In Defence Of & In Love With SCREAM 4

Scream 4. 2011. Directed by Wes Craven. Screenplay by Kevin Williamson.
Starring Neve Campbell, Alison Brie, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Hayden Panettiere, Emma Roberts, Marielle Jaffe, Marley Shelton, Erik Knudsen, Rory Culkin, Nico Tortorella, Anthony Anderson, Mary McDonnell, & Adam Brody.
Dimension Films/Corvus Corax Productions/Outerbanks Entertainment
Rated R. 111 minutes.
Horror/Mystery

★★★★
poster-scream-4When a franchise stretches out over a few decades, often times fans – horror fans in particular – can get fickle over what they want to see. And I don’t blame them. If you’re a huge fan of a series then it’s understandable to be guarded over the original film(s), to feel like even the original director-writer team might not be capable of matching what they did so long ago.
All those ideas go out the window with Scream 4. Sure, it’s 15 years later, and the generation of young people involved has changed significantly. There’s new technology, new rules to the slasher horror game. At the core, this both pays tribute to the original in huge ways, as well as forges its own path as a worthy sequel.
Craven and Williamson don’t get every little thing right. But they worked hard to give this the same creepiness and excitement as the first Scream, providing brand new characters in the landscape of Woodsboro and never forgetting the tried true originals of the franchise. Old meets new in the best, most genuine kind of way.
Scream-4-movie-imageThere’s always a stellar opening, even in the previous, lesser instalment. Craven and Williamson do not slouch here, either. One girl complains of no character development before characters die in Saw, when in fact we watch the young women in this opener die without any development whatsoever, similar to Drew Barrymore’s character in the original Scream. Williamson’s self-referential, tongue-in-cheek writing once more, as we cut to two other women watching Stab 6. They talk about the conventions and tropes of horror, so on, and then we again cut to two more girls watching Stab 7, further questioning the genre’s trappings. You almost, for a second, believe it’ll keep going, and going, one girl stabbed after the next. Great way for Craven and Williamson to poke fun at themselves, too.
One thing I dug about the last film was that composer Marco Beltrami used new pieces in the score, alongside some familiar ones, as well. The new compositions are fresh and interesting, they make the score feel new, yet at the same time we get those old sounds. With a new sequel 11 years since the previous entry in the series, Beltrami picked up where he left off while offering depth to his Scream repertoire.
Some gnarly kills worth seeing. One of the opening girls has her throat slit, and it is downright savage. When Perkins (Anderson) is stabbed in the head some find it funny, because of the “Fuck Bruce Willis” line. And yeah, it’s funny. Nasty all the same.
SPOILER ALERT: Charlie’s death is a disturbing one, very brutal. And when Jill does her best Tyler Durden I always find it pretty sickening, though fascinating; she thrashes the life out of herself, as the dying bodies of friends and family lay bleeding around her.
scream-4-2Part of what makes the screenplay work so well is the contempt of remakes, or at least the many awful remakes out there. In a fourth film, that’s sort of confident. This is not a remake, obviously, of the original, just a continuation of the story concerning Sidney Prescott (Campbell). But still, much of what they satirise in terms of remakes – mainly through snappy dialogue from Charlie (Culkin), Kirby (Panettiere), Robbie (Knudsen) – could be aimed at sequels, and definitely at sequels a little ways down the line.
Regardless, Williamson forges on with what made the first two films really impressive, that self-deprecating, self-referential style. It’s not all satire, though. We go back to the original by way of some Ghostface killing. Such as when Kirby watches Charlie from behind a glass door as he’s tied to a chair, just as Drew Barrymore’s character watched her boyfriend in Scream. Poor Kirby’s even subjected to another scary movie game. In other films this could feel cheese-filled to the brim. In the hands of Craven and Williamson, the scene comes off genuinely tense and, ultimately, horrific.
The biggest thing I love, story-wise, is that the Maureen Prescott’s been buried; pardon the pun. There’s no stretch, as in Scream 3 at times, to try attaching her character to the motive of the killers. Rather this story puts Sidney in the spotlight, even her family, cousin Jill (Roberts) and aunt Kate (McDonnell) get dragged into the terror. Whereas Sidney’s always been the main character, technically in that spotlight, the focus of the series in terms of why the murders were happening was Maureen. This entry in the series shifts focus wholly onto Sidney, which is, for her, unfortunately tragic.
scream-4-3Effectively, Williamson’s screenplay gets back to the interesting motives of the first two films. The motives have evolved, as have the killers. Here, the killers speak to the modern murder explanation of how the lust for fame can drive unstable people to untold, utterly insane lengths. Media begets the sick mind, in that a quest for fame can become out of control when celebrity is literally but a stab away. More relevant as of my writing in 2017 than even when it came out in 2011.
Scream 4 is a whole lot of fun, and holds its share of gruesomeness. Sidney has become like her mother in a way, as once Maureen loomed over Sidney and Woodsboro, but now her daughter looms over everyone. The terror she experienced at the hands of the various Ghostface killers encompassed a further generation of her family, creating all new dynamics, and in turn a new set of killers.
The callbacks to Scream are done so well, switching up situations and characters, self-parodying and being critical of sequels and remakes even when Craven himself has produced remakes. It’s just an example of why the first movie worked, why the second was also a powerhouse. Testament to the wonderful teamwork of Craven and Williamson. The willingness of this slasher franchise to be simultaneously satirical and also deadly serious from one moment to the next is a big part of why the movies have succeeded. A huge part of why I’ll always love them, and why Craven was a master.

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THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER: Step Into a Place of Madness

The Blackcoat’s Daughter. 2016. Directed & Written by Oz Perkins.
Starring Emma Roberts, Lucy Boynton, Kiernan Shipka, Lauren Holly, James Remar, Peter J. Gray, Emma Holzer, Jodi Larratt, & Douglas Kidd.
Paris Film/Travelling Picture Show Company/Unbroken Pictures.
Rated R. 93 minutes.
Horror/Thriller

★★★★1/2
screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-12-14-52-amBetween this and I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, director-writer Oz Perkins (son of the great Anthony Perkins) has had a couple great years. He’s proving to be a master of the slow burn. Some might not be keen on that type of horror. Myself, and plenty others, find it fascinating; when done correctly.
The Blackcoat’s Daughter (also renamed as February throughout its drawn out release) is a compelling, almost hypnotic fever dream. I wouldn’t necessarily say that it hinges on a big twist, a grand reveal. However, Perkins does tell his story through a curious lens, one that kept me thrilled to the last beat. Part of the way through the pieces start coming together and when they do the climax hits like kick in the teeth, bringing us towards a tragic and violent end.
Not everyone will find the film their cup of tea; no film’s going to touch on everything, it’s impossible. If you’re a fan of those slow burn horror efforts, Perkins offers nothing but the best. The central performances, specifically Emma Roberts and Kiernan Shipka, are totally engaging, and honestly if you can’t give them that then you’re not being honest. Above all, the style of the film, its gradually revealed plot, the score, they’ll haul you into this world and haunt you, too.
screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-12-12-44-amThe film moves in what feels like an erratic fashion, jumping between the three main young women in the story – Joan (Roberts), Rose (Boynton), and Kat (Shipka). For a little while I actually felt the screenplay wasn’t coming out smooth, then after several scenes things came together and made clear the story was non-linear. Once you settle into the plot and its progression, the film gets even more interesting; the vagary of its elements become clearer and clearer.
What I dig most is the sparse dialogue and the sense of subtlety throughout. It’s a quiet film until the madness of the last half hour. Even then it’s gentle, in a way. A genuinely unsettling atmosphere is provided through gorgeously captured, dark cinematography making the boarding school particularly, the main location of the film, feel ominous at every turn. Kudos to cinematographer Julie Kirkwood, who also worked on Perkins’ I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House and also on Bryan Bertino’s spectacular little flick The Monster last year.
Something which gives presence to the eerie darkness of the film is also the score. Beautifully strange music. Certain parts sound like a theremin, off playing in the distance somewhere. Other times an echoing, grating sound of strings, and so much more. The score altogether, every piece, fits where it sits. Just great stuff that takes the sombre mood and tone of the film to another level.
screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-12-53-19-amPerkins could’ve told this story through a straightforward presentation of scenes, moving through all the expected moves one anticipates in a film such as this one. Again, I don’t necessarily feel that the ‘reveal’ of the plot is a twist, or that it’s meant as a huge surprise. But the slow burn leading up to it makes that revelation exciting, in a darkly enticing manner. Perkins writes well without exposition, telling his story through imagery, which in turn makes the whole thing more captivating as we move through its murky mysteries.
He does a fine bit of work as director. The quick shots of a strangulation. Then a gunshot in the darkness. A view of Joan’s bullet scar. Blood on a door frame. Kat sees Rose in the corner, as an evil entity rises up nearby. All these things are so finite, brief, all vague and unnerving respectively. Specifically I love when we’re introduced to Joan. As we figure her out, the flashes of her memory are pure storytelling without the need for words.
And this is, once more, part of why the revealing moments of the story hold their weight. Because even if you’re not actually surprised by the – for lack of a better word at this point – twist, at this point there’s an anticipation built up that has you expecting something fierce. Does Perkins ever deliver. Tension snaps, then art and nastiness collide. Believe it or not, Perkins opts to show very little in comparison to what he could have shown for the sake of gruesome horror. The relatively tame nature of the final 20-25 minutes is what makes it such a gruelling experience. Then all those cryptic memories of Joan, her odd giggle in the bathroom, the scar, Kat and Rose’s situation at the boarding school, everything tangles up into a vicious burst of blood and terror.

