From Ian Brennan

Scream Queens – Season 1, Episode 11: “Black Friday”

FOX’s Scream Queens
Season 1, Episode 11: “Black Friday”
Directed by Barbara Brown
Written by Ian Brennan

* For a review of the previous episode, “Thanksgiving” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Dorkus” – click here
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The beginning of “Black Friday” is naturally sassy. Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts) and her crew of brown nosers are in their glee. This is their favourite day of the year. Chanel loves it so much because she’ll buy cheap presents for her friends, making them question the bonds of their friendship. She also loves the stampede of piggish Americans forcing their way through the doors, charging one another and so on.
At Kappa House, Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) is consoling Zayday (Keke Palmer), who reluctantly admits Gigi’s roasted head actually smells sort of delicious. However, Munsch and the Chanels have a bit of a confrontation. #1 talks her down, like only she can with brutal sorority house vigour.
Wes (Oliver Hudson), Grace (Skyler Samuels) and Pete (Diego Boneta) show up at the police station. Turns out the mayor is pissed about the Red Devil Killer. He went ahead and fired most of the cop. But makes sense doesn’t it? The lead detective was an idiot.
At the mall, the Chanels end up in the darkened halls, the doors locked and chained. Then from behind the glass, outside, it’s the Red Devil with what looks like a crossbow. The Chanels all run screaming. The Red Devil is inside now coming for them. But instead of running with Hester (Lea Michele) and the others, Chanel #1 goes to confront the killer. She taunts the Red Devil, before taking an arrow to the chest. Though, before the killer can take her out, up shows Denise Hemphill (Niecy Nash) who is now Chief of Police after all the nonsense. Of course the killer gets away.
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Denise: “Man, why didnt I shoot him when I had the chance? I was busy talkintoo much
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Chanel survives, and back at Kappa she rallies about who the killer is: Dean Munsch. Not everyone believes it. However, Grace somehow ends up on the same side as Chanel #1. She gives an impassioned speech to all the others stating: “I’m willing to do whatever it takes to stop her. Dean Munsch has to die.” A consensus comes up between Chanel and Grace: they’ll poison Munsch. Really? Let’s see how things go down.
Hilarious douche Chad Radwell (Glen Powell) stands up at the podium giving a Dickie Dollar Scholar speech, but everyone is dead. Aside from Pete, who is there for some reason. Chad reads out Boone’s supposed Last Will and Testament. It’s full of things left to – dun, dun, dun – Pete Martinez. Strange, right? Chad’s convinced they’re gay lovers. But fact is, Pete seems to have been using Boone as an undercover source for his investigative reporting. Through all the foolishly funny nonsense Chad spews, he eventually asks Pete to join the Dickie Dollar Scholars. Pete refuses, as if he would ever say yes.

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Chad: “Your body, Pete Martinez, is not a wonderland.”
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Grace and Chanel #1 take a meeting with Dean Munsch at her place. They put on a ton of fake charm and sincerity. Honestly, I’m loving the writing from episode to episode, just because of how Ian Brennan/Brad Falchuk/Ryan Murphy & Co. take down a lot of the dumb things our society today has brought forward.
But there’s lots of mystery and suspense, as the girls bring Munsch a jar of apple cider. One which they’ve poisoned with fish venom. The Dean drinks a whole jar back quick, giving off a burp and exclaiming: “Yesabsolutely nutmeg! Excusez moi.” Jamie Lee Curtis is absolutely perfect for this role and I can see why it was specifically tailored for her. Not only has she gotten the chance to play off previous roles she played in horror films, even her mother’s performance in Psycho. Curtis gets a great chance to show off her comedic chops. She’s one hell of a funny, witty person.
Another thing I love is, again, the suspense. There are plenty of excellently suspenseful scenes throughout this first season. We get more of them in this episode, aided by an equally good score (as usual). The music of the series is beyond cool.
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When Grace decides to change her mind about taking Dean Munsch out, Chanel #1 and the others – even Zayday sort of – decide to kick her to the curb. Back at home with her dad, and Pete apparently, Grace learns what the two have been up to. Wes confirms he didn’t know much about Gigi, to the point of not even knowing how to spell her last name. Doesn’t matter – her name isn’t Gigi Caldwell, but possibly Jess Meyer, a name she checked into the asylum with. A couple eerie, twisting plot points here. Plus, I find it funny Wes and Pete are bonding in any sense of the word because the whole dynamic with Grace and her father is a crack up anyways. Only makes things funnier. But then there’s also the fact Wes fathered the two Red Devil Killers, whose rampage has not yet ended even with Boone dead. So there’s a good deal of complexity happening, even among so much silly fun.
Chanel #1 has a plan for Dean Munsch. A bit of cryotherapy. Chanel and the other girls watch as the Dean heads down into the big chamber, waiting until she freezes to death. Except when they bring her back up, expecting her to be a frozen corpse, tough ole Cathy is still alive!


