This is an elaborated article based on my comments and posts on couple of fan picks and forum topics here.
"But this is life. This isn't a movie."
"Yes it is, Sid. It's all one great, big movie. You just can't pick your genre."
Billy may not have an outstanding personality as a killer but he certainly has much to give as a whole character. I love him to bits!
The shittier boyfriend: The one that fucks you, dumps you and doesn't even nake you famous, or the one that murders your mom, takes your virginity so he could kill you, and makes you famous? That was just inspired by a line that made me laugh in the SCREAM 4 movie, and I wouldn't really compare the two cases, nor do I even think that the original Billy was a shitty boyfriend at all.
We don't know anything about what Billy really
was like before he snapped or at which point exactly did this happen. But we can assume he wasn't always so emotionally cold as he appears in the film's time period, as he had a nice girlfriend who also opened up her heart to him even after he'd been an insensitive *beep*.
How complex was his inner life during his murderous rampage? I'd imagine the first time you take a human life is deeply affecting and changes you forever. Not to mention taking it by brutally gutting the person. And Billy was only, what, 15 or 16 then? Teenage is highly sensitive time already as it is, not to mention to do something like that.
He obviously had his temper but did he normally give into the pure rage he does in the film? (Stabbing Stu way too much and bad, hitting him with the phone [yes it was an accident in the set and not in the script but they left it in], tearing the living room apart roaring in rage etc.) I'd think nowhere near that bad or even a danger, otherwise Sidney would've never got together with him. Besides, he was obviously very capable of burying the truth of his temper and violence while insane, so I'd assume he was capable of controlling his temper back when he was still sane. But it's quite remarkable and fascinating psycholohy that he had all that rage and hate inside him - I mean, even butchering Maureen, the real enemy, wasn't enough for him to get it out of his system. He had to take it out also
on Neil and Sidney and do it by a cunning plan that took a year to get to execute. To think he had the patience to wait, to harbour that anger on innocent persons and then go for it at a set time.
Most of those intriguing things could of course be found in just about any of the killers in the series but what makes Billy so special to me is that he was a loved one of the main character, the main victim and it was romantic love. (Romance + horror = YAY!)
So, I think he started with Sidney while still ignorant about Sid's mom's part in his family breaking and thus still sane. And thus that he loved Sidney back (until he snapped and his emotional life got all fucked up.) I think they may have been there for each other in their mommy issues; (Sid having to deal with all the rumours about her mom and Billy's mom abandoning him.)
I believe this because of the talk in the hallway, him wanting to talk to Sidney at Stu's party and Sid agreeing to and then opening up her heart to him and Billy making sure she was sure of her decision to have sex. They obviously had played open cards in emotional matters, otherwise Billy's behaviour would've been suspicious to her. And also because he said "two years ago we started off all hot and heavy, nice solid R on our way to NC-17"
- this makes it sound like in the beginning and for a remarkably long time their sex life was very normal teenage way and like it would've been easy for him to have her give up her virginity.
As in if he started dating her with murder in mind which would've had to include his and Stu's movie because he didn't need Sid as his girlfriend just to get to Maureen, I think his visions and intentions would've been better planned out and he would've put off the mother's murder until he'd had Sid's virginity - just to make sure nothing would stand in the way of their movie's ending. Whereas if he started his relationship with her in an innocent, normal love affair and during that found out about Maureen and all that, he might have not thought so clearly because of complex emotions, and insanity taking over, and perhaps being too convinced she'd give it up to him no matter what (because they loved each other and had been there for each other)...And thus he ended up murdering Maureen as soon as the plan was finished, and then much for his disappointment ending up with the "underwear rule".
But then I don't even think he planned to kill Sid from the moment he found out about Maureen and his dad. Because of what I said about his age at the time, I think the moment he literally murdered Maureen may have been the point when he lost it completely and decided to make the movie which would end with deaths of the rest of the Prescott family - and thus ending up with "sexually anorectic" girlfriend was even more bad than it would be to any normal guy.
The most dangerous psychopaths/sosiopaths are the ones who can appear perfectly normal and nice, even attractive. Billy was one of those to far extent. But I think that everything he appeared in the film before the final act, he had always been even when he was sane, apart from the emotional coldness. Just that during the movie's time period, it was no more genuine but amazing capability to act as if nothing'd changed, in order to get her give it away. But then again, as I believe it had once been genuine and true, and I don't think love can ever totally die, I think there was some tiny shred of sincerety left there to help the act. I think this shows in the hallways scene when he manages to push her further away. I felt like he was very genuine in that scene instead of holding up the act so much, and that's why it ended up the way it did - because at the time the genuine himself was no more able to be so emotionally warm and discreet as he used to be.