This is absolutely one of the best horrors I saw from 2016. Perkins is a talented director and storyteller, his writing is the sort which draws me in, keeping me glued. Not everyone likes that slow burn aesthetic. I do. The Blackcoat’s Daughter is expertly written, and through that comes its gorgeous, devilish imagery to tell the story on its own. There’s no substitute for great artistry, Perkins has it in spades.
You can’t talk about this movie without mentioning the massive talents of Roberts and Shipka. They’re both utterly fabulous, gliding through the material with what looks of ease. They make their characters feel real, which isn’t only necessary it is wholly disturbing. The story comes down hard on the audience not only because of the writing, but because these two young women make Joan and Kat come off the page with terrifying results.
I keep telling people about this one because it deserves to be seen, it deserves to be studied in terms of its visuals and learned from for those who write and want to tell a story without only resorting to dialogue; this aspect I love and can’t stress enough. So many people want this type of horror, then when they get it they don’t know what to do with it. Not saying everybody has to love it. Just try and let the images and the flow of the film take over, listen to the sparsely placed words carefully. I hope that maybe you’ll get even a fraction of the same enjoyment I did, and will continue to as I watch it over and over again, relishing in its horrific glory.

Scream Queens – Season 2, Episode 10: “Drain the Swamp”

FOX’s Scream Queens
Season 2, Episode 10: “Drain the Swamp”
Directed by Ian Brennan
Written by Brad Falchuk & Ian Brennan

* For a review of the penultimate Season 2 episode, “Lovin the D” – click here
screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-2-35-45-pmChanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts) is confronted by the Green Meanie again. She’s trapped in one of the hospital’s dark hallways, as the killer has a baseball throwing machine aimed right at, running full speed. Chanel ducks and dodges, until one of the newest Chanels takes a ball right in the head. Luckily, she’s not dead. Chanel #1 gets away, and we see it’s Ingrid Hoffel (Kirstie Alley) behind the mask.
At the same time Chanel #3 (Billie Lourd) is sneaked up on by the remaining Green Meanie, Cassidy Cascade (Taylor Lautner). But he doesn’t kill his love. They both want to try and convince his mother Jane (Trilby Glover) otherwise. So #3 runs off for a “whores bath” so they can bang, and Cascade threatens Hoffel: leave his girl out of it, or face his wrath. Things between the Meanies aren’t looking good. Uh oh.
screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-2-42-16-pmDr. Brock Holt (John Stamos) apologises for the hand’s actions, nearly strangling her to death, although Chanel doesn’t think much of it, other than it’s progress in their relationship. Yikes. Meanwhile, Hester (Lea Michele) is still kicking around. She’s scheming over Cathy Munsch’s (Jamie Lee Curtis) fortune, who is on the verge of dying. Hester wants Brock to help her steal all her money, then they’ll run off together: “Just two murderers with no one to murder except for each other, but we never will because we love and trust each other.” What could go wrong, right?
Out in the garden, Ingrid gets some nasty ideas when one of the new Chanels is fertilising the tomato garden. Explosive substances. Green Meanie. Murderous impulse. You know what’s coming.
Also, Chanel mixes up the fact Brock is looking at engagement rings for a pending marriage proposal. Only when Dr. Holt calls everyone to Cathy’s room, where she’s lying waiting for death to come, he proposes to the former Ms. Munsch, soon to be the new Mrs. Holt. But he works on Chanel behind the scenes, too. He strings her along.
Cassidy and #3 talk with his mother Jane. He tells her that the “killing and revenge stuff” is all her thing. However, mom isn’t so willing to let all that go. She doesn’t want it to stop until the job is done.
So the wedding of Brock and Cathy goes ahead, right there at the CURE Institute. They’re now officially husband and wife. Then as they snuggle later, Chanel #5 (Abigail Breslin) comes in with information saying that maybe Munsch isn’t dying. She wants to get a sample of her brain, to test for sure. And though Brock isn’t thrilled, Cathy wants more time to be with her new husband.

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-2-53-16-pmDownstairs, Denise Hemphill (Niecy Nash) is still in cryogenic storage. And Ingrid is down snooping around. She gets a call from Jane, who has her own secrets with Zayday (Keke Palmer) trapped in her cellar. “Now its just you and me,” she says. But Ingrid’s more interested in her latest plan to kill the Chanels.
Things at the hospital are getting tense with Hester wanting Brock to kill Cathy. She doesn’t want to go back to prison where she has to “draw porn” so she can masturbate. Not to mention Chanel can’t deal with Brock and Munsch together, no matter what fairy tale he spun for her earlier. Later, the biopsy goes ahead. Cathy sings “Smoke on the Water” while Chanel plots on throwing her pumpkin spice latte into Cathy’s open skull, which doesn’t work as planned.
Now the verdict: no evidence of the nasty disease, but it’s inconclusive. And she’s still going to die. Maybe. Could even be extreme dehydration. Silly, no? “I only drink scotch, or vodka,” Cathy gasps in a hilarious moment of revelation. She even rinses out her toothpaste mouth with scotch. She goes on to find out the brain eating wasn’t human brain; it was lamb. She’s not going to die!
Everybody heads to the basement for a celebration, champagne included. But it’s all a trick by Ingrid. She traps them in a cage downstairs. She reveals to them all her identity, sister of Agatha Bean who was accidentally burned alive in the deep fryer during Season 1. Out of nowhere Zayday arrives, alongside Jane who doesn’t want to keep on killing after seeing the CURE Institute’s good work. Only Ingrid guns her down, and they’re all left in no better position than before. She further reveals a huge fertiliser bomb, leaving them to die. Afterwards, Denise is alive! And she’s hilariously missed a few things while in her cryogenic coma. Waiting for Denise to defuse the bomb, #5 finally admits she does have teeth in her vagina: “I didnt want to die a liar.”

