I wasn't sure what to expect when I watched the first episode of FOX's new series "Scream Queens." The term scream queen grew out of popular culture. It signifies an actress who has become known for starring in horror films.
I'm a true horror fanatic, but I'm not a big fan of horror spoofs like the "Scary Movie" franchise.
So I was cautiously curious.
However, the laughs did come hand in hand with some chilling moments. It's the typical serial killer on campus gonna kill all the society sluts storyline, but the I.Q. of the writers for the horror film genre must be high (they recreated the pumpkin patch from "The Shining" for god's sake), which serves to elevate the material.
I found myself laughing out-loud on several occasions, while also getting my horror fix (like in the "Haunted House" episode). The set design was creepy and well done. In the second, and unfortunately most lackluster episode of the show to date, the frat-boys taking on the Red Devils (yes, there are two of them) to the tune of Backstreet Boys' "Everybody" was pretty funny in a totally ridiculous way. The gore factor helped (one of the frat rats gets his arms chain-sawed off... oh yeah).
Standout characters are Emma Roberts as Chanel Oberlin, a Kappa Kappa Tau sorority goddess with issues, Keke Palmer as Zayday, freshmen pledge ready to set the world on fire and Glen Powell as Chad aka frat-boy douchebag. And of course you have to love the first lady of horror Jamie lee Curtis' turn as the evil Dean Munsh, whose mission is to crush Kappa Kappa Tau (shades of Dean Wormer in the grand daddy of all college slob movies "Animal House"). However, Curtis will forever live in my heart as that innocent, introverted teen Laurie Strode in John Carpenter's enduring masterpiece "HALLOWEEN."
Being a product of the Eighties generation, I truly love the soundtrack (and maybe that adds to my heightened affinity for the show), which includes Modern English, Culture Club, Kim Wilde, Belinda Carisle, The Pointer Sisters, Wham, Thompson Twins, Bon Jovi and Billy Idol so far.
I'm curious to see if the schtick gets old or has legs (as they say here in LaLa Land). If they continue to serve up nods to the horror movie world for fans of scary cinema like myself, maybe this series could go on and on and on... like Jason Voorhees, never dying, returning from the dead for sequel after bloody sequel. Kill kill kill kill, chu chu chu chu...
Review by screenwriter Carlton Kenneth Holder, author of "THE BLACK ALBUM: A HOLLYWOOD HORROR STORY," inspired by true events.