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Scream 6 Ending & Ghostface Killer Identity Explained (In Detail)


Warning: This post contains MAJOR spoilers for Scream 6

Scream 6’s ending reveals the Ghostface killers’ identities and motivations, while hinting there will be more horror to be had in the future. Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett from a screenplay by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick, Scream 6 sees the return of Samantha and Tara Carpenter, who have relocated to New York City where Tara attends college. With mostly positive reviews, this “sequel to a requel” is being praised for being a fun, bloody entry to the Scream franchise.


Scream 6 ends with Sam, Tara, Chad, and Kirby locked inside the movie theater. Detective Bailey calls Sam to tell her that Kirby can’t be trusted, alleging she is unstable. Sam, Tara, and Chad turn against Kirby very briefly before it’s revealed she isn’t the killer at all, and there is more than one who has gained entry to the shrine. Detective Bailey reveals he plotted with Quinn and Ethan, both his children, to kill Sam. After some fighting, Sam, who dons her father’s Ghostface mask, manages to kill Quinn and Bailey, while Tara and Kirby take down Ethan. Sam leaves behind Billy Loomis’ mask as she walks away with Tara.

Related: Scream VI Review: Ghostface Isn’t Playing In Brutal, Bloody & Funny Sequel

Detective Bailey, Quinn & Ethan’s Ghostface Killer Motivations Explained

scream 6 detective bailey

Detective Bailey, Quinn, and Ethan are Richie’s father, sister, and brother, respectively. They wanted revenge on Sam for killing Richie in 2022’s Scream. They were all obsessed with the Stab movies and the original killings, having collected evidence — bloodied t-shirts of victims and all the Ghostface masks included — and research. What’s more, Richie wanted to ensure the death of Sam, and his family was onboard with that plan, too. They saw Billy Loomis as an icon. Scream 6’s Ghostface killings was simply Richie’s family finishing what Richie started; that included the incomplete movie Richie was working on before he died.

The Biggest Clues To Ghostface’s Identities In Scream 6

scream 6 ghostface

Ghostface’s identity is always the biggest mystery in any Scream movie. Typically, there is more than one killer doing the dirty work. In Scream 6, there are not two killers, but three who are running around New York stabbing people. Ethan becomes a suspect, and it’s easy to see why. One of the biggest clues to him being the killer is his absence during Ghostface’s apartment break-in. He claims he was in class at the time, but no one actually believed that. What’s more, Ethan was Chad’s roommate, which means he had easy access to all the conversations that were being had with Tara and Sam without being directly involved with the Carpenter sisters.

Quinn’s “death” is also a clue, especially since there wasn’t a scene involving Detective Bailey finding her body, and she didn’t die in front of everyone else. Quinn mentioning that she has a brother who died is also a clue, hinting there is more to her story that she doesn’t fully share. The remaining clues involve Dermot Mulroney’s Detective Bailey, who is far too keen on involving himself directly with the case, even when he is no longer assigned to it. His suspicion of Kirby also hints at his identity as one of the Ghostface killers, as her presence puts a dent in his family’s plans.

Everyone Who Dies In Scream 6

Ghostface, Jenna Ortega, and Melissa Barrera in Scream VI. 

There are a lot of deaths in Scream 6. Samara Weaving’s Laura, an associate film professor at Blackmore College, is killed by Jason, a film student who masquerades as Ghostface alongside his roommate Greg. They’re both killed by the real Ghostface killers — though it’s unclear who of the three actually committed the crimes. The Ghostface killers then go on to kill all the convenience store patrons where Sam and Tara find refuge.

Related: 6 Ways Scream 6’s Ghostface Is Already Different

Anika, Mindy’s girlfriend, is also killed by the Ghostface killers when one of them (likely Ethan) attacks the apartment, as is Quinn’s lover, whose body is found in the bathtub, and Gale’s new boyfriend. Sam’s therapist is brutally murdered by Ghostface before Sam’s files are stolen. Finally, all three Ghostface killers are killed: Detective Bailey and Quinn are both killed by Sam, while Ethan is stabbed by Tara and then hit over the head with an old TV by Kirby.