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-3-06-53-pmUpstairs the crew chase down Ingrid. They head out back into the swamp. There, Cascade takes a machete right in his torso trying to save #3. In the forest Ingrid runs through a patch of muddy ground which slowly sucks her into the earth. Nobody helps. Until Munsch suddenly feels her conscience tug. She tries to save the woman, but the mud suffocates her and sucks her to the bottom.
Everything is over, and the Chanels have made it through alive. A little worse for wear. You know them, though. They’re bouncing back. #5 is doing her thing at the hospital; she and Zayday are essentially running the place. Munsch hit a rough patch when she finds out someone cleaned out her bank accounts – Hester, of course, who took off with Dr. Holt to an exotic beach on Blood Island. Where they play The Most Dangerous Game. Munsch went on to become a sex expert, like you didn’t see that coming after all her friskiness.
And Chanel, she went on to become a TV doctor with #3 as her executive producer on Lovin the C. So it looks like things have progressed for them after being hunted by the Red Devil killer, the Green Meanie(s). Things are back on track in their lives.
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Or are they?
One night as Chanel leaves the television studio, she finds a small broach in her car inscribed KKT. Who’s that in the backseat? It’s the Red Devil.


Wow, loved this episode, and loved that final scene! Didn’t expect it, honestly. Works great and maybe gives us something to expect for Season 3, which hopefully is on the radar for FOX. What did you all think about Season 2? I thought Season 1 was spectacular, and I’ve felt that Season 2 got even funnier, weirder, and wilder. Overall, a solid season.
Let me know your thoughts, and if you want another season with the Chanels, Cathy Munsch, and that sneaky Red Devil.

Scream Queens – Season 2, Episode 9: “Lovin the D”

FOX’s Scream Queens
Season 2, Episode 9: “Lovin the D”
Directed by Maggie Kiley
Written by Ian Brennan

* For a review of the previous episode, “Rapunzel, Rapunzel” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Drain the Swamp” – click here
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Chanels #3 (Billie Lourd) and #5 (Abigail Breslin) are working night shift, as is #1 (Emma Roberts). They come across a doll wearing a KKT sweatshirt, full of knives. And a bed full of swampy foliage. So obviously there’s one dressed up by Dr. Cassidy Cascade (Taylor Lautner), and the other by Wes Gardner (Oliver Hudson).
Then the Green Meanies appear. You can bet Ingrid (Kirstie Alley) is under one of those masks, too. #3 gets saved, obviously by her Green Meanie boyfriend Dr. Cascade. When the three Meanies argue over flubbing their murders, Hester (Lea Michele) arrives to call them all together. A bit of a serial killer murder orgy poised to happen.
I dont wanna die in this outfit!”


But life goes on, of course. Cathy Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) tries to keep things on the level, as Dr. Arthur Annenburg (Ajay Mehta) is poking around with the recent disappearance of their man from the journal. Now the Chanels and their credentials will possibly be exposed. Or can Cathy keep it under wraps? She wants the trio to actually take the MCATs.
Meanwhile, Dr. Scarlett Lovin (Brooke Shields) – star of the show Lovin the D – is at the CURE Institute. She wants Dr. Brock Holt, along with assistance from the Chanels, to perform a live surgery on her show to remove a “sixteenpound tumour” from a young man’s face. Yikes, that’s wild. When Brock drops the bomb that the girls aren’t even medical students, things start going sideways. Except this is the charge the Chanels need to take the MCATs. To be on Lovin the D.
Hester holds a “Green Meanie Summit” so that “no ones feelings get hurt” and everyone gets to kill who they want. Oh yeah, just in case you forgot, Wes is Hester’s father. The four of them sit down and claim all their murders in a game show-type segment. Hilariously written and edited. Afterwards they move on deciding who’ll kill all the Chanels. It comes down to a mutiny when Wes isn’t granted the chance to kill #1, but you can bet he’s not letting that slide. Not to mention, Cascade doesn’t want #3 to die, or will he give in?

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Chanel’s got to focus and try to pass the MCAT. If she doesn’t, no Dr. Lovin, no television appearance. Pretty much left up to Brock because she’s not concerned with learning. Then, out of nowhere, he chokes her. With both hands. Seems like there isn’t only remnants of the murderous hand. Maybe something worse is going on inside Dr. Holt. And poor little Chanel, she has Green Meanies all around her and doesn’t even know it. Plus, Brock’s still trying to strangle her.
With murder on his mind Brock goes to talk with the only person he knows who can relate: Hester. “I still really wanna kill her. More than ever, to tell you the truth,” he explains. She tries encouraging him mostly. “You Dr. Brock Holt, are a killer.” Then they hook up over a dead body.
One Green Meanie kill on a newer Chanel is accomplished. Hung by the neck. #5 does her best to cover things up while Munsch keeps the visiting Dr. Annenburg busy. Wes is the one who made the kill, though he isn’t happy. He goes to Dr. Cascade and makes a case for an alliance against Hoffel, who may or may not have a plan to pin all the murders on them after it’s all said and done. Hmm.

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Poor Zayday (Keke Palmer). She’s stuck down in a well-like structure, trapped by Jane (Trilby Glover). Although she starts figuring out that Dr. Cascade is the baby in the belly from 1985. Then Cassidy turns up with his ladyfriend #3, which doesn’t please Jane, nor does she have any time for some chick who’s “waxing” her “sons knob.” So mom pits him against her and #3. He chooses mother. Now it looks like #3 must die after all.
MCATs have to be done TONIGHT. The Chanels must complete the exam, and pass, as Dr. Phil and others are trying to beat Dr. Lovin to the punch doing live surgeries. So the girls are thrust into writing the exam.
Will they pass? Yes, indeed. Turns out #5 did the best, only 3 points from a perfect score. Shiiiiiet, ladies! But what actually happened is #1 and #3 had earpieces in to Drs. Cascade and Holt. Not #5, although nobody’s super thrilled. Poor thing: “Im a genius and no one cares.” Funny and sad all at once.
With Lovin the D ready to go live, Wes has left a drugged up coffee for #1. Only Dr. Lovin winds up with an all too similar cup. Are they about to mix up their drinks? Could get interesting. Oh, yes. The host takes a drink then foams at the mouth, writhing on the floor. Dead. The show goes ahead anyways. #1 steps up and takes the lead as host while Dr. Holt goes to work on the tumour until the job is done and done well. After the show, the Chanels are offered a show of their own to replace Dr. Lovin.
#3: “Whoa. Thats a lot of tumour. Right, America?”
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Ingrid’s pissed that Wes tried killing Chanel, breaking their supposed pact. Things don’t look good for Wes, as the other two back him towards all that boiling oil Ingrid has cooking. He voluntarily drops in, his last word being “playlist” (remember from Season 1?). Fucking killed me, too funny. The other Green Meanies have themselves a bit of cover when Munsch and Dr. Annenburg stumble across a deep fried Wes. The story goes that Wes was the Green Meanie, back to try killing the Chanels. And in other news, Munsch reveals to the others she’ll be dead in a month.
The Green Meanie is dead… long live the Green Meanie!


This was a solid episode. I love the ones that really walk that line of absolute hilarity and nastiness at once, which is the case in many but a few of them are so perfectly balanced that it works incredibly well. Next episode, the finale, is titled “Drain the Swamp” and I’m hoping Ryan Murphy & Co. take a few shots at the Orange Goblin like they did in an earlier episode.

