the world wondering if they could ever trust anyone again.
Ghostface Serial Killer: True Crime
In the 1990s, it wasn’t uncommon for kids to dress up as the Ghostface serial killer for Halloween. The icon became part of haunted houses, pranks and, unfortunately some inspiration for true crime.
In 1999, a Lynnwood, California woman was stabbed to death in her home. Her 1-year old daughter was present at the time, but remained unharmed. Rita Castillos’ son and his cousins were later charged with the murder, and in interrogation they cited the Scream movie as their inspiration.
Their intent was to reenact the first two scenes of Scream – they’d even discussed purchasing a mask to make the murder more accurate. However, the 17, 16 and 14 year old boys couldn’t afford it.
Thierry Jaradin was a 24 year old truck driver in Belgium. He convinced 15 year old Alisson Cambier to accompany him to his home, where they exchanged videos. Jaradin then made sexual advances, and Cambier refused.
Jaradin excused himself, and when he returned to the room, he wore a Ghostface serial killer costume, complete with large kitchen knives. He stabbed Alisson Cambier 30 times in what was later confessed to be a premeditated murder. Leaving her dead body on his bed, he slipped a rose into her hand and called his father to confess.
Ashley Murray is a survivor of a crime inspired by Scream. Then 13 years old, he was approached by his best friends, Daniel Gill and Robert Fuller. The pair invited Murray to birdwatch in a nearby and secluded spot; when Murray agreed, his peers stabbed him 18 times with a screwdriver and a knife.
They wrapped his body in a trash bag and left him for dead. Murray was discovered two days later, still alive, by and elderly gentleman walking his dog. Murray is partially paralyzed due to the Scream-inspired attack.
Cassie Jo Stoddart
In 2006, Torey Adamcik and Brian Lee Draper killed classmate Cassie Jo Stoddart. The trio knew each other from school; some might have even called them friends.
Adamcik and Draper plotted to kill Stoddart while she was housesitting for her aunt and uncle in Idaho. Cutting the power to the home, the boys waited in the basement of the home until Cassie Jo was alone. They then snuck up on her in the dark and stabbed her 29 times. Her body was discovered days later by her young cousin.