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Before They Were Dead: Celebrities In 'Scream'

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Apr 14, 2011 | 6:36am EDT

A ton of celebrities have passed through the Scream franchise, and it’s been fascinating to watch them go on to make great movies and advance their careers outside of the horror/thriller genre. Their successes in the box office and on TV probably mean they don’t often reflect on the time they took a minor role that involved them getting knives thrust in their guts, throats and chests. But because the actors have gone on to do bigger and better parts since the days where the makeup chair was for applying red corn syrup, their deaths at the hands of Ghostface are memorable and are considered career highlights. And so with this week’s upcoming release of Scream 4, we thought it was as good a time as any to remember what some now big-name celebrities want you to forget: how they agreed to be in a cheesy slasher flick where nobody’s blood ever seems to coagulate.

Drew Barrymore

In a sense, Drew Barrymore is emblematic of the Wes Craven series because she was the first person killed in the first movie. She was already a successful actress when she agreed to play the role of Casey Becker, with her hair in a bob and her white sweater and her popcorn. She was home alone and preparing to watch “a video” with her boyfriend when a man kept calling her. After she revealed that the movie she was about to watch was a scary one, the voice on the other line was intrigued and began a dialog with her about what her favorite scary movie was. She indulged him in conversation for a while and forgot about her popcorn, but Casey was spooked when the voice told her he wanted to gut her like a fish. After watching her boyfriend’s insides spill out onto her mother’s deck, Casey met her demise while trying to run to her parent’s car that was pulling in to the garage.

Rose McGowen

Rose McGowen played Tatum Riley, Sidney’s best friend. After students started wearing Ghostface masks to school to celebrate the fact that a killer was on the loose, school was canceled to protect everyone’s safety. But that didn’t do much to protect Tatum’s life from ending with her head in a kitty door. That night Tatum’s boyfriend, Stu, threw a house party, and Tatum went into his garage to get more beer from the refrigerator. While she was retrieving the beverages, the door that led to the house locked. Suddenly, Ghostface appeared, but Tatum thought it was just one of her friends mimicking the killer. He had to prove it to her that he was the real thing by slicing Tatum’s arm, and after she realized that the garage door was locked too and that she was trapped in the same room as Ghostface, she sensed the only way to safety to make like an outside cat and go through the cat door. As she was trying to piece her body through the tiny opening, Ghostface pushed the button to open the garage door and Tatum went with it as it rose off the ground. When the door reached its upright position, Tatum’s neck was snapped and her head was crushed.

Henry Winkler

Henry Winkler is different than the rest of the actors on this list because he was already successful by the time he signed on to appear in Scream. So even though he didn’t need to appear in the movie, he did for whatever reason (probably because it looked like a lot of fun – you know how old guys are keen on showing everyone they’re still young at heart). But just because he’d already had a pretty great career did not exempt him from getting butchered by Chostface. While other characters’ deaths have been more drawn out, Henry Winkler’s was rather quick. He played the high school principle, who after disciplining several students for impersonating Ghostface around campus, heard several knocks on his door. After inspecting some nearby classrooms and even going through his own closet, he returned to his office and shut the door…only to become one of Ghostface’s many victims.

Matthew Lillard

Lillard played Stu, one of Sidney’s boyfriend Billy’s friends. After things had heated up between Billy and Sidney in the bedroom, Stu (dressed in a Ghostface costume) made it look like he killed Billy. Sidney went running, but once she got back to the house, she found out that Billy was alive. As their friend Randy was trying to tell them of how Stu had lost his mind, Billy shot him and then explained to Sidney that everyone goes a little crazy sometimes, and showed her that the blood all over his body was just corn syrup. Stu suddenly showed up again, and he brought the device he and Billy had been using to disguise their voices (which revealed that he and Billy, together, were Ghostface). After a struggle, Sidney threw the living room television down on his head and electrocuted him.