Scream Queens – Season 2, Episode 8: “Rapunzel, Rapunzel”

FOX’s Scream Queens
Season 2, Episode 8: “Rapunzel, Rapunzel”
Directed by Jamie Lee Curtis
Written by Brad Falchuk

* For a review of the previous episode, “The Hand” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Lovin the D”- click here
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Well, well, well – look who showed up again! It’s Wes Gardner (Oliver Hudson) from Season 1. He’s not well. So he came to see ole Cathy Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis), his old bang buddy at the CURE Institute. He has a big tumour. But we find out more about what happened after the Red Devil murders. They ran away together. He grew a beard and made microbrew. Wrote a book about quarters called Quarters: An American History about “our most important coin.” She drove a wedge between him and his daughter. After which Cathy walked out on him. And now he’s basically a complete mess.
Oh, Wes doesn’t have a tumour, either. It’s a giant hairball: “Looks like Trumps wig,” mutters Dr. Brock Holt (John Stamos).
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With Chanel (Emma Roberts), #3 (Billie Lourd) and #5 (Abigail Breslin), present, Dr. Holt and Dr. Cassidy Cascade (Taylor Lautner) reveal that poor Wes has a condition that causes him to pull out his hair and eat it. Hence the large ball of hair in his stomach. Tony Robbins screamed at him a while and then he was fine, until the ball created problems. Having Wes in the mix makes Brock a little jealous, despite him and Chanel being together. So it’ll be interesting to see how all that tension plays out.
Finally we get more Zayday Williams (Keke Palmer). She does a bunch of videos around the hospital, though her comments are constantly filled by Chamberlain Jackson (James Earl), who’s got no game at all. She lays it out straight for him about it, and that’s pretty honest of her. They don’t let that get in the way of their Green Meanie investigation. Now they want evidence, like a piece of the killer’s costume, to try tracking more information down.
Brock and Chanel hang out while he cooks, talking a bit about himself. She’s a bit too busy with Snapchat. Then they further figure out their large “age gap,” as he talks about M*A*S*H and she talks about Chumbawumba and Boy Meets World. Things get worse after they’re in bed and Chanel looks anything but aroused or interested. Brutally funny scene, especially after Brock pictures Munsch and mumbles her name in ecstasy.

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Oh no, Zayday! She’s taking a soak while the Green Meanie skulks in the shadows. Or is she? “Surprise, bitch,” she quips before shooting a taser at the killer. Then Chamberlain takes the Meanie down and a fight breaks out. And even though the Meanie makes it out, Zayday gets a piece of the suit.
Chamberlain gets a bit of help with Zayday from the Chanels. #1 does a bit of cell magic to help him out. I really like Chamberlain, he’s funny and also a good dude, so it seems. Let’s hope there’s more of him.
The wonderfully creepy character actor Bill Oberst Jr. plays a man that owns a costume shop where Zayday goes to figure out where the Green Meanie got their costume. He says that he’s used the fabric before – three scary costumes, different sizes. One in 1986. One a few months back. One only a few weeks ago. He remembers them because he got a “handy” associated with those dates. Anyways, he gives her a bit of information to go on, gets creepier, and Zayday heads off further on her journey towards the killer’s identity.
Hester (Lea Michele) offers her own help to Chanel. She believes it’s a generational thing. So they’re going to learn everything they can about him and his generation, then throw Brock a dinner party to impress.

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With Chamberlain’s phone blocking calls from Zayday until 9pm, he doesn’t get her call for help. She’s headed to see Jane (Trilby Glover), who tries slamming the door in her face. After that she invites Zayday in. Oh, my. Jane looks downright sinister, even if she’s only pouring tea. And Jane says she bought a suit back in ’86, for her brother to go kill the people who killed her husband. She also says that she raised her son to kill in case the hospital opened again, which it did under Munsch. “Why are you trying to bring logic into this conversation? You do realise that we are insane people, right?” Now I worry terribly for Zayday. She’s been drugged. What will Jane do next?
The Chanels are throwing a post-WWII-themed dinner party for Brock, as if he were born in 1920. Hilariously off base. Lots of great confusion over the “Greatest Generation” and other bits, which is perfect and timely after I just recently read a poll where a lot of people messed up the generation they think they belong in. A little later Brock is willing to work things out with Chanel, appreciating her effort despite the lack of knowledge. Only Dr. Holt also wants an affair with Cathy; a long one.
Over with Cathy and Wes, things are getting sexy. They drink, they lie together in bed. Then the Green Meanie attacks. Wes uses body spray to get them out of a sticky situation, but the killer takes off before they can find out any more.
And as I worried, Zayday’s been put in a terrifying predicament, strapped down in a well-like enclosure, the nearby sound of water. Uh oh. Meanwhile Chamberlain isn’t getting any messages, unaware of where his friend’s being kept. When he throws out some trash he ends up finding a receipt stuck in the hairball from Wes’ stomach: for a machete and chainsaw. And a piece of that green fabric. Hmm. So Chamberlain goes to see the man about what he found. Wes talks about how things went bad for Grace after the Chanels ruined her life. Turns out that Wes swallowed all that hair willingly, after getting drunk. He’s there for revenge, to use the Green Meanie as a cover for him hopefully killing the Chanels.
Remember what I said about loving Chamberlain? We won’t be seeing him again.

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Wow. I never saw this one coming! But it’s an awesome addition. I always loved Oliver Hudson in Season 1, so I’m loving that he’s actually a psycho this time around and not just a red herring. Next episode is “Lovin the D” and I can only imagine what’ll happen. A bit of eeriness creeps in with Wes back and certainly with him posing as the 3rd Green Meanie.

Scream Queens – Season 2, Episode 4: “Halloween Blues”

FOX’s Scream Queens
Season 2, Episode 4: “Halloween Blues”
Directed by Loni Peristere
Written by Brad Falchuk

* For a review of the previous episode, “Handidates” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Chanel Pour Homme-icide” – click here
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After the bloody events of Chanel Oberlin’s (Emma Roberts) would-be wedding to Chad Radwell ended with his death, she weeps over the body, as everyone wonders exactly what’s happened. Cathy Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) is of course ready for the whirlwind of another serial killer in her midst. Denise Hemphill (Niecy Nash) continues with her conspiracy theories, as everybody goes a little mad. #5 (Abigail Breslin) oversteps her boundaries and sets Chanel off on a rant against them before being carted off in a fit of madness. Taking the lead is Denise, but can she be trusted? I’m not saying she’s a murderer, though she is completely god damn foolish. We do get a window into Chad and Denise’s roleplaying, involving some Brokeback Mountain stuff. Weeeeird.
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So Denise dresses like Mrs. Chad Radwell for Halloween. She and Munsch go to see the Lecter-ish Hester Ulrich (Lea Michele), who spouts mostly ominous bullshit.
Everybody gets together for Chad’s will – his family died on the way trying to stop him from marrying Chanel. Haha, dig it. Turns out that Chad – in sound mind and “bitchinbody” – leaves his estate to Cathy Munsch. Wow. And he changed it just before dying. Hmm, coincidence? Red herring? Either way, Chanel absolutely flips out, charging at the accountant reading the will before beating the shit out of him a bit.
But there’s still Chanel-O-Ween! She decides to send out terrifying gifts this year to separate herself from the masses: “For my disgusting hippo fans.” And they positively eat it up to ridiculous lengths.
In other news, Dr. Brock Holt (John Stamos) checks Chanel out, she’s not feeling so hot. From mind to body. Can’t be nice having another serial killer in her life. Is it Dr. Holt? Or maybe the literally dead Dr. Cassidy Cascade (Taylor Lautner)? No telling for sure, not yet.
At home Chanel wakes up after taking the colloidal silver Brock gave her for a rash on her leg – to find her skin is blue. As if things couldn’t get any worse for the rich white girl.

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The night before Halloween, Denise is setting up decorations on one of the hospital’s floors at the nurse station. Then the power goes out. Uh oh, Mrs. Chad Radwell! In the darkness of a nearby room the Green Meanie comes at her. They tussle a bit, but you know Denise can kick some ass, boy. She gives the Meanie a run for his money, eventually pulling a gun. Although the green killer makes off without taking a bullet. This sends Denise to get Hester: she’ll be wearing an anklet for the Halloween party, then later she has to give up the killer’s identity. Even gets a Jason Voorhees mask to put on. Denise then hilariously goes on to mix up Michael Myers as being played by Mike Myers, y’know, after Wayne’s World. Love her and love the dialogue the writers give her.
Lots of shade thrown around between Chanel and Denise, as they stand toe to toe in their costumes. And again, more of the roleplay between Denise and Chad – this time, American Beauty. Christ, this episode is awesome and funny, too! Lots of movie references flying around usually. This episode is on another level, and doing so wisely.
Finally, Chanel goes to see Holt about her tinted skin. He says there’s no cure. Yikes! Well right now Holt also has himself an alibi, he can’t be the killer – he was boning Munsch while Chad was killed. Holy christ, Cathy gets around, doesn’t she? Good on you, ma’am. But now Chanel is taking off, sick of all the bad luck she’s immersed in. Then someone in an Ivanka Trump outfit turns up, silent, trying to murder her. No change in that luck. Oh, and it’s Hester underneath that mask. Where’d she get it, though?

