The term “Scream Queen” I believe was invented to describe Jamie Lee Curtis for her roles in the Halloween horror movies. It refers to the female protagonists in any teen slasher movie whether it was Jason, Freddie, or even the Scream masked killer from the Scream movies. One of the problems with the teen slasher genre is that the various spoofs and parodies are nearly identical to the films that supposedly take themselves seriously. They’ve all become self parodies. However for the new Fox TV series named “Scream Queens” this one is definitely in over-the-top comedy spoof of the genre. And if you’re going to call the show “Scream Queens” why not get the queen queen of them all Jamie Lee Curtis herself. Being a little bit too old to play a teen protagonist, she is now cast as the Dean Cathy Munch of the University where the story takes place. Munch of course is a reference to Norwegian artist Edvard Munch who created the painting “The Scream” upon which was based the scream mask from the scream movies.
The Scream Queen teen protagonist this time is Chanel Oberlin played by Emma Roberts daughter of actor Eric Roberts. Her credits include a couple of seasons on American Horror Story and a role in Scream 4. Her character is actually queen bitch character who is the head of an uppity sorority. Other familiar faces in this ensemble cast include Lea Michele fresh off her role on Glee. Also Abigail Breslin all grown up from her singing and dancing days in Little Miss Sunshine. You might also recognize Nasim Pedrad from SNL and from her recent role in the sitcom Mulaney. Finally we have former Jonas Brother Nick Jonas (he still their brother, just not in the band).
The serial killer is someone dressed in a red devil’s suit and of course the killings are bizarre and grotesque. A girl gets a spray tan with hydrochloric acid substituted for tanning liquid. A woman gets her face burned off in a deep fryer. Another girl gets her head cut off by a riding lawnmower. And that’s just in the first two hours. According to Roberts on a recent talkshow parents we will get another killing each week.
The humor is over the top as I said before. Chanel terms every kind of racist, homophobic, non-politically correct rant at everyone she encounters. Some of her barbs are so cleverly written you can’t help but appreciate the effort that went into crafting them no matter how offensive they are.
My guess is that this will be a must see for fans of the genre and I enjoyed the 90 minutes worth of the two-hour premiere that I managed to sit through. However I’m just not that big of a fan. One thing that was particularly disappointing to me was the IMDb “trivia” entry which says that the director is filming multiple versions of scenes with people in the devil costume so that the actors themselves don’t really know who the killer really is. That tells me one of several possible bad things. For one the writers themselves may have not yet decided who the killer is. Or they don’t trust the actors to keep their mouths shut. Or they don’t trust the actors to portray the killer in a way that doesn’t give away the identity. I don’t mind that they want to make it a spoof that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it would be nice if there really was an actual ministry at the core of the story that the viewer could spend time trying to figure out. I’m not sure you can do that if the actual actor playing the killer doesn’t even know that they are the one.
I’m giving this one a “could be watchable” rating if you are a fan of the genre but I’m probably going to pass on it.
By the way just for the record I think Jamie Lee Curtis is the killer.