Ghostface (alternatively stylized as Ghost Face or GhostFace) is a fictional identity that is adopted by the primary antagonists of the Scream franchise. The figure was originally created by Kevin Williamson, and is primarily mute in person but voiced over the phone by Roger L. Jackson, regardless of who is behind the mask (as all killers use a voice changer utilizing that exact voice, starting in person with Scream 2). The disguise has been adopted by various characters in the movies and in the third season of the television series.
Ghostface first appeared in Scream (1996) as a disguise used by teenagers Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich) and Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard), during their killing spree in the fictional town of Woodsboro. The mask was a popular Halloween costume created and designed by Fun World costume company before being chosen by Marianne Maddalena and Craven for the film. The identity is used primarily as a disguise for the antagonists of each film to conceal their identities while conducting serial murders, and as such has been portrayed by several actors.
In the Scream universe, the costume is not unique and is easily obtainable, allowing others to wear a similar outfit. Ghostface often calls their targets to taunt or threaten them while using a voice changer that hides their true identity. In Scream 3, this is taken further when Ghostface uses a device that enables him to sound like several other characters, in order to manipulate targets. The changing identity of the person beneath the mask means that Ghostface has no definite motivation, ranging from revenge and seeking fame to peer pressure. In the first three movies, each killer shares the common goal of killing Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) due to a chain of events that started when Sidney's estranged half-brother, Roman Bridger (Scott Foley), told Billy his father had had an affair with Sidney's mother Maureen (Lynn McRee). In the fourth movie, the killers are jealous of Sidney's notoriety and plan to kill her so they too can become famous. From the fifth film onwards, the focus shifts to Billy's daughter, Samantha "Sam" Carpenter (Melissa Barrera) and her half-sister, Tara (Jenna Ortega), who are targeted due to their connection to Billy. In these later installments, the new Ghostface killers have motives that may sometimes be connected to the in-universe Stab film series, loose adaptations of the tell-all books about previous Ghostface killings by Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), with Sam also assuming the Ghostface mantle herself in order to kill other Ghostfaces.
The Ghostface persona remains the same throughout the Scream series, featuring a black hood and cloak with a jagged base and a white rubber mask resembling a ghost with an anguish expression. Though each iteration of Ghostface is human, they often exhibit extreme durability against physical harm, high levels of physical strength, and an almost supernatural stealth ability, able to appear and disappear in seemingly impossible situations. The character has often appeared in popular culture since its inception, referenced in film and television as well as spawning a series of action figures and merchandise, as well as parodies and titular spoofs.
In the 2015–2016 television series Scream, Ghostface is adapted as the Lakewood Slasher, who appeared in the series for the first two seasons, and the Shallow Grove Slasher, who appeared in the Halloween special episodes of the second season; both are voiced by Mike Vaughn, with a different mask due to copyright issues. The original Ghostface persona returned in Scream: Resurrection, once again voiced by Roger L. Jackson, replacing Vaughn. In the movies, Ghostface has appeared in all entries to date, returning most recently in Scream VI, with Jackson reprising his role, now credited as "The Voice".
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