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Tsk, tsk, tsk. #5 is outed now. Zayday (Keke Palmer) and #3 (Billie Lourd) reveal they helped #5 find herself an Ivanka Trump costume earlier in the day. GASP! COULD IT BE? Nah, we know the truth. However, everybody turning on #5 – more so than usual – isn’t any good. It doesn’t look good having her left all alone, especially during the Halloween party. Chanel warns her plainly: “If you show up to that party, well kill you.”
October 31st hits and the party is on. Zayday is Isis – no, not like caliphate-style, like the Egyptian goddess. Again, hilarious! Then#5 turns up as Ivana Trump, not Ivanka. They make a super funny and kinda disturbing point about the Donald and his daughter. Then there’s the fact Ivana is still wandering around, Hester in disguise. She disappears through the halls when a Halloween party full of people turn up puking and going crazy. Seems that they were bobbing for apples and ergot (a fungus) was growing on them, making people quite sick. Although, Zayday doesn’t believe that diagnosis from Dr. Holt, she challenges him.
Meanwhile, Denise and Chanel are conducting a Ouija board ceremony, fighting over the dead Chad Radwell. He event contacts Chanel over his goat, the one he keeps for milk – being lactose intolerant and all. He also tells Chanel he loved Denise more than her, but doesn’t quite get to tell her about the killer before everyone rushes off somewhere.
And all alone is #5 just as I suspected. As if Ivana Trump hasn’t been through enough married to Donald all those years. Eventually Ivana comes across Ivanka. Hester doesn’t kill #5. She lets the Green Meanie do it instead. Ohhhhh shit.

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With the help of a girl dressed as Snow White, Zayday and the others figure out what happened at the party. She saw the Green Meanie changed out the apple bobbing water: the water got dosed, as I suspected again, with DMT. Yowzahs, very wild. Anyways, things are settled at the hospital. For the time being. But maybe the Meanie didn’t want to kill him. Perhaps he needed “a distraction,” as Zayday notes. Now, there’s trouble.
Denise comes across a stabbed #5, and once more she’s also confronted with the Green Meanie. The killer tosses a punch bowl all over Denise before shocking her with some paddles. Is she dead, or can her heart take it?

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An awesome, exciting episode. Really dig this season so far. Next up is “Chanel Pour Homme-icide” and I bet we’ll get more Hester, too! Can’t wait.

Scream Queens – Season 2, Episode 3: “Handidates”

FOX’s Scream Queens
Season 2, Episode 3: “Handidates”
Directed by Barbara Brown
Written by Ian Brennan

* For a review of the previous episode, “Warts and All” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Halloween Blues” – click here


So with that poor young man, warts and all, burned to a crisp, Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts) puts the ladies on notice: there’s another serial killer lurking about! Duh, Chanel. Although she goes on accusing #5 (Abigail Breslin), as well as suggesting she had a part in some of the first murders last season. Just being a proper bitch. But #3 (Billie Lourd) is the voice of reason. Somehow. Before they can figure out what to do, Cathy Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) herself shows up. You know she wants things covered up just as bad. She also lets slip that she may be dying, although the girls don’t fully catch on right away.
Out in the swamp, #1 and #5 get into a “comparative wetlands” argument, a good bit of typically hilarious dialogue. Just like back in 1986, a body gets dumped into the waters. Only somebody is watching in the woods.
Meanwhile, Randal (Kevin Bigley) seems to have gotten better. No more freaks out. Suddenly the Green Meanie arrives for a brutal, bloody slasher kill. Yowzahs!
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The ladies are gone back to see Hester Ulrich (Lea Michele) in her Hannibal cell. “Sweating to the Oldies 2” is a bit of a psychological torture on her while she rots away in there apparently. Quid pro quo. “A room with a view” becomes A Room with a View, which does not help with Hester who pushes hard to get a transfer over to her hospital. Munsch ain’t playing that shit, though.
Chad Radwell (Glen Powell) has issues with a serial killer running loose in the hospital. He’s worried about Dr. Brock Holt (John Stamos) and his transplanted killer’s hand. Well, Chad and Holt get into a “sperm off,” or they almost do. Afterwards we see Holt’s hand get a bit wild, too. The whole scene is drop dead hilarious, even once Munsch disses Chad as possibly being the worst lay she’s ever had. I loved the first season. This season is already defying any expectations I might’ve had about this one not being as good. Almost better already.
Dr. Cassidy Cascade, Chanel #3, and Munsch talk with a woman named Sheila Baumgartner (Cheri Oteri). She has orgasms, constantly. Not in a good way. So Dr. Cascade does his best to start a course of treatment. Later, he and #3 are alone cleaning up in the morgue. He mentions to her that Chad was in there earlier chopping up bodies and swearing a ton. Great. More than that he tells #3 that he’s dead. Like a “Highlander” who must wander the Earth. Haha, jesus. I’ve never watched Lautner in anything before, to be totally honest. He cracks me up in this role so far.

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Zayday Williams (Keke Palmer) and the Chanels are hanging out together, as #1 rants and raves about her skin. All of a sudden, Zayday has an epiphany while paying Scrabble and playing the word nurse.
Again in the showers Chad confronts Dr. Holt. Naked. “Just airinout my scrote, bro,” he tells Brock before also letting him in on the fact he’ll be doing the new hand transplant to get rid of that pesky serial killer organ.
Out on a hunt, the Chanels, Zayday, Munsch, and the ever hilarious Denise Hemphill (Niecy Nash) go to where Hester suggested they start on their search for the truth behind the Green Meanie. Turns out they discover the guy behind Esrun skin cream was there the night the Green Meanie killed all those people. He was paid $5-million to keep his mouth shut, all from the hospital. He claims Nurse Thomas (Laura Bell Bundy) told him a story about the year prior, when a doctor and nurse threw a dead body in the swamp. So is the woman whose husband died, or the child she later had?
Idiot Chad is trying to prepare for the big hand surgery. However, Munsch shows up to reveal Chad is actually her “prime suspect.” Holt cannot be the killer, she says. Nobody’s out of suspicion fully. Not yet. There’s certainly a bit drama building between Dr. Holt and Chad. Something nasty will come of it.

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Together, #3 and Dr. Cascade try figuring out Mrs. Baumgartner’s problem. #3 gets into the yoga pose she was in when the orgasm problem began. Things get slightly sexy, before the doctor recreates what happened to make Sheila slip into full-time orgasm mode. A-ha, they’ve cracked the case! Like a millenial slasher version of House.
Things aren’t going well for Chad. He’s trying his hardest to impress Chanel. He even goes ahead, asking her to marry him. Yet in the distance is Brock, watching strangely. An eerie moment.
#3 and Dr. Cascade get a bit freaky right after surgery. I mean RIGHT AFTER. Eventually they move back to a bed, at least. Music troubles make their sexy times a bit tough for the first few moments. Cassidy’s worried about his deadness. So he shows her a thermometer for proof.
Surprisingly enough, Chad tries asking Dr. Holt to be his best man. Truthfully he has cold feet about it, he wants help to go through with the marriage. Brock agrees, though I can’t help wondering: what’s his endgame?