But I don't think whatever good and warm there may have been left in him would've shown until Sidney would've been dead. Because boy was he way deep in there! For one when Stu drags the tied-up Neil to the kitchen, Billy's expression looks retarded. (That's a medical term, and I don't mean that in the offending tone but in the medical term way.) It looks like for the moment inside him there was room only for one thought and emotion; the pleasure of the moment. His eyes and the way his mouth opens though he's not going to say anything. Not to mention how before that he apparently wanted to rub in Sid's face the fact that he'd killed her mother. And the insanity in his eyes when he was finally trying to kill Sid, and telling her to say hello to her mother.
Years of prison for the criminally insane and intense psychoteraphy may have brought that tiny shred of love/caring back from his subconsciousness because he had to realize in the deepest that Sid and Neil were innocent. (Yeah, I'm thinking of the future if everything went the way it did in the film except that he'd not died.)
I also love his motive because of its simplicity and non-dramaticness yet psychological depth and theme. Many label him a mama's boy and some dislike his motive because of that. I respect that some don't like his motive but I wish it wouldn't be because "he comes off as a mama's boy" - as I feel that's seriously underthinking the possible depths and elements of the motive and through that the character's.
So in my reviewing opinion he wasn't meant to be a mama's boy but there’s likely much more to Billy’s psychology:
1.) Sidney naturally called him a “pansy-ass mama’s boy” in the ridiculing mean because she was pissed off for all that Billy had done to her. So she had a justification but even she likely didn’t really think him so. Look into her eyes when Billy reveals his motive. And into Stu’s eyes too. They don’t seem to think “OMG what a pathetic mama’s boy!” – they seem genuinely shocked and sorry that something that bad had happened to him. Leading me to…
2.) …how any child would be deeply hurt if abandoned by a parent – either parent. It doesn’t even necessarily take a loving parent. It certainly doesn’t take mama’s/daddy’s-boyness/girlness in any way. Another good fictional example is Steven Hyde from That 70’s Show. He was pissed off and deeply hurt when his drunken, uncaring mother abandoned him while he didn’t even have a father around (as the father had abandoned the family years ago.) He was pissed off at his dad who suddenly popped up after eight years.
3.) Mrs. Loomis likely didn’t turn Billy into mama’s boy as she abandoned the boy and thus obviously wasn’t too motherly personality. And then again any loving parent would be upset if their child was killed, it doesn’t take any especially close bond between them.
So, it¨s about parent/child bond everyone has more or less and a child’s natural need and right to have a whole family and natural expectation and wish that both the parents would love them and when they abandon them instead, it hurts like hell.
^Add to that:
- a hot temper such as Billy’s
- a disgraceful fact of that a slut tore his family apart
- and the evident predisposition to snap into a murderous state of mind
---> you get a kid who goes on a murderous rampage because of being abandoned by his parent.
No mama’s boyness there. COULD be, I admit, but really not necessarily is. And I’d like to think Kevin Williamson was more creative and in depth with the killers’ psychology than just meaning them as “mama’s boys”.
I'm not sure if I wish to include Mrs. Loomis as the reason for Billy's tendency to snap into murderous acts...It's fascinating and it adds and works darn well, but I kinda think it even more fascinating if the mother didn't have such issues and the son inherited his tendencies from somewhere else. But with or without Mrs. Loomis' psychotic tendencies, her son has always been one of my favourite movie characters of all time.
If the tendency wasn't from the parent but from some earlier branch of the family tree, it would've kinda highlighted the moral of how parents treat their children. ("Total abandonment can cause serious deviant behaviour.")
I love it how the tag lines, the trailer and in a way the movie itself makes it come off as if the movie supported the ridiculous idea that horror movies create psychopathic killers - but in the end Billy totally trashes that idea and points the finger at the parents
who in truth are the beginning and the end of what becomes of the next generation, their children. Heck, even Stu's character was made to highlight the parents: ("Did you really call the police?" "You bet your sorry ass I did." "My mom and dad are gonna be so mad at me..."
) The kid was dying
and he still worried about that! And Billy's dad was written to ask surprised "You went out last night?"
when his teenage son was being questioned as a murder suspect! Every adult who whines about horror movies creating psycho murderers and encouraging violence, should watch SCREAM. ;)
See also my article link