First Impressions

Scream Queens

Aired on: FOX

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

                When I first heard talk of Scream Queens, I thought, "Oh, how silly."  I just couldn't get behind the storyline of a horror tale taking place on a college campus.  For some reason, I just didn't think this would work on television.  Then I saw the cast, featuring stars like the original "Scream Queen" Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts, Abigail Breslin, Lea Michele and more.  "Hmm," I wondered.  Since October is horror month at, I decided I would check out the premiere episode of Scream Queens.  What's the worst that could happen?

                Scream Queens opens with a flashback to 1995 - a party at the Kappa Kappa Tau sorority house.  In the midst of the party, one of the Kappa sisters gives birth to a baby in a bathtub.  When the other sisters find out, they are horrified, but nothing can drag them away from the party - after all, TLC's Waterfalls is playing and that's their jam!  So, while the party continues, their sister bleeds out in the bathtub and dies.

                Flash forward to 2015 and we meet Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts), the narcissistic president of the Kappa Kappa Tau house.  Her underlings are not quite carbon copies, but lack their own identity, going by the names Chanel #2 (Ariana Grande), Chanel #3 (Billie Lourd) and Chanel #5 (Abigail Breslin).  Chanel #4, as we learn, is no longer a member, having died of meningitis some time ago.  Chanel and the Dean of Wallace University (Jamie Lee Curtis) are at odds, the dean believing that Chanel and her minions need to be taken down a notch. 

                Dean Munsch and Sorority Chief Gigi Caldwell (Nasim Pedrad) devise a plan that will bring the Kappa Kappa Tau sorority into the 21st Century, also ensuring that the house doesn't become a home for mindless clones of its president.  They decide to make the pledging of sorority sisters at Kappa Kappa Tau an event open for all who want to join.  That's good news for Grace Gardner (Skyler Samuels), who wants to be a member of the house.  Her mother, who died when she was two, was a member and Grace wants to follow in her footsteps.

                But Grace soon learns that there is evil amongst the sisterhood at Kappa Kappa Tau.  A murderer is on the loose.  Dressed in a red devil costume, the murderer stalks the various members of the house, killing them at random, and using various uniquely gruesome techniques.  Determined to uncover the secrets of Kappa Kappa Tau, Grace works with coffee barista and campus paper investigative reporter Pete Martinez (Diego Boneta) to dig deep into the sorority's history.  The deeper they dig, the more dangerous things become and once the secrets are uncovered, what effect will they have on their once eager pledge?

                The premiere episode of Scream Queens aired as a two hour special event on Tuesday, September 22, 2015 and I loved every minute of the two hours.  Think Mean Girls meets Scream meets Legally Blonde meets Scary Movie, Clueless and Heathers.  This is a comedic horror series that may not have a long shelf life, but will certainly be incredibly amusing up until the end.  The show parodies horror flicks, as well as life.  My favorite scene is one in which one of the Chanel's is about to be taken out.  The killer, standing in front of her in a Red Devil costume texts her of his intentions.  She texts back, begging him not to.  They go back and forth with this until he attacks.  Standing there with a phone in her hands, instead of calling 911, she runs to her laptop and posts that she is being attacked on social media, begging for help.  Although I was hysterically laughing watching this, the scene was also a statement on how important texting and social media have become - that we have stopped thinking rationally about situations, that we are addicted to social media and texting and more.

                The soundtrack of Scream Queens is incredible adding to the storyline by featuring relevant hit songs from the 90s (bringing you back to the when this all started) and some songs from today to bring you back to the present.  If the powers that be ever decide to sell a Scream Queens soundtrack, I'll be first on line at the store to buy one.

                As for the acting - look at this cast!  There are some great actors here with terrific comedic timing.  And the fact that Jamie Lee Curtis is in a major role in a horror film and not running, screaming bloody murder is an ironic twist.  I love the fact that this is all a mystery to the viewers.  Sure, there are bits and pieces of clues here and there...seemingly insignificant statements made by characters actually have some bearing on what will be revealed.  For instance, ages of certain characters may exclude them from the suspect list.  And Gigi's talk of dramatic events from the past possibly causing her to suffer PTSD lead me to believe that she was the young lady holding the Kappa sister's baby that fateful day in 1995.

                But who is the killer?  Here's something else I love - the fact that even the cast has no idea.  Interviews show that even the main cast is talking about it amongst themselves trying to figure it all out.  I suppose I will have to turn in every week to get more hints and clues.  Well, no hardship for me - I loved Scream Queens and can't wait to see the next episode.


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