Horror shows come in all shapes and sizes: some terrify audiences; others providing laughs; and an occasional show may be a guilty pleasure. 2015’s Scream Queens is most definitely a guilty pleasure kind of show, yet with comedy and some scares. From the creator of American Horror Story, Ryan Murphy, the show is essentially Mean Girls meets Cluedo; it’s a modern whodunit with a lot of bitchy and sassy characters. What more could you want? Season one followed the pledges of Kappa Kappa Tau as the Red Devil Killer picked them off one by one, whilst season two was set in a creepy hospital haunted by the Green Meanie Killer. The show was originally branded an anthology, similar to AHS, though this idea was later scrapped and so most surviving characters returned for the second season.
In terms of casting, Scream Queens is particularly strong. Horror icon Jamie-Lee Curtis is the shows’ Jessica Lange of sorts, whilst the likes of Ariana Grande and Emma Roberts take on two of the sorority sisters. Throw in the likes of Taylor Lautner (season two), the late Carrie Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd, and Abigail Breslin, and you have yourselves a particularly fantastic ensemble.
The show itself is pretty naff and unbelievable. But it’s not meant to be good per se. It almost laughs at itself and the charm of the show is in the ridiculousness. One critic said that ‘maybe the trick […] is to not take it too seriously’ and that’s completely right. If you expect Oscar winning performances, polished plotlines and seriousness throughout then you’ll be severely disappointed. Wanting an injection of bitchy humour, outfits to die for and a teenage whodunit, then you’re in luck!
If there is one ultimate highlight of the show then it would be the infamous Chanels (Roberts, Lourd, Breslin and Grande). You may have seen a meme or a gif of them floating around on Tumblr, because somewhat surprisingly they’ve become semi-pop culture icons online. A modern, and bitchier, version of ‘the Plastics’, they’re the shows resident bitches but also comedians. They provide the sass and the laughs. Scream Queens provides a running commentary, through the Chanels, on popular culture and the lives of American youth, complimented by the thoughts of the older characters, which is something done particularly well. Murphy may have a harsh track record of representing sorority/cheerleader types (Quinn Fabray anyone?) but there is a lot of truth in the critiques he makes. And they’re funny critiques. The Chanels’ obsession with tweeting, Tinder usage and coffee-shop needs are endearingly truthful yet portrayed in very ridiculously amusing ways.
It’s a show with a tonne of horror connections, which makes for great viewing. Jamie-Lee Curtis, a horror legend in her own right thanks to the Halloween franchise amongst other roles, is also the daughter of Janet Leigh of Psycho fame. Curtis recreates her mother’s infamous shower scene during season one. It’s meta as hell...
At the time of writing this, Scream Queens has yet to be renewed for a third season. So far its 23 episodes of camp horror, sassy humour and an incredible cast list, so it’s definitely worth at least trying an episode or two. You never know, you may end up scrolling through Etsy for Chanel merchandise. I was looking for a friend, obviously.