Why No Returning Characters Die In Scream 6

scream 6 gale

Mindy discusses the “rules” of horror film franchises in a clever and self-aware scene in Scream 6. In it, she says that legacy characters are in danger of dying in franchise sequels, too; they’re no longer safe. However, since Dewey was killed by Ghostface in Scream 5, it would have been redundant to kill off Gale Weathers or Kirby, and it would have been too obvious to kill them both off after Mindy’s speech. Killing off Kirby immediately after her big return to the franchise wouldn’t have been right, and Gale’s death would have been too fresh so soon after Dewey’s.

Sam and Tara need as many allies as they can get. As for Sam, Tara, Chad, and Mindy, keeping them all alive subverts the audience’s expectations. Chad labeling them the “Core Four” suggests they will continue to survive and stick together no matter what happens. What’s more, the Scream franchise must build out its new slate of characters before killing them first. The only way to do that would be to keep them alive. The Core Four continued to strengthen their bond and trust throughout Scream 6, so that if one of them dies in Scream 7, it would be more emotionally effective for the remaining characters.

Why The Ghostface Killers Wanted Sam To Wear Billy’s Mask

Scream 6 ghostface shrine sam

It wasn’t enough for the Ghostface killers to kill Sam. They wanted to make sure her reputation was tarnished first. Billy Loomis being Sam’s father made her an easy target to pin the murders on — it’s just like Richie originally wanted. Billy was the first killer and, if Sam donned his mask, she might have been the last in the eyes of the world. Sam told her therapist that killing Richie had “felt right,” and Detective Bailey and his family were well aware of that fact. Sam was always being harassed because people believed she really was a killer.

Related: Scream 6 Makes A Missed Scream 2022 Opportunity Even Worse

Online conspiracy theories pinned everything on her, and those same people would have, without a doubt, believed Sam was the one who killed her friends and Richie’s family. Detective Bailey and his family had already started the rumors about Sam being a killer, and wanting her to wear Billy’s Ghostface mask would have solidified what conspiracy theorists already thought was true. A serial killer’s daughter becoming a serial killer is precisely the kind of twisted take that people would have clung to, and Sam’s story would have forever been altered because of it.

Why Billy Loomis Only Appears To Sam At The Movie Theater Shrine

Sam had stopped seeing visions of Billy Loomis, but he reappears to her when she’s staring directly at his mask in the Scream 6’s movie theater shrine because it likely brings back memories about what it felt like for her to kill. It’s also a moment of doubt for Sam, who has tried her best not to lean into the feeling that killing Richie felt right. Sam has been so haunted by the fact that her father was a serial killer. Faced with Billy Loomis’ past right in front of her, the part of her mind that conjures Billy seems to sense the doubt.

The vision attempts to push Sam past the line she doesn’t want to cross. Billy is a representation of Sam’s fears of becoming like the Scream killer. The visions had previously disappeared because she wasn’t facing any immediate threats. She was also avoiding thoughts of her father. But with Billy’s Ghostface mask being so close, Sam was facing the temptation. And though she ends up wearing the mask, Scream 6 indicates Sam is uninterested in following Billy’s path.

Why Scream 6 Has FIVE Ghostfaces (Is It Too Many?)

scream 6 all ghostfaces

Scream 6 has a lot of Ghostface killers. Not only that, but there are several more who wear the mask because it’s Halloween, which makes it difficult to find the real killer. The first two Ghostface killers are Jason and Greg, who donned the mask because they wanted to finish Richie’s movie and get back at Sam, as well as whoever else annoyed them. The other three are the real Ghostface killers of Scream 6. It’s possible there are so many Ghostfaces in Scream 6 to throw off the audience. If there is just one or two, it might have been easier to distinguish the real killer’s identity.

Related: Scream 6 Drops A Subtle Hint Sam Is Now The Key To The Franchise

The Ghostface mask hides, so that Ethan, who is a suspect, can continue looking innocent while his presumably dead sister continues with the stabbing. Revealing Jason and Greg as Ghostfaces underscores the idea that the Woodsboro killings have inspired others to violence and murder, regardless of their location or history. The inclusion of five Ghostfaces is perhaps one too many, but within the scope of Scream 6’s story, it offers a few nice surprises and twists, while keeping fans on their toes in guessing the real identity of the killers. It also works in expanding the Ghostface influence beyond the Core Four.

