The most debated death in 1996's SCREAM...who killed Tatum?!
Now keep in my mind, Tatum's death isn't the only debated death in the film, but her death comes at a crucial time in the film when the secrecy of the killers' identity needs to be kept tighter than ever. And this is what brings to the question: Who killed Tatum Riley?
Now let's lay some ground work first. It's been almost twenty years since SCREAM was released so it's no secret that the killers end up being Billy Loomis and Stu Macher. Hopefully that's not a spoiler. If it is, then I'll just say what the kids are saying nowadays, "SMDH..." Okay, so there's a big party going on at Stu's house to celebrate the new curfew the town has put into affect. Billy wasn't "invited" to the party due to him being charged with the murders (and released) and keeping his distance from classmates.
Now Stu sets the scene up by asking Tatum to go get more beers out of the garage (which gives us that awesome gratuitous shot up top).
Now Tatum slips into the garage to fetch the beers shortly after referring to herself as the "beer wench". And in the typical teen slasher fashion, she presumes she's alone.
But oh no! She tries to re-enter the house but the door is locked! Who's to help a damsel in distress? No worries, she simply presses the garage door button to open the door. As she makes her to the door it stops and goes back down.
She looks back to see...
...Ghostface, standing tall, between her and freedom.
Tatum shakes it off as a harmless prank. After all, similar incidents happened just hours earlier at school with classmates goofing around. She believes movie-geek Randy is behind the mask.
"Please don't kill me, Mr. Ghostface. I want to be in the sequel," Tatum says with a tongue-in-cheek smile, right before the masked menace reveals his knife and slices her arm.
But Tatum fights back, realizing the terror is real.
And for the first time in the series, we get our first look at clumsy Ghostface, a reoccurring theme that reappears from time to time for the remainder of the franchise.
Tatum, noticing the only method of escape, darts for the doggy door on the garage and tries to squeeze her big-breasted frame through the, well, frame.
Now, they wouldn't show us the garage door motor if they weren't going to...
...kill her that way. And they did. Tatum's lifeless body swings in the doorway. And Ghostface slips back into the house.
Now back to the question at hand. And keep in mind that Tatum's killer just re-entered the house. Now, back inside the house, Stu is giving his goodbyes as the party guests are leaving. Also, take note that we really don't know how much time has passed since Tatum died and Stu escorts people out.
And right on cue, Billy appears at the front door. A little too coincidental, if you ask me. I see this as one last red herring towards Billy, daring the audience to believe he's the killer once again.
And it's my unpopular opinion that Stu, not Billy, killed Tatum and returned to party -- nobody being the wiser. If this were Clue, I'd answer it this way: It was Stu Macher in the garage with the door opener!
So that's my take. Billy's innocent (in this scene, anyway).
What do YOU think?
Thanks for reading!