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Chanel #1 is beaming. She wants #3 to be a bridesmaid. Zayday, too. She only wants #5 as a ring bearer. Dressed like a dog. Hahah good lord. The wedding’s tomorrow because rich white people are crazy.
After Sheila Baumgartner’s recovered and heading home she says the media has been alerted of the great care at Munsch’s hospital. Nothing lasts long, as Sheila sees the Green Meanie down the hall, tossing a scythe at her long distance. Sheila has her head lopped off. Chamberlain Jackson (James Earl) gets a slasher across the belly. But Zayday? She only challenges the Meanie: “Lets go, bitch.” The killer runs off, leaving the question, why Zayday?
We get an awesome Hannibal mask on Hester when she’s brought over to the hospital. With the Esrun lead, Denise pulled some Quantico strings to get her transferred. Things are only getting creepier though, as Hester’s sure the Meanie has killed again already.

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At the Chanel-Radwell wedding things are underway. Poor #5 is wearing her dog collar. A few witnesses, including Munsch, are waiting. And wait they do. You didn’t think Chad Radwell was getting married, did you? Nope.
Or is it more than that?
When Chad’s dead body falls from the ceiling of the church right next to Chanel, all bets are off.

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Who is the Meanie? My early bet is on Dr. Brock Holt, or the mysterious Ingrid Hoffel (Kirstie Alley). There’s no proof yet, really. So let’s see what happens in “Halloween Blues” next week.
Oh, in case you want to rock out to the wedding song before Chad’s bloody entry, here’s “Baby Love” by Regina from 1989.

Scream Queens – Season 2, Episode 2: “Warts and All”

FOX’s Scream Queens
Season 2, Episode 2: “Warts and All”
Directed by Bradley Buecker
Written by Brad Falchuk

* For a review of the Season 2 premiere, “Scream Again” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Handidates” – click here
screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-12-45-44-amWith murder on the hospital grounds, Cathy Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) has more trouble on her hands again. Chanel #5 (Abigail Breslin) is being sweated by the police, even though she was stuck in the hydrotherapy tub the entire time. Lots of whodunnit already! Chanel #1 (Emma Roberts) and #3 (Billie Lourd) arrive to circle their other namesake, berating her about not getting any dick at all, especially in light of Dr. Cassidy Cascade (Taylor Lautner) and Dr. Brock Holt (John Stamos) respectively asking them out. Of course, it’s like nobody believes #5.
screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-12-46-46-amBack with Drs. Cascade and Holt, along with Zayday (Keke Palmer), the Chanels suffer through another consultation being insensitive as usual. This latest guy, Tyler (Colton Haynes), essentially has these tumours forming bumps like pebbles under his skin, all over. Wonder how this might play into the episode, or if it’s just a bit of background mess. In the meantime, Zayday worries about Munsch and her motives for running this hospital. Zayday doesn’t like how things sound about the latest murder, and well, she was around for Season 1. She knows what that crafty bitch gets up to now and then. “I think she wants revenge,” Zayday says re: Munsch. And she asks Chamberlain Jackson (James Earl) to help her out with a bit of low key investigating.
Out at the movies, Dr. Holt and Chanel #1 bond over being horrible people. Ironically The Hand is playing (as well as Pieces). We start seeing more of Brock’s “out of control hand” and she talks about “his hot mouth” – I can’t wait to see where this whole hand transplant thing is headed, because I love it. Meanwhile, #5 is bonding, too. With Tyler. And she comes round to deciding she’ll help him raise the money for the surgery he needs.
Late in the night, Chanel #1 is on duty at the nursing station. Power goes out. Screams. The Red Devil Killer shows up! He lifts his axe, and then removes his mask: it’s Dickie Dollar Scholar, Chad Radwell (Glen Powell), bitch. Who else?
Now that’s an interesting return. His buddy Randall can’t stop screaming, so there he is to get a bit of help. As well as discover that Dr. Holt and Chanel may be “boning.” This scene is god damn hilarious. When Brock keeps clicking the pen, showing off Randall’s exaggerated reactions. In between we find out that Chad’s started a band: “Goldplated Nutsack.”

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-1-44-37-amscreen-shot-2016-09-28-at-12-58-43-amZayday’s digging. Plus, Chamberlain went and got some of the microfiche for her to help, along with a machine setup downstairs. They come across the Halloween Massacre at the hospital. We zip back to 1986 with Dr. Mike (Jerry O’Connell) and a bunch of partygoers, other doctors, all rock out. When a couple of them head to take a few shots alone, they encounter the Green Meanie Killer who promptly chops them to bits. He then pulls a Michael Myers on Dr. Mike, lifting him off his feet impaled before chasing down his next victim to Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” and tossing a machete through her midsection. Wickedly nasty sequence. Dig that.
Ingrid Hoffel (Kirstie Alley) asks suspicious questions about whether Zayday might let her know where the Chanels are at all times. She makes a case, but seems pretty sketchy. I wonder what her deal is, I hope she’s got an interesting story.
In the showers, Chad tries to stand his ground against Dr. Holt. They argue over the “dateable guy checklist” and who’s most fit to be dating Chanel #1.  This scene gets more homoerotic by the second, as Chad gradually works his way further and further until literally being tip-to-tip with Brock in the shower stall. I laugh way too hard at Chad Radwell. He’s the ultimate douche and he’s written as such. Powell plays the role incredibly well.
With #1 and #3 convincing #5 that Tyler won’t like her anymore if he gets the surgery, #5 is quite on edge. She kicks the shit out of two dudes who make fun of Tyler in a diner before screaming: “I do not have teeth in my vagina.” Another role played way too funny, written wonderfully, is Chanel #5. Breslin is magic.

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-1-09-15-amMunsch says she could “really use a friend” and so with Chamberlain and Zayday at her door, they agree to listen to her secrets. She tells them about having awful headaches, bad joint pain, a ton of various symptoms. So it looks like Cathy may be straight up this time around. Although there’s no telling if she’s even being truthful. You know how underhanded she can get. Oh, and a lurking figure outside – is it #1? Or is that Ms. Hoffel? – hears all. A little later in the dark corridors, Munsch winds up confronted with the latest Green Meanie Killer. Luckily she has some ass kicking experience. Fighting hard she downs him. When Dr. Cascade and #3 come across Munsch, this distracts her, and the killer gets away. In a meta moment, Curtis goes off on those moments when somebody kicks the killer’s ass and nearly unmasks him but gets distracted. Fucking awesome! This episode is full of fun writing.
Still, Drs. Cascade and Holt are trying to cure Randall of his screaming. In an aside, Brock’s hand acts up again, scrawling a note; that only Chad cares to read. Funny enough it seems to be a grocery list for a fancy dinner. Hmm. Afterwards playing squash, things get tense between Chad and Brock, though the latter asserts his dominance, as well as possibly a homicidal streak? We’ll see.
You know Denise Hemphill (Niecy Nash) is kicking around, apparently an FBI trainee at this point. She calls Zayday a “stone cold hoe” and believes it’s likely her killing people. Even though she already barked up that tree last season to no avail. But Nash is outrageously funny and I love every time she’s allowed to let loose.

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-1-21-29-amAnd the moment we’ve all been waiting for – or at least I have – the return of Hester Ulrich (Lea Michele). They’ve got her in a Hannibal Lecter-like cell, even talking like Hopkins a bit and there’s plenty of homage dialogue, the dungeon cell area highly reminiscent of The Silence of the Lambs – a patient even throws… birthday cake mix… at Chanel #1. So the crazy Hester locked away has demands for helping with their case. One of which includes transferring to Munsch’s hospital. “Bitch, aint nobody got time fodat,” Denise tells her. But I’m guessing they’ll be enlisting Hester soon enough.
So we get a good dose of story about the hand Holt has now. The guy was a world class squash player, finding people to play with and then killing them. That menu Brock wrote down is the last meal he had before going to jail. The guy was executed, a notorious serial killer, and gave up his organs for donation. Chad brings this newfound information to Dr. Holt and they have a bit of a face-off. We also see another tiny slice of that possible crazy person inside Brock.
Munsch talks of going to Papua New Guinea, which Zayday believes led to her having a disease cannibals get from eating human flesh. There’s nothing they can do: less than a year to live. Yikes. We further discover Ms. Hoffel has a bug planted in Munsch’s office, and she knows everything.

