Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Thoughts on Scream Queens S1.E1. - Time to Mow the Lawn and Fry the Help

I'm not partial to most modern network TV Horror. It's put me in a bit of lurch. Sure I watch The Walking Dead. I watched American Horror Story for a couple of seasons until I just couldn't do it anymore, and I try to give them all at least a modicum of a shot. My most recent effort in giving a new Horror program a shot... the new Scream show on MTV... what a load in my shorts. I dare say that's someone else's load in MY shorts.  Or maybe it was Fear the Walking Dead which has yet to earn my trust. I'm going to continue watching until the end of the season, but it truly hasn't won me over. That brings us to Scream Queens which premiered on FOX this evening and will screen every Tuesday.

I just want to dish a few quick thoughts for you. I enjoyed the premiere episode. I will watch next week and aside from a few slip ups, it has everything I really enjoy in a piece of Horror, TV or movie. I like to think that inaugural episodes are the meet and greet. The first episode is getting to know you. Getting to know the cast and maybe even a first date. It's usually the first season of any show really. Get to know the show. Decide if you want to go steady. Scream Queens may not need that much time. We have gone to full blow tongue kiss.

It's a fast-paced kill by number program with plenty of blood, gruesome effects (a deep fryer kill in the first episode!) and plenty of cheeky humor. Sexual humor. Horror humor. Plenty of jokes surrounding sexuality and Bourgeoisie humor. Frat/Sorority Humor. The main thing to remember is that this show is a comedy show with Horror elements that drive it. It's primary focused on making you laugh, occasionally trying to gross you out and every so often going for the scare or jump scare. It's not haunting. It's not a dark, atmospheric ghost story. This is a fun, slasher-esque, Scream-ish piece of modern Horror focused on a big audience. Traditional Horror people... you're gonna probably hate it. It's very modern.

It's equal parts American Pie, American Horror Story (when it was good), nods to Scream, classic Slasher, neo Slasher with homages to a few of our favorite Horror pictures. Some of the casting is questionable and that may be its ultimate undoing. There's a few actresses that just both me, but it's not because of their roles in this particular series. It's just them... in general. What makes up for this is my love for Emma Roberts who gives a high energy performance that is filled with snarky humor and brutal sarcasm. Roberts was great in Scream 4. Roberts was great in American Horror Story Season 3 (and one of the only reasons I kept watching that season). Then of course there's our beloved Jamie Lee. Jamie Lee the true Scream Queen. Jamie Lee whose performance is on point with a sinister edge and solid comedic timing. This is what you loved about her in True Lies. This is what you loved about her in H20. There are quite a few faces I simply do not know, but Emma Roberts' love interest in the show... funny as Hell! I love this character.

I love that they interlaced plenty of classic 80's tracks that add nostalgic or comedic value to scenes that could be otherwise quite ordinary. The original score for the series is top notch with synth elements playing off some 80's Horror stings. It's not a true parody or imitation but very much in keeping with the popular style of neo-retro-synth musicians. It's not my favorite score of the year, but they're definitely doing something right here. I'd buy it if it gets a physical media release.

I hope you enjoy the killer as much as I do. What a fantastic costume! There's something perfect about a simple, adult take on the a child's red devil costume that is perfectly frightening. The killer even does the Michael Myers head nod!

Check out the commercial now:

and here's the link to the Fox page:

I'll be tuning in to Episode 2. We'll see if it warrants a write up, but so far I'm feeling pretty damn good. We can only hope for a Halloween episode that gives us something to rewatch every season. Great job so far Scream Queens. See you next Tuesday (and no, that is not a cheap anagram insult).

From Fox:

The girls of Kappa House are dying for new pledges. SCREAM QUEENS is a new killer comedy-horror series from award-winning executive producers Ryan Murphy (“Glee,” “American Horror Story”), Brad Falchuk (“Glee,” “American Horror Story”) and Ian Brennan (“Glee”).

Kappa House, the most sought-after sorority for pledges, is ruled with an iron fist (in a pink glove) by CHANEL OBERLIN (Emma Roberts, “American Horror Story: Freak Show,” “Scream 4”). But when anti-Kappa DEAN CATHY MUNSCH (Jamie Lee Curtis, “Halloween,” “A Fish Called Wanda,” “True Lies”) decrees that sorority pledging must be open to all students, and not just the school’s silver-spooned elite, all hell is about to break loose, as a devil-clad killer begins wreaking havoc across the campus.

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