Watch: Neve Campbell Returns to 'Scream' — and Fan Theories About Gay Killers

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday January 12, 2022

Fans of the "Scream" franchise — four films, about to become five — theorize that the first film's tag-team killers were a gay couple. Neve Campbell, one of the stars of the original hit movie who is returning for the new installment, gave her take on the question during a recent interview with Pride Source.

Entertainment Tonight described how Pride Source host Chris Azzopardi "circled the question of whether Stu and Billy" — two teens unmasked as the killers in the original film — "were secretly gay."

"Based on how close they are, fans have often wondered if Billy and Stu were secretly in love with each other," Pop Buzz said. "Randy even calls Billy a 'homo repressed momma's boy' in 'Scream 2.'"

Campbell cut to the chase. "Are you wondering whether there was a burgeoning love relationship going on there?" she asked Azzopardi. "Perhaps," she added.

Saying that "Scream" creator Kevin Williamson — who is openly gay — has never "said to me clearly that's what it is," Campbell nonetheless reflected that, "it is a possibility, right?"

Asked by Azzopardi to "theorize," Campbell went on to muse, "I would say that there was perhaps some confusion with them," clarifying that the characters were "[p]retty confused guys."

"And that maybe some of their anger comes from not being allowed to be who they want to be, if you wanna go there," she added.

"Scream" fans who have embraced the idea that the two killers, working in tandem, were also romantically involved may have been influenced by the famous case of gay lovers Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, who, in 1923, murdered Bobby Franks, who was Leopold's cousin.

Leopold, recalled, "believed rather sternly in the Nietzschean ideal of 'the Superman,' that because he is a superior being to other 'inferior' men, he can kill with impunity, basically on a whim."

If "Scream" can trace any of its DNA back to that pair of killers, it's not the only hit movie to do so. Alfred Hitchcock's 1948 thriller "Rope" featured two young men named Brandon (John Dall) and Philip (Farley Granger), a similarly arrogant pair of killers who were coded gay.

"This idea of killing 'inferior beings' on a whim is echoed in Brandon's character rather extensively throughout the film," noted, "especially when he discusses the ethics of murder with his old school master Rupert (James Stewart), who may or not bust Brandon and Philip's crime wide open."

Indeed, in a subsequent article at Pride Source, Azzopardi reported that Williamson himself had given credence to the idea that Billy and Stu were romantically linked, calling their relationship "very sort of homoerotic" and "confirm[ing]" that the characters were "based upon" Leopold and Loeb.

The connection to deep cinematic history is not out of place in the "Scream" films, which, in a meta twist, have characters familiar with the slasher genre explaining the "rules" of such films even as they find themselves living through (and dying in) slasher movie ordeals.

The new film — like the original, simply titled "Scream" — updates the formula with explanations about "re-quels," even as characters from the original films relive the horrors of the past.

Watch the Pride Source clip below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.