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-1-29-17-amscreen-shot-2016-09-28-at-1-30-59-amscreen-shot-2016-09-28-at-1-35-09-amSeems as if Tyler’s been trying to help #5, finding information on the Green Meanie Killer. And then all of a sudden, his surgery is switched, someone wheels him off. Problem is that Drs. Cascade and Holt are gone home to have a “Handsome Contest.” With Tyler on the table, the Green Meanie puts an end to his prying. Tyler gets the laser all right. The Chanels are too late to stop his untimely death.
screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-1-37-31-amLoved this episode! Maybe one of my favourites of the entire series, honestly.
Excited for more. Next up is “Handidates” and I can only imagine what we’ll see judging by the title.

Scream Queens – Season 2, Episode 1: “Scream Again”

FOX’s Scream Queens
Season 2, Episode 1: “Scream Again”
Directed by Brad Falchuk
Written by Falchuk & Ian Brennan & Ryan Murphy

* For a review of the Season 1 finale, “The Final Girl(s)” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Warts and All” – click here
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The bitches are back, bitches!
This season opens on October 31st, 1985 (just seven days after my birthday). In a hospital people are partying. But one woman’s husband is in trouble, and she can’t find anyone to take her seriously. Until they come across Dr. Mike (Jerry O’Connell), who – after a bit of prodding – takes care of the man. He and one of the nurses plan to dump a body out back in a swamp, let the animals and nature take care of him. She talks about the “Green Meanie” – an urban legend from when she was younger, a monster that stalked the swamps. Now, heading to the present, are we going to see someone taking revenge for this crime? You betcha.
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It’s 2016. Cathy Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) is all over the place as the face of “new feminism.” Meanwhile, hands Doctors Cassidy Cascade (Taylor Lautner) and Brock Holt (John Stamos) are taking care of a Ms. Catherine Hobart (Cecily Strong); an unfortunate lady who’s had to deal with werewolf syndrome. So we come to find out it’s Dr. Cathy Munsch. She received the honorary doctorate they “stripped from Bill Cosby.” Mostly she’s a lot of talk. As usual. But she’s awesome, and she opened up the hospital. Via voice-over, Cathy takes us back through how she got to this point. A fun little romp with Jamie Lee Curtis; ever cool, ever hilarious in a dry, sly way.
And what about the Chanels? Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts), #3 (Billie Lourd), and #5 (Abigail Breslin). We go back over their court case, the involvement of Denise Hemphill (Niecy Nash) in her crack up testimony during trial. There’s a bit of Hester Ulrich (Lea Michele) on tape claiming “double jeopardy” while arguing with Denise: “Its single jeopardy!”
Then there’s Zayday Williams (Keke Palmer). She’s in med school, trying to get by like many students. Munsch is swooping in on her, offering to pay for her tuition, offering a position at the hospital. Too good to be true? Well, Zayday takes her up on it. Whether that’s a good thing will have to wait a while.

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Starting her schooling, technically a direct entry residency, Zayday meets the obnoxious Dr. Cascade and the weird Dr. Holt. Particularly we get a story about how Holt actually lost a hand a few years back. Lost a ring in the sink, garbage disposal got turned on, and VOILA! These days he’s doing surgery like a magician. His speech is both tragic and hilarious – the way he keeps hitting things, scaring Cascade and Zayday made me laugh. Lots of eeriness, all the same. Cascade seems like an ass, as well as the fact he’s strikingly cold to the touch. Best is when Chamberlain Jackson (James Earl) shows up. His charm is undeniable, if not a bit in your face.
Zayday makes a big with Munsch to get more women around the hospital. You know what that means. Oh, yes.
Chanel and her “idiot hookers” are back. Everybody hates them now to the point they’re having shit thrown at them in the streets. They majored in Communications, they all got jobs. Not exactly what you’d think. Especially after ending up poor, tired, and knocked down a few social pegs. Once Munsch shows up, everything changes. Naturally the girls are sceptical of the former Dean’s extending her hand, asking them to enrol as students and work at the hospital. But really, what else will they do? Their arrival throws Zayday for a loop, too.

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So the fashion clash begins when the Chanels realise they have to wear scrubs. Although things feel more palatable after seeing Dr. Holt taking a shower. Curious: #5 notices a tattoo, sort of like a coat-of-arms with an H in the shield. Hmm. Anyway, the girls each have their jobs. After a bit of brutally funny banter on the term ‘ghosting’ as per Munsch: “Isnt ghosting when you do a number two and you look down at the paper and theres nothing there? And so you stand up and you look in the toilet and theres nothing there either because the turd somehow got shot down the hole before you even flush?”
The Chanels don’t have much bedside manner. Neither do Dr. Cascade or Dr. Holt, the first rambling on a Nietzsche-like thought and the other texting. Poor Catherine, the werewolf lady, is trying to get a bit of sense out of the doctors. Only one providing that is Zayday. We also get introduced to Ingrid Marie Hoffel (Kirstie Alley), R.N., who doesn’t have time for Chanel or any of their bullshit. Speaking of which, Munsch puts the Chanels on academic probation because of their treatment of Catherine earlier. Everything quickly feels like it’s crumbling beneath the Chanels after discovering they also don’t get paid, only free room, board, so on. So they head back to their room and brainstorm about what to do next: find a cure for “werewolf girl” first.
Chanel goes to talk with Dr. Holt about Catherine’s case. We see a bit of his weird, transplanted hand. In the midst of everything, Holt and Chanel figure out there may be a testosterone problem in Catherine, which prevents any further hand madness. Thus starts the fierce competition between Zayday and the Chanels. After a bit of treatment, Catherine loses ALL her hair. Not just a little. Every last bit. They give her a bit of a makeover, so that patches things up for now. Making Munsch’s hospital look great and pissing Zayday off.

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#5 is on graveyard shift while the other two have dates. While she helps Catherine with a bit of hydrotherapy, someone watches in the shadows. #5 opts to get in one, as well. Both of them locked in a tub. Smart move, dummy. Then, a green-masked intruder appears with a couple blades in hand. He puts on a bit of music for the occasion. Before lopping Catherine’s head off.
And we end on a last chop: is it to #5? Or to the head? Or maybe just a last scare? We’ll find out next week.

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An exciting, weird, creepy first episode for the second season of Scream Queens! Really loved this one. Can’t wait to see “Warts and All” next. Lots of promise, new characters, new setting, and a fun mask for a new killer, too.

American Horror Story – Freak Show, Episode 13: “Curtain Call”

FX’s American Horror Story
Season 4, Episode 13: “Curtain Call”
Directed by Bradley Buecker
Written by John J. Gray

* For a review of the previous episode, “Show Stoppers” – click here
* For reviews of Season 5 Hotel starting with the premiere, “Checking In” – click here
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The finale of American Horror Story‘s Freak Show, “Curtain Call”, is here. And it’s surely about to get nasty before the curtain closes for the last time.
Dandy Mott (Finn Wittrock) is about to make his debut at the show, crooning show tunes. Paul (Mat Fraser), the newest freak Penny (Grace Gummer), Amazon Eve (Erika Ervin) and Ima Wiggles (Chrissy Metz) are none too happy. Though, Paul thinks they ought to squeeze all they can out of the rich idiot whilst they still can. Dandy doesn’t know anything about the business yet and treats the freaks like garbage, blaming them for no tickets sold as of yet. “Audiences want a new type of freak; something different,” he claims. The whole confrontation ends with Eve punching Dandy out, and the crew taking him over, Paul leading the attack calling him “rubbish” and worst of all “boring.” Not just that: they quit. Dandy is left to run the place on his own, with a skeleton crew left, having proved he is far more a freak than any of them ever could be.
Ominous beginnings for the finale. I’m sad to see this season end because it’s at the top of my list; I love them all, but honestly I think, for me, Freak Show and Asylum are tied for numero uno. EditMy Roanoke Nightmare is also tied now after Season 6, loved it personally.


