The Woodsboro Murders were a series of violent murders in the mid-1990s committed by Woodsboro High School students, spearheaded by Billy Loomis alongside his partner, Stu Macher in Woodsboro, California. It was largely a killing spree that occurred in late 1996, one year after the first victim, Maureen Prescott's murder.
During the killings, they donned a generic Halloween costume, which became infamously known as the persona Ghostface and often called their victims on the phone, taunting or threatening them before stabbing them to death with an eight-inch hunting knife. They occasionally asked their victims horror movie trivia and stalked them in a manner reminiscent of said films.
After killing Maureen Prescott in 1995 and successfully framing Cotton Weary, one of her secret lovers, they began planning a killing spree. Close to the one-year anniversary of Maureen's murder, they committed a murder spree in their home town, planning on recreating their beloved horror movies and becoming heroes for surviving the bloodbath. The massacre sparked debate on the nature of the high school, in addition to the influence of violent movies and video games on American teenagers.
Background and Maureen Prescott murder trial
In late 1995, a twenty-six-year-old Hollywood music video director named Roman Bridger tracked down his birth mother, a former unknown horror movie actress "Rina Reynolds" from the early 1970s.
Maureen rejected the child she gave up for adoption, claiming she only had one child and the woman he claimed to be her mother was dead. He then began stalking her and her family, video taping her affairs. One obvious affair was Cotton Weary, but the less obvious was the affair with a local married lawyer named Hank Loomis, her daughter Sidney's boyfriend's father.
Roman, presumably with an alias, revealed this information with evidence to Hank's teenage son, Billy Loomis around this time. Mrs. Loomis around the same time became aware of the affair and abandoned town. He directed how he would get away with it, including a partner to sell out in case he was caught and finding someone (Maureen's other known lover, Cotton) to frame.
Billy followed this idea, and chose fellow Woodsboro High student Stu Macher as his partner. They, mostly Billy, were described as relatively popular students. Framing Cotton was successful, planting evidence in his car.
Following this, Cotton was convicted on death row after Sidney publicly testified against him as a key witness. During the trial, Top Story reporter Gale Weathers expressed criticism of Sidney's account of the story, and published stories against her reliability.
Amid this and within almost a year time frame, Billy and Stu began planning to continue killing. After Stu was dumped by his girlfriend Casey Becker for football player Steven Orth, they found their next target. With a new target, they also found someone new to frame, Maureen's widower husband, Neil Prescott.
The first murder occurred in 1995 when seventeen-year-old high school student Billy, with help from his best friend Stu Macher, snuck into his girlfriend Sidney's mother, Maureen Prescott's home. After Maureen seduced one of her many secret lovers, Cotton Weary, they stabbed her to death. They planted his jacket with Maureen's blood in his car to frame him.
Sidney Prescott, the daughter of Maureen and Billy's girlfriend, having witnessed someone wearing Cotton's jacket testifies that she saw Cotton leave the house, and Cotton was subsequently convicted of the murder. This was actually Billy Loomis and Stu Macher. It is unknown whether they wore the Ghostface costume for this murder or not.
Almost a year later, they devised a plan to commit a murder spree in their hometown, reminiscent of their favorite horror movies, and to frame Neil Prescott with the motive being the anniversary of his wife's death set him off. Their first victims were fellow Woodsboro High School students Casey Becker and Steven Orth. Their choice of apparel was a generic Halloween costume that several people own, making the killer almost impossible to find. A little after 10:00 PM, Billy and Stu began their attack. On his way to his girlfriend, Casey's house, Steven Orth was jumped by Billy and Stu, and was taped to a chair at Casey's patio of her house. They hid around the house, then Billy Loomis then called Casey, threatening her and asking her horror movie trivia. After getting an answer wrong, Stu gutted and killed Orth, and then threw a lawn chair into her house, allowing Billy to break in. Becker was able to make it outside, but was chased and stabbed by Billy. After stabbing her to death he and gutted her corpse and, along with Stu, hung it from a tree before making their escape. The 2 murders caused immediate explosive media coverage, and panic in the town of Woodsboro.
The morning after murdering Casey and Steve, Billy and Stu jumped Neil Prescott, cloned his cellular, and hid him at Stu's house, planning to frame him for their murder spree. That day, the next attack was on Sidney Prescott. Stu snuck into the house while Billy called her, talking with her normally before threatening her. Stu then jumped out of a closet and in costume, attacked Sidney, but was unsuccessful. He chased her upstairs, but Sidney was able to contact the police. Billy was arrested but with no evidence he was eventually released.
The next day at school, Sidney was attacked again in the toilet by someone wearing the Ghostface costume, however, it is unknown if this really was one of the killers or just a student pulling a prank. The incident caused the school to be closed and the student's were sent home. The school was empty except for the school principal Arthur Himbry and the Janitor Freddie. While alone in his office, Himbry was attacked by Loomis wearing the Ghostface costume, who stabbed him four times in the chest and stomach and gutted his corpse and hung it from the goalpost on the football field.
That night Billy and Stu planned another attack at Stu's party. Stu asked his girlfriend Tatum Riley to get more beer's from the garage, when she went to get some, she was attacked by Billy. After getting her arm sliced by him, she managed to subdue Billy by throwing several beer bottles at him. With the door blocked, she thought she could escape through the cat flap in the garage door, she tried to squeeze through, but ended up getting stuck. Billy then got the idea to raise the garage door and Tatum could only scream in terror as it was raised to the top where her neck was crushed and she was electrocuted, killing her.
Later that night after Billy and Sidney had sex, Stu in the Ghostface costume apparently killed Billy. Sidney escaped by jumping through the attic window and landing on a boat. Stu went downstairs and found Randy drunk on the couch, he was about to kill Randy until he heard Sidney screaming, he then killed Kenny Jones, Gale Weathers's cameraman by slashing his throat. Billy appeared and opened the door and saw Randy then shot him. Billy and Stu cornered Sidney at the kitchen where they revealed their master plan to her. After Billy stabbed Stu multiple times he told Stu to get the gun, but Gale had it. Billy kicked her towards one of the pillars of Stu's house, when he's about to shoot her, Stu noticed Sidney was gone and a minute later Sidney called them using the voice changer box after which Billy gets angry and tears the house apart. Sidney wearing the costume stab Billy with an umbrella, then Stu attack her but was electrocuted. Sidney believing it's all over, but was attacked by Billy who was then shot by Gale, then Randy said "the killer comes back for one last scare" which Billy does, but was shot in the head by Sidney.
- Maureen Prescott (Killed by Billy and Stu)
- Steven Orth (Killed by Stu)
- Casey Becker (Killed by Billy)
- Arthur Himbry (Killed by Billy)
- Tatum Riley (Killed by Billy)
- Kenny Jones (Killed by Stu)
- Sidney Prescott (survived)
- Neil Prescott (survived)
- Dewey Riley (survived)
- Gale Weathers (survived)
- Randy Meeks (survived)
- It is unknown if Billy and Stu first wore the Ghostface costume when killing Maureen.
- It is unknown if Roman Bridger convinced Billy to kill Maureen before or after Mrs. Loomis abandoned him.
- The killing spree occurred in 1996, but the murders began in 1995. In the sequel, Gale establishes that Maureen is considered the first victim of The Woodsboro Murders.
- There was an equal split of male and female victims as well as teenage and adult victims, three each.
- Maureen's murder was considered tame compared to Casey and Steven's murders.
- So far, Billy and Stu are the only killers to successfully frame another person for their crime and get them convicted for an extended period of time.