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The Stab film series is a fictional series of eight slasher films in the Scream franchise's universe, first introduced in Scream 2 (1997 film, film set in 1998). The franchise began as a biographical whodunit slasher film, based on reporter-author Gale Weathers' best-seller The Woodsboro Murders, published in 1997. Written by Kevin Williamson as a meta joke, it expanded throughout the franchise to discuss horror movie tropes.

It was originally based on the life of famed celebrity heroine, Sidney Prescott and her encounters with the various Ghostface killers in the original trilogy (but took many creative liberties based on the "true story"). Tori Spelling was chosen to play the heroine.

So far, eight films have been released under the Stab name. It was mentioned by Jenny Randall that the first three Stab films were based on the true story of Sidney Prescott, but after almost suing Sunrise Studios if they tried to use her real life story, the subsequent films became exaggerative fictional. Despite this, Sidney appears in every Stab film in some capacity except the most recent, directed by Rian Johnson.

Following the murder of original Stab veteran cast member, Jennifer Jolie and several Stab 3: Return to Woodsboro cast members' deaths, as well as its producer John Milton's murder, the franchise halted for around 5 years before a true third film was confirmed, Stab 3: Hollywood Horror, released on the tenth anniversary of the original Woodsboro Murders. Despite its many recastings and also casting actors to portray the ones who died, a sequel was confirmed.

This led to the fictional sequel trilogy which was released back-to-back in the late-2000s. Finally, a movie-within-a-movie, Stab 7 (2010 film) which presents a meta, self-aware story about how the Stab films are a work of fiction themselves (perhaps set in the Scream universe, as an homage to Wes Craven's New Nightmare). It features one killer revealed in the opening, which is Chloe portrayed by Kristen Bell.

After another killing spree occurred in 2011, the franchise went into development hell for 9 years until Rian Johnson directed the infamous Stab 8, simply titled Stab in 2020 (wide-released in January 2021).

History

Original trilogy

Differences:
  • The fictional Casey Becker (Stab) portrayed by Heather Graham is taking a shower, and wears a bath robe, unlike the real Casey Becker, who was fully clothed and getting ready to watch a video. This is an in-joke at the unnecessary over-sexualization of female characters in films in general, but also prevalently in the horror genre.
  • Although off-screen, Kenny Brown is likely gutted in the film, rather than throat slashed, as this is how Gale described it in her best-selling book.
  • Dewey and Gale are married for 10 years by Stab 3: Hollywood Horror (likely approx. 2006 release). However, in the actual real-life events, they were broken-up, fighting and repairing their relationship, before getting engaged by the end of it.
  • Given the events of the original Stab 3: Return to Woodsboro (2000) production, it is likely there is a huge release gap between Stab 2 (1999 film) and the released version of Stab 3 that depicts the Hollywood murders.
  • If Dewey and Gale get married by the end of Stab (1998 film set in 1996) or shortly after, and are two years married in the sequel, it may explain the "10 years" marriage by Stab 3, if it is released in 2006 to coincide the Saw sequels parody that the Stab sequels were intended for.
  • It is implied there is a second killer in every Stab film. In the real-world events, from what the audience knows, Roman Bridger was the only known killer of the third Scream film. However, this could be a nod to the theory Angelina Tyler was his accomplice.

Fiction-based sequel trilogy, movie-within-a-movie seventh film and controversial Rian Johnson-directed eighth film

Sequel trilogy: Stab 4 (2007 film), Stab 5 (2008 film) and Stab 6 (2009 film)
Further films: Stab 7 (2010 film), Stab (2021 film)

Following the conclusion of the original real-life story Stab trilogy, which was based on the life of Sidney Prescott, a sequel trilogy was immediately developed by Sunrise Studios.

Not much is known about the Stab films besides the plots of the first three films (as they mirrored the direct events of the Scream films and due to the fact that footage has only been shown from the first Stab, Stab 6, Stab 7 and Stab 8).

However, Stab 5 was explained to have time travel by Jenny Randall, who also mentions that Stab 5 was the worst entry in the series. Richie Kirsch also agrees that the franchise went off the rails by "number five".

The opening of Stab 6 (2009 film, filmed 2008) serves as the opening of Scream 4 (2011 film) and shows schoolgirls Sherrie and Trudie being attacked and killed by a Facebook stalker Ghostface. The Facebook killer of Stab 6, a 2010 movie-within-a-movie follow-up sequel was released, rendering the previous films entirely fictional (possibly a response to the overly fictional elements used in the past few films, including time travel in Stab 5). In the clip for Stab 7, Rachel is critical of the film while Chloe defends it. She later stabs Rachel for talking too much.

A real-life killing spree occurred for the first time in 11 years with the events of the Second Woodsboro Murders. Despite this, a sequel Stab was never faithfully made based on this. This leaves the franchise in development hell until Rian Johnson is hired as director of Stab, the 2021 eighth Stab film that loses its number reference.

It uses some core elements including Second Woodsboro Murders (2011) survivor, Judy Hicks and likely Charlie Walker as the maligned Flamethrower Ghostface (portrayed in real-life by Matthew Lillard). A scrapped scene revealed sole teen survivor, Kirby Reed was apart of it as a filmmaker. Given, an interview with Bloody Disgusting appears in the Recommended section on Richie's Youtube video, it is possible Kirby is the "Mary Sue" main character, but other core elements, such as the motive with Sidney, and Jill Roberts were removed.

Cast and characters

The characters are loosely based on the actual characters from the Scream films. However, following the third installment of Stab, all characters were completely original.

Character Film
Stab (1998 film) Stab 2 (1999 film) Stab 3: Hollywood Horror (2006 film) Stab 4 (2007 film) Stab 5 (2008 film) Stab 6 (2009 film) Stab 7 (2010 film) Stab (2020 film)
Sidney Prescott Tori Spelling Spelling or new actress Time-travel cameos Spelling or new actress Spelling as herself or new actress Absent
Gale Weathers Jennifer Jolie Elizabeth Banks Absent
Dewey Riley David Schwimmer Possible new actor or Schwimmer Absent
Cotton Weary Craig Bierko Absent
Randy Meeks Christopher Speed Absent
Billy Loomis Luke Wilson Absent
Tatum Riley Alicia Silverstone Absent
Ron Howard Arthur Himbry Absent
Casey Becker Heather Graham Absent
Cici Cooper Absent Unknown Absent
Sherrie Absent Lucy Hale Absent
Trudie Absent Shenae Grimes Absent
Chloe Absent Kristen Bell Absent
Rachel Absent Anna Paquin Absent
Flamethrower Ghostface (possibly Charlie Walker) Absent Unknown (portrayed by Matthew Lillard in real-life)
Judy Hicks Absent Possibly Lake Bell
Kirby Reed Absent Unknown actress playing the "Mary Sue" lead
Franchise
Scream series
Scream | 2 | 3 | 4 | TV Series | Scream (2022) | 6
Stab Franchise
Stab | 2 | 3: Hollywood Horror/3: Return to Woodsboro | 4: Knife of Doom | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8
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