Elsa Mars (Jessica Lange) is out trying to take meetings. Except the people at WBN don’t seem too eager to receive her at first. She waits and waits, smoking cigarette after cigarette, sitting in the lobby. It’s clear she isn’t exactly a priority. Watching yet another person stroll by, and the receptionist shut down her desk, Elsa is thrown by the nonsense of Hollywood, the heartlessness of those involved. She ends up slapping the receptionist across the face, then an executive appears, breaking things apart.
Meanwhile, Dandy gets ready for showtime at his newly acquired Cabinet of Curiosities. He struts across the campground in a fresh white suit, red vest underneath and red handkerchief with polka dots around his neck. Turns out showtime isn’t any act. He starts first by blowing Paul’s brains out. Afterwards, Penny gets the same treatment while hiding behind sheets she hung out to dry; blood splatter everywhere. Legless Suzi (Rose Siggins) and others get a bullet for their troubles, too. Desiree Dupree (Angela Bassett) and Eve each scramble to protect themselves while Dandy continues nonchalantly murdering everyone in sight.
But while Desiree hides cowering in the closet of her trailer and Dandy gets crazier by the second, Eve sneaks in and cracks him a good one with a pot. They fight for a little and Eve eventually gets shot to death. Although, Desiree managed to slip free, escaping the wrath of the spoiled Mott boy.
Scariest of all, Dandy has the Tattler Twins, Bette and Dot (Sarah Paulson), tied to a post in one tent. He’s certainly planning something nefarious for these two. What could it be?
In the evening, Jimmy Darling (Evan Peters) shows up, new hands and all. He looks desperate, hungry. Wandering into the campsite, he finds nobody, only a few pieces of bread, some broken bottles. He calls for Elsa, to no response, and finds all her things packed, gone; except for the furniture. With the lights on and literally no one home, Jimmy stumbles across his dead friends: Paul, Penny, Legless Suzi, Ima, Eve, and others, all their corpses piled in the big tent. A horrific sight. Especially considering Jimmy will take it on himself, blaming himself for not being there and so on.
From nowhere, Desiree shows up weeping in Jimmy’s arms. They’re both left with all their friends murdered. How will they avenge them?


Cut to a beautiful scene where a harp is playing, the Tattler Twins walking down a makeshift aisle in Dandy’s large room. They’re having a wedding. The witnesses are all stuffed tigers and lions and giraffes. Bette looks happy, somehow. Dot, not so much. The groom kisses his bride Bette, as Dot looks on in forced pleasure: “a third wheel,” Dandy says. Have the twins given up because of all the dead freaks? Or are they planning some type of vengeance upon him? I’d like to think the latter.
The twins say they’ve hired a French housemaid. At dinner, it turns out Desiree is there helping. Dandy’s been given drugged up liquor. Uh oh – just as I suspected! So glad the Tattlers didn’t fall prey to this disgusting savage of a spoiled, rich maggot. Dandy is a great character, but a hateful one. Excited to see what these wonderful freaks will do to show Dandy the wrath of their kind.
Plus, we get a nice little brief cut to an explanation of how the twins communicated with Desiree, as well as Jimmy Darling who appears as a butler for Dandy and the ladies. Love this sequence!
Dandy (to Desiree): “You put something in my bubbly
Waking up, Dandy finds himself a little wet. He’s chained. Even further, he’s in a large sealed tank. Outside, Jimmy is hooking up a hose to start filling the tank with water. “Were carny folk. Its gotta be theatrical,” Jimmy tells Desiree re: Dandy’s death. While Jimmy, Desiree, Bette and Dot watch on before the act begins, Dandy starts to lose it. He knows what’s coming. After the freaks tell him why he deserves to die, Desiree also gives a wonderful speech to Dandy and tells him: “You are the biggest freak of them all.” This is such a fitting end to Dandy. Jimmy talks about why the freaks will always win, and why “the freaks shall inherit the earth.” There is strength in numbers, which is how the freaks will prevail. Jimmy sentences Dandy and his “whole rotten kind” to death, as they leave him to drown mercilessly in the tank, and the freaks all take a front row seat to watch the show. Their smiles are macabre and morbid, yet so amazingly right for the moment.
Jimmy: “Heck of a show
Desiree: “That boy is a star
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The finale sees Hollywood in 1960 through a few black-and-white clips. Elsa Mars is the Queen of Friday Night on television with her variety hour show, and she also has a nice music career in her native Germany, as well as the world over. We get an awesome look at Elsa’s television set. There’s also Neil Patrick Harris’ husband David Burtka playing Michael Beck, Elsa’s saviour and now also husband: they’ve got a bit of a BDSM relationship going on at home, taking her back to those Berlin days before WWII. There’s a great take on commercials and advertisement with Elsa having to hawk coffee; she isn’t pleased with being “wrangled” by her husband in the commercial, not wanting to be dominated by the patriarchy. Dig it. Someone shows up to talk about Elsa’s Halloween special, though, she isn’t too impressed with this plan: she will not perform on Halloween. And why not? Edward Mordrake (Wes Bentley), that’s why. She hasn’t forgotten her roots. Even further, she hasn’t forgotten about Massimo Dolcefino (Danny Huston) who shows up to see her and talks about where he’s been since Jupiter, Florida; funny enough, he did work for the army building whole towns to be vaporized by the government in the desert, for the nuclear tests. Nice inclusion of history, as I always expect with the show.
The terrifying videos of which Elsa was a part in Germany come to light. The studio head Henry Gable (Richard Holden) comes to visit Elsa, to tell her all about it. There’s no denying, obviously, it is her in those videos. How can they blame her for such hideousness? Sure, she was involved in awful business before that video, but surely having her legs sawed off is not her own fault? More of the victim blaming inherent in the world of law and order. Worse, Gable had Elsa tracked and they figured out she once ran a freak show: he tells them, her people back at the show, “theyre all dead.” All of this goes against the Morals Clause in Elsa’s contract, so off she goes. Though, she agrees to perform on Halloween now. A last goodbye, of sorts. “Why not? Might as well go out with a bang,” she says. Or go back to the other side, she means; with Mordrake. This is certainly her plan.
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Amazing part of the “Elsa Mars Hour” begins with her doing another Bowie cover, “Heroes” this time. Love her take on Bowie, especially with that German accent she puts on. Such an interesting part of the show overall this season, the musical choices.
This leads in to Elsa’s big sendoff. First, though, we watch Desiree with Angus T. Jefferson (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) in their newly wedded life, kids and all. Jimmy and the Tattlers now at home, their home, together as husband and wives – and buns in the oven. All of them watching Elsa on television somewhere or another. I love the morbidity and macabre nature of American Horror Story, but the happy endings mixed in for some characters is usually a great way to top off a season. Among the murder and loss, some of the characters here get a happy end, while Elsa’s is sort of a bittersweet release. Mordrake comes back, along with Twisty (John Carroll Lynch) and other dead freaks, to take Elsa away in front of her television audience.
Only he doesn’t take her. Elsa returns to a different afterlife than that of Mordrake’s little cabinet of souls. She is back at the freak show, Ma Petite still running around, Paul and Legless Suzi and Penny alive once more. Everything is as it once was, before all the tragedy and the blood and death. Even Ethel (Kathy Bates) is there running the ship for Elsa, happy to see her again. Ethel tells her: “The sins of the livindont add up to much around here. In life, we play the parts were cast in.” A wonderful, weird, and intriguing end. One of my favourites to any season.

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