Jada Pinkett Smith

Jada played Maureen, and was one of the first people to get killed in Scream 2 -- but not before she made a pretty valid point that horror movies very rarely feature African American characters. She met her demise when she and her boyfriend (played by Omar Epps) went to see Stab at the movies. While her boyfriend went to the bathroom, Maureen sat alone and watched as Drew Barrymore’s scene from the first movie was re-enacted by Heather Graham. Then a man who she thought was her boyfriend (but dressed up in one of the Ghostface costumes that the theater was handing out to celebrate the movie’s release) sat down next to her and stabbed her. No one heard her cries for help because all the other people in the theater were screaming too, and reacting to what they saw on screen.

Sarah Michelle Gellar

The same year she appeared in I Know What You Did Last Summer, Sarah Michelle Gellar played Cici in Scream 2, a sorority girl who was home alone watching scary movies while the rest of her sorority sisters were at an event. Ghostface called her, and after she chatted with him for a while, she felt like he was in the house with her and became the first girl to try and leave the premises. Cici brought the phone outside with her so she could call campus police and tell them that she thought there was an intruder in the sorority, but Wes Craven cleverly kept her inside the house (and easily killable) by adding the twist that the phone didn’t have reception outside on the porch. Once she was back inside, Ghostface made his move by lunging out of a closet and following her upstairs. He then threw her through a window and onto a balcony, stabbed her a few times, and then hurled her off the second floor and down onto the concrete.

Timothy Olyphant

Before Olyphant was nailing it on Justified (actually, way before that), he played Mickey in Scream 2. Mickey was Sidney’s boyfriend Derek’s (played by Jerry O’Connell) best friend. He revealed himself to be Ghostface in the college theater while Sidney was trying to untie Derek, whose fraternity buddies had mounted up on a set piece as a prank. Mickey suggested to Sidney that he and Derek had planned each and every one of the murders on the campus together, and this made Sidney reluctant to free Derek. Derek denied everything, which caused Mickey to shoot Derek and explain that unlike the Stu and Billy (who was Ghostface during the Woodsboro murders and who wanted to get away with everything), Mickey actually wanted to be caught. He also said his defense in court was going to be that horror movies made him commit all these murders because they’re too violent and damaging to society’s youth. And after a series of punches and struggling for a gun, Billy’s mom revealed herself as Mickey’s accomplice. Then she shot Mickey three times because she thought his defense strategy was dumb.

Jenny McCarthy

In Scream 3, Jenny McCarthy played Sarah, one of the actresses that had a small part in Stab 3. When the director of the movie, Roman (Scott Foley), called her and told her to meet him in his office so they could run her lines together, Sarah went over to the studio but was upset to find out he hadn’t yet arrived. When Roman called his office to tell Sarah he was running late, she told him she was having major issues with her part, and Roman tried to calm her down by going through her scene with her. The voice on the other line turned out not to be Roman’s, and instead was that of Ghostface. This sent Sarah running through the studio, and she chose to hide in the prop room between various Ghostface costumes that were hanging on a rack. When the real Ghostface popped out from the collection of black robes, he punched Sarah in the face, threw her through the glass window of a door and then stabbed her.

Parker Posey

Parker Posey played Jennifer, who was also one of the actresses starring in Stab 3. While at a party at the producer’s house, Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) and Dewey (David Arquette) realized that Ghostface was really the one who lured them to the producer’s house so he could kill everyone. Gale and Dewey began rounding all the other actors and actresses up so they could tell all of them they needed to escape. When Ghostface located Jennifer, Gale and Dewey in the mansion, he chased them into a bedroom and Jennifer locked herself in a closet to try and get away. She pressed up against the wall and fell through a trap door and ran through a series of secret passageways until Ghostface finally caught up with her. Trying desperately to get away, she stumbled upon some two-way mirrors that allowed her to peek into a room and watch Dewey and Gale talking. She pounded on the glass and screamed for them to help her, but all they could see were the room’s mirrors shaking and. Dewey whipped out his gun after he heard screams coming from behind them and shot through the glass, but he was too late. Ghostface had already sliced up Jennifer.

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