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The “Scream” franchise remains smart and relevant by understanding that the genre continually evolves, but the rules remain the same.

We’re back again with a new set of Scream franchise rules!

Our entrusted, divorced, and retired Deputy Dewey Riley (David Arquette) from Scream V gets straight to the point!  Dewey looks sternly at Sam (Melissa Barrera) and Richie (Jack Quaid) and says, “Your killer is obsessed with the Stab movies, right?  Well, there are certain rules to surviving a Stab movie. Believe me, I know.”

As in our previous feature, Randy’s Rules of the Trilogy, we present a few notable horror franchises, films, and characters that represent Dewey’s Rules for Surviving a Stab Movie.


“They seem sweet, caring, supportive, then welcome to Act Three, where they’re trying to rip your head off.”

The Stepfather 2 (1989) – Jerry Blake (Terry O’Quinn)

From boyfriend to fiancé to husband and Stepfather to-be, Terry O’Quinn as Jerry Blake is an absolute talent at playing it perfectly and becoming steadily unhinged. Thanks to Shudder, you can now indulge in this gem, as well as The Stepfather 3. If you want to watch the 2009 remake of the original from 1987, you can find it on Netflix. The original is also on Tubi, along with its two sequels. All these films fit the mold of the untrustworthy love interest.

In the first film, O’Quinn is immediately established as re-married only one short year following the brutal slaying of his former family. It’s an eerie and unforgettable scene.

Heartbreaker Runner-Ups: 

You’re Next (2011)Boyfriend Crispian Davison (A.J. Bowen) is a clever and calculating monster of chaos and backfired plans.

Heathers (1988) – Boyfriend J.D (Christian Slater) is a dedicated boo until he doesn’t get his anarchist way.

Ready or Not (2019) Groom Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien) is trusted until the end, but his family requires loyalty to their own bloody ménage.

Deceptive Boyfriends and Love Interests of the Scream Franchise:

Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich), Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard), Charlie Walker (Rory Culkin), and, of course, Richie Kirsch (Jack Quaid)



“You got stabbed a billion times, got dumped by your famous wife, and crawled into a bottle. I think it’s safe to say you’re on the suspect list.”

Valentine (2oo1) – Jeremy Melton

A young Jeremy Melton (Joel Palmer) is rejected and unjustly set up at the junior high Valentine’s dance, resulting in a severe beating and his school expulsion. Afterward, he is transferred to a reform school and juvenile hall. Decades later, the same group of girls who rejected him and helped send him to juvenile hall and, later, a mental institution are still closely bonded. When their friend Shelley (Katherine Heigl) is murdered, the rest of the group becomes Cupid’s next victim in this twisted tale of adolescent karma, sparing only nice-girl Kate (Marley Shelton, fellow Scream alumni).

Eventually, after some red herrings and misdirection, we find out who is really behind the killing spree. And bloodshed that is first is blamed on childhood trauma and lifelong anger is eventually revealed to be pure, unadulterated revenge.

Notable Deep-Rooted Murder Motivations:

My Bloody Valentine (1981) and (2009): Axel (Neil Affleck) from the original Canadian gem and Tom (Jensen Ackles) in the remake suffer from severe PTSD following their encounters with Harry Warden.

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) and Part 2 (1987):  Billy (Robert Brian Wilson) witnesses a homicidal Santa kill their parents and his younger brother, Ricky (Eric Freeman). Billy’s violent episodes show that untreated family trauma runs deep with a larger body count.

Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) – Before the mask, Jason (Steve Dash) avenges Mother Voorhees (Betsy Palmer) against the new recruitment of Camp Counselors.

Ghostface Killers with Severe Abandonment Issues:

Billy, Stu, Nancy Loomis (Laurie Metcalf), Roman Bridger (Scott Foley), and Jill Roberts (Emma Roberts)


“Does your sister have a close-knit group of friends?  Then look for the killer there.”

April Fool’s Day (1986) – Skip and “Buffy”

This is a plot premise of true foolery. During your first time watching, you do believe what you SEE. The first victim, Skip (Griffin O’Neal), is shown deceased and floating under the dock at a fast pace by Kit (Amy Steel), only later to be found by Nikki (Deborah Goodrich), who discovers his severed head along with other deceased members of the group. One after the other, each friend goes missing until Kit finds everyone alive in the living room, laughing.

Muffy (Deborah Foreman), aka Buffy, reveals that her “disturbed twin sister” pseudonym and the weekend of unsuspecting pranks and special effects were an experiment in creating a future murder mystery resort.

With rule number three, some of the most significant betrayal plotlines involve isolating one character from a group and constructing their kill for only the audience’s eyes. Meanwhile, the remaining group often dismisses another character’s absence as them “taking off” or “getting laid.”

Foul and Fake Friend Runner-Ups:

Among Friends (2013) – Presumed Victim: Lily (Dana Daurey). Lily is seen lying lifeless in a bathtub and covered in blood; assumed by the group that their guilty friend of the macabre, Bernadette (Alyssa Lobit), murdered her before their arrival. However, there is a clever twist.

Shrooms (2007) First Victim: Bluto (Robert Hoffman). After ingesting death bell mushrooms during their psychedelic camping trip in Ireland, Tara (Lindsey Haun) starts to experience hallucinogenic psychic visions of the group being murdered by an urban monk legend. In the end, she discovers her episodes of foul play.

Harper’s Island (2009) – Returning to the island for her childhood friend’s wedding, Abby (Elaine Cassidy) starts to relive the déjà vu of John Wakefield (Callum Keith Rennie), her mother’s killer. When wedding guests start to go missing “one by one”, the island takes on a bloody head count of friends, family, and locals from all sides. I won’t reveal Wakefield’s accomplice, as I highly recommend this gory miniseries from CBS with homages to April Fool’s.

Ghost-faced Friends in the Group:

Billy, Stu, Mickey (Timothy Olyphant), Charlie, Jill (Emma Roberts), and Amber (Mikey Madison). But adhering to and looking closely at the first victim rule within the first four films, none of the first victims were part of the close-knit group of friends featured until Scream 5. Tara is the first and surviving victim of Amber’s many savage attempts in collaboration with Richie to kill her.


Richie had only dated Sam for six months and was more than obsessed with watching Stab movies on his laptop during the visits of carnage in Woodsboro. Testy and defensive, he calls Dewey a “shitty Sam Elliott” as his motives become relentlessly questioned. Dewey unapologetically called it, as he’s earned that burden.

Though Scream 5 wasn’t my favorite, I do give props to screenwriters James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick for crafting a new set of effective rules.

What horror franchises, films, and characters do you feel fit the mold of Dewey’s rules for surviving a Stab movie?

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