So, apparently this 'Scream 4' thing is real and not just a figment of Jay & Silent Bob's collective imagination. The fourth installment in the classic Wes Craven horror franchise hits theaters this week, amid much anticipation.

Neve Campbell is back to reprise her role as Sidney Prescott, the hapless high school student-turned college student-turned self-help author who can't shake psychotic killers wearing creepy Ghostface masks, who are obsessed with killing her. 'Scream' originals David Arquette and Courteney Cox are also back as the dorky Deputy Dewey Riley and the bitchy TV reporter Gale Weathers.

With the core cast members approaching middle age, Craven and writer Kevin Williamson (aka the Teen Whisperer) have thrown in some young'uns, too, so as not to alienate the coveted teen demographic. Emma Roberts ('Nancy Drew'), Hayden Panettiere ('Heroes') and Shenae Grimes ('90210') contribute to bringing the median age of the cast down significantly.

Fans are eagerly awaiting a fresh batch of kill scenes, with good reason. As Charlie (Rory Culkin, 'Signs') and Robbie (Erik Knudsen, 'Saw 2') point out in the 'Scream 4' trailer, in a sequel "every kill has got to be way more extreme." And we've seen some pretty extreme kill scenes in past installments.




Part of what makes the 'Scream' kill scenes so great is their originality and, in many cases, the witty back-and-forth between the victims and their killers. If 'Scream 4' intends to top all other death scenes in the 'Scream' franchise thus far, it certainly has its work cut out for it. With that in mind, here are our top 5 favorite 'Scream' kill scenes to date.

DISCLAIMER #1: If you're squeamish, stop reading now. And for the love of God, do NOT click on the video links.

DISCLAIMER #2: STATEMENT OF THE OBVIOUS: spoiler alert. If you have not seen any/all of the 'Scream' movies and plan to, do not read on.

1. Tatum Riley (Rose McGowan) crushed in the garage door in 'Scream.' Feisty Tatum wasn't going to give up easily. No, sir. She fought back with sassy one-liners right up until the end, when she gets mutilated in the garage door while trying to flee from Ghostface. Can you believe that lame jerk cut her arm? The nerve! Liver alone!



2. Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) yanked into the news van in the middle of broad daylight in 'Scream 2.' Not Randy!!! It's not easy watching the 'Scream' franchise's most lovable character (after Deputy Dewey, of course) unsuspectingly pacing beside the innocuous white news van on a busy street, when you just know the killer is lurking inside. Sure enough, Ghostface snatches Randy into the van and slices him up while a group of morons carrying a boombox saunters by.



3. Cici Cooper (Sarah Michelle Gellar) thrown off the balcony like a rag doll in 'Scream 2.' After watching SMG kick ass for years on 'Buffy,' it feels almost wrong to see her go down so easily as the prissy sorority sister. Sure, it's a horror genre rule that all prissy sorority sisters must die. Since it's SMG, though, it seemed momentarily possible that for once a sister might surprise us by kicking ass. But, alas, Cici proves to be helpless when confronted by Ghostface.



4. Jennifer Jolie (Parker Posey) slashed behind a two-way mirror with Gale and Dewey on the other side in 'Scream 3.' So close, yet so far away. Gale and Dewey could hear her, but couldn't save Jennifer from getting sliced up on the other side of the mirror. When Dewey shoots the last panel down to free her, it's already too late and Jennifer's mutilated body flops through the glass.



5. Maureen Evans (Jada Pinkett Smith) butchered to death in the middle of a crowded movie theater in 'Scream 2.' No, Maureen. That's not your boyfriend sitting beside you wearing the Ghostface mask at the 'Stab' screening. That becomes all too clear when he begins carving her up –- while surrounded by hundreds of people! Nobody even notices poor Maureen until it's too late, when she collapses dramatically in front of the screen.



Honorable mentions: Phil Stevens (Omar Epps) getting stabbed in the ear through a bathroom stall wall in 'Scream 2'; Stu Marker (Matthew Lillard) crushed and electrocuted by a TV Sidney tosses onto his head after biting his wrist and breaking a vase across his head. Take that!