Scream 6 Turns Kirby Into Gale’s Replacement (Despite Gale Not Dying)

scream 6 kirby

Kirby Reed, now an agent with the FBI, returned in Scream 6 after surviving her run-in with Ghostface in Scream 4. Though Gale is still alive and continues reporting, it’s Kirby who has a personal connection with Sam, having gone to Woodsboro High School together. Kirby is closer in age to Sam and the rest of the Core Four, and she quickly becomes an ally to Sam and Tara in Scream 6. They trust her in a way they don’t particularly trust Gale, who wrote about the Woodsboro murders in 2022’s Scream and Sam being Billy Loomis’ daughter.

It doesn’t hurt that Kirby has had personal experience with Ghostface. Like Gale, Kirby has done her own research and has connections that help with the investigation. Through her work with the FBI, Kirby can gather pertinent intel on the potential Ghostface killers. Moving forward, the Core Four will likely rely on her for information and help in taking down whoever decides to come after Sam and Tara next. To that end, Kirby is essentially the Gale to Sam and Tara. She isn’t facing Ghostface’s wrath directly, but she’s heavily involved in the case nonetheless.

Does Scream 6’s Ending Mean Sidney Will Return In Scream 7?

Sidney Prescott riding the subway in a Scream 6 fan poster.

Sidney Prescott was absent in Scream 6, with only a mention of an offscreen interaction between her and Gale. Despite the horror movie bringing back Billy Loomis’ mask and referencing the first Scream killer heavily, it seems doubtful that Sidney will return in Scream 7. To be sure, Sidney is forever connected to the Ghostface killer and to Woodsboro, but Scream 6 made it apparent that the legacy sequels can go on without her. Bringing Sidney back risks her life, and she’s been through enough trauma as it is. Remaining offscreen means Sidney gets to live her life in peace and safety as she continues building a life with her family.

Related: Scream 2022’s Twist Ending Almost Appeared WAY Earlier

How Scream 6’s Ending & Survivors Set Up Scream 7

scream 6 core four

The Core Four survived alongside Kirby and Gale, but Scream 6 hints there could always be more Ghostfaces. Perhaps Scream 7 will include a killer who wants revenge for the deaths of Jason and Greg, and blames Sam for them. Sam is already hated by online conspiracy theorists, and one of them, such as the college student who harassed Sam on the street, could be inspired to put on the Ghostface mask and go after Sam in Scream 7. Plus, Sam left Billy’s mask behind, which could fall into the wrong hands and return to haunt her. Whatever happens, the survivors of Scream 6 have each other’s backs.

Scream 6’s Post-Credits Scene Explained

scream 6 mindy post-credits scene

Scream 6 includes a post-credits scene of Mindy Meeks-Martin declaring that “not all movies need a post-credits scene.” Cleverly, the scene itself seems like an extension of Mindy’s monologue detailing the rules of horror movies and franchises. Scream 6’s post-credits scene is yet another meta moment that takes a shot at franchise filmmaking and the penchant for post-credits scenes, as well as the expectation by audiences for them to be included. The dialogue in the horror film’s post-credits scene aligns with its ongoing, and self-aware, commentary. While it doesn’t actually tease anything for a future Scream movie installment, it fits perfectly within the framework of Scream 6.

The Real Meaning Of Scream 6’s Ending

scream 6 ending

Scream 6 deals a lot with conspiracy theories and online hate, and how that can affect someone in the real world. It also showcases how quickly anyone can start a rumor that leads to hate and violence against someone, regardless of the truth. Scream 6 is also about violence being a choice. Sam, the daughter of a serial killer, is constantly being accused of or harassed for being a potential killer, but she has only ever killed someone in self-defense. Whereas Bailey, Quinn, and Ethan — as well as Richie — chose to murder out of revenge or lust for violence. Scream 6 clearly draws a line between the two things to make clear its point.

More: Scream 6 Finally Teases A Franchise First For Gale


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