Fox’s comedy-horror series “Scream Queens”, since the shows premiere earlier this season, I haven’t seen such a polarized show in awhile. From the friends and colleagues I have talked to about TV, when “Scream Queens” came up the reaction of loving it or absolutely hating it. I can certainly see why this show is getting all of the hate from the public. The characters can be very harsh, and cruel, and most of the characters at the college are not the best people.
“Scream Queens” is set around a mystery plot surrounding a sorority. After the death of a Kappa sister caused by child birth, is covered up in the 90’s, a mysterious killer named the “Red Devil” appears on campus 20 years later, targeting the current members, and pledges of Kappa House. Now though the series is advertised as a television slasher, it doesn’t mean that it’s a straight up horror show like "American Horror Story", another Ryan Murphy show. From the ads, and promotion before the show, I was very convinced that it was going to take on more of a satire appeal then a genuine horror show like AHS. Personally I find this show as a mix between, “Scream”, and the cult-classic “Heathers”.
The obvious comparisons to “Scream” are that these characters are well-versed in pop culture, and throughout the show there have been slight remarks about other popular horror movies in the past. (Chanel’s fantastic Ouija remark) The Chanels, run by acid tongue Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts), who has several minions following her endlessly. Chanel Oberlin is Heather Chandler, while the other Chanels are the lesser known Heathers. (Chanel #5 is Heather Duke) The Heathers and Chanels both show off their entitlement, and belittle anyone that is less fortunate then them. A lot of the humor of this show comes from the bluntness that most of the Chanels give off during their scenes.
Now when looking at the actual horror of this series its pretty PG-13 for the most part. Besides the premiere, where Chanel accidently burnt Ms. Beans’ face off, and poor Deaf-Taylor Swift getting her head mowed off, the kills have been pretty basic. I did laugh to myself when Chanel #2 (Ariana Grande) had her little dance with the Red Devil, and died while tweeting about the killer killing her. Grande’s appearance can be compared to Drew Barrymore’s Casey Becker, both were heavily featured in the promotion only for the characters to have a quick demise at the hands of the killer.
Now when it comes to the ensemble cast of characters, the show did a great job at giving all of the characters, main, and minor their own personal quirks, and personalities. From candle loving pledge Jennifer, to death obsessed Hester aka Chanel #6 (Lea Michele) everyone had something that made them unique in someway or form. While the cast is very strong delivery the quick, witty, and sarcastic dialogue of the show, there are some obvious highlights when it comes to the cast.
Personally Roberts plays Chanel Oberlin brilliantly, it’s basically Madison Montgomery from AHS: Coven, but on steroids. Roberts plays this type of character perfectly, and she really takes over every scene Chanel is in. Glen Powell’s Chad Radwell is standout, as Chanel’s narcissistic boyfriend, who runs the campus fraternity the Dickie Dollars. Now these guys are the male counterparts to the Chanels. Chad is so obnoxious to the point where every scene he is in it’s almost a spectacle, but he’s so ridiculous that it’s funny watching his antics played throughout the season. That’s what makes this show so entertaining, that all of these characters are so ridiculous that they come off like cartoon characters.
Now let’s talk about Denise Hemphill, played by the fantastic Niecy Nash. Denise Hemphill is a security guard in charge of watching out for the ailing and partly doomed Kappa House. Nash owns this role, and steals every scene that she’s in. And honestly, if I didn’t see Denise get justice for the long-dead but not forgotten Shondell, then I would be very upset. The best thing about Denise, is that it was revealed that Nash does a lot of improve when performing on the show. I read that she came up with the #CAHOOTS line, which had me dying. Out of the remaining characters left, she’s one of several that I would be very upset if they were killed off. (Still not over the death of Misty Day, Mr. Murphy)
SOME DENISE HEMPHILL HIGHLIGHTS
This brings me to my favorite Chanel, while Roberts’ Chanel is the most prominent Chanel in the show since she’s the lead, there’s one other Chanel that has really shined, and shown a great presence. That is of course the enigmatic Chanel #3 played by Billie Lourd. Now at the beginning I was thinking that Chanel #3 and #5 weren’t going to have the character development that Chanel Oberlin had throughout the season. This assumption was completely false, as Chanel #3 got some good character development, and she went from being the apathetic Chanel minion, to being the apathetic yet somewhat sympathetic character. I would to characterize Ms. #3 as being the sassy rich cousin to April Ludgate of “Parks and Rec”.
Some other standouts are of course Ms. Jamie Lee Curtis, who is totally too epic as Dean Munsch, the ever suspicious candidate for the Red Devil killings. I mean come on Ryan Murphy got her to reimagine her mother’s iconic shower scene in “Psycho”. Keke Palmer, as Zayday Williams, who I felt was the only character throughout this whole season to keep a leveled head, while everything was going on. Skyler Samuels, Grace eventually grew on me, as by the finale her character arc kind of came full circle, and she almost went all Sydney Prescott by almost sleeping with a killer. (FYI the hats didn’t bug me that much) Everything in all, Scream Queens had a very solid main cast, which was one of the more exciting things about this show.
FINALE SPOILERS BE WARNED
Now while the show did hit some slow parts in the middle of the season, the ending few episodes were where the story started unfolding rapidly, and things started getting ridiculous in a good way. What I liked about the show, is that they kept the main cast intact throughout the season, only losing two regulars before the finale. Going into this finale, I did not expect who the second killer was at all, I mean people who watched the show throughout knew one of them was Nick Jonas’ Boone. But with the revelation of the second baby, we were in the dark about it. They steered us in different directions throughout the final act, I myself was dead-set it on either being Chanel #3 or #5.
But my assumption was wrong, as the most obvious choice that it was almost too obvious was actually the final Red Devil killer. It was Hester! (Lea Michele) Now while in the beginning it was just portrayed that Hester was just a little strange, but the finale did an excellent job on giving Hester the background, and why she had the motive to start the Red Devil plan. The two-hour finale was great, as it began with Pete confessing to being one of the killers, only to be killed by the final Red Devil, aka Hester.
The best thing about it was she got away with it. In the final episode, she was able to blame all of the Red Devil killings on the 3 remaining Chanels. This scene was too classic (The three were arrested by Hemphill’s stripper cops while Martika’s Toy Soldiers played) and Abigail Breslin was hysterical as the often unhinged Chanel #5. The ending scenes where the three Chanels are living in the asylum (got some Briarcliff flashbacks) was absolutely hilarious seeing how these three women were adjusting to the solitary life of the asylum, and seeing that they all were actually enjoying it.
The finale really closed out the season very well. Even though some of the characters weren’t in the best situations, all of the remaining characters seemed to get some sort of twisted happy ending. (The Denise Chad Waterfall Break-Up Scene was Classic) Even the three Chanels all got semi-happy endings finding happiness at the mental asylum. Since the show has been struggling with ratings, and the lukewarm reception, even if the show was too end after this season, the viewers weren’t given any sort of crazy cliffhanger. The final scene with the Red Devil, and Chanel could easily have been a dream (I Know What You Did Last Summer?), and she is perfectly fine the next season if she were too come back.
While this show has been polarizing in the public, I will say the shows witty, and deadpan humor was something that I really enjoyed, and would hope they could get another season with the cast, and even if all of the characters couldn’t come back (Denise Hemphill went to Quantico) hopefully Murphy will bring them back as a different character like AHS.