Pete receives a call at his place. Someone we don’t hear. He asks: “Why do you want to take this any further?” Then he ominously opens up his closet, looking at the Red Devil costume hanging there like we saw a bunch of episodes back when he and Grace were at his apartment. What’s Pete’s connection? Did he help any of the killings, or is he merely aware of it all?
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The Kappa House girls all try to think of how Dean Munsch could’ve possibly survived. #5 (Abigail Breslin) rambles about Teen Wolf (the movie). Hester talks about Rasputin, and the tale of his supposedly vicious death after the first several attempts on his life did not work. A creepy little scene just from the way Lea Michele recites the whole story. So the final plan ends up with Munsch headed for a drowning, says #1.
Only when the signal goes out to the other Chanels, they’re busy being idiots. At the campus pool, #1 ends up alone. She and Munsch are there by themselves now, with #1 bringing along a bunch of chains. Nothing happens, only a bit of back-and-forth between them. This prompts Chanel to end up writing a missive, surely reminiscent of the Delta Gamma letter which took the internet by storm a while back.
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Grace comes to Pete, wanting to give her body over to him. Yet he’s reluctant. Then he drops a bomb before the episode ends: “I don’t want your first time to be with a murderer.” What, Pete? What?
I’m beyond excited to see the next episode, “Dorkus”. Stay tuned with me to find out more about Pete and his revelations!

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Scream Queens – Season 1, Episode 9: “Ghost Stories”

FOX’s Scream Queens
Season 1, Episode 9: “Ghost Stories”
Directed by Michael Uppendahl
Written by Ryan Murphy

* For a review of the previous episode, “Mommie Dearest” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Thanksgiving” – click here
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After the revelations of “Mommie Dearest”, we’re over at Kappa House once more.
Boone (Nick Jonas) is in disguise, still. People continually think he’s Joaquin Phoenix and he passes off his public appearance as part of a “performance art piece“. Silly Boone, he spills a ton of drink over his fake beard, and Chanel #3 (Billie Lourd) happens to see him sans-beard. But she believes it’s a ghost, coming back to kill her for saying he “couldn’t gay pledge“. Boone scares her, she takes off. Done and done.
Chanel #1 (Emma Roberts) rants on about everything from “Lewis and Clark’s gay camping extravaganza” to Pocahontas and the pilgrims. Then there’s Chad Radwell (Glen Powell) who gets down on one knee, not to propose but to give Chanel a silver turkey wishbone necklace, inviting her to his family’s ranch estate. None of the other girls are hugely thrilled about any of it, but Hester (Lea Michele) puts on the fake face, while Chanel #3 doesn’t feign much and #5 (Abigail Breslin) cowers to the side.

Chad: “You’re so hot you give my bone a bone

Grace (Skyler Samuels) is devastated about her father Wes (Oliver Hudson) and his lies. Zayday (Keke Palmer) invites Grace to her grandmother’s place for Thanksgiving, being the good friend. So at least there’s some solace for poor Grace.
The Chanels are still dealing with Mama Denise (Niecy Nash). Before too much more of that, #3 tells them about “dead gay Boone” and his haunting. They’re all sceptical at first, though, Denise stokes their fears even further like a dummy. She sits them down for some “really scary ghost stories“. There’s an awesome little Japanese horror scene about the supposed Kappa, a ghost hiding in the toilet which snatches “onto your vagina“. After the first story, she tells another one about the Red Cloak; another ghost inhabiting women’s washrooms. She is a fucking riot, Niecy Nash. Even better since becoming Mama Denise. I love how they did this sequence with homage to J-Horror, filming things similar to the Japanese ghost style.
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Chad Radwell is also confronted by Boone. The dumb man also thinks Boone is a ghost – “Dude, you’re so warm. I thought ghosts were cold, like vapour.” They have a ridiculous dude-bro conversation about who got hot, who didn’t, who’s been killed, et cetera. Boone lays an even more ridiculous story on his old friend, about having to have sex with a human woman in order to stay on earth. So he borrows a shirt from Chad, claiming it’s to woo Zayday. Uh oh, is there trouble coming for Ms. Williams?
In a washroom stall, one of the ghost stories Denise told to the girls almost comes to life. Except one of the Red Devils shows up, not the Red Cloak, as she told it. Fighting off the would-be-killer, Denise tries to run. She gathers the girls, but not to take off: she needs more ghost stories, y’know, to calm her down.
Hester breaks one out for them by the fireplace, taking everyone back to the 1950s; a story about a long ago sorority girl. It’s all about the Meathook Killer. The old urban legend of a killer in the backseat. Luckily, this takes Denise’s blood pressure down, relieves her gas, so they’re back in action. Or not really. #5 decides to leave campus, the rest of them wait to see if she makes it out – in case the killer is still around. One thing I loved about this scene is how Ryan Murphy plays with the horror tropes: Denise is attacked, then as soon as she makes it back to the group, no more danger.
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In Zayday’s room, she and Earl Grey (Lucien Laviscount) are fooling around a bit. He goes back to his room to get all the perfect things: champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, a silk robe and lotions. While gone, Boone climbs up in the window. He tries to play a game on Zayday, but she’s too smart. Grace shows up, too. They accidentally knock him out a window. Yet SURPRISE, SURPRISE: gone. Just like Michael fucking Myers.
Downstairs, Grace and Zayday reveal the truth about Boone. Nobody believes them initially. Then, outside #5 struggles to haul her luggage away, as well as Earl Grey returns with his lovemaking kit. Only Earl is stabbed by Boone in his Red Devil attire. Cold, cold stuff.
On her way home, #5 finds herself in an urban legend type situation. A radio announcement talks about Boone being on the loose. All of a sudden, a truck behind her is blaring its horn, shining the lights. Déjà vu? She pulls into a gas station, a trucker does, too. Just like the story Hester told. But Boone is nowhere to be found. Quickly, though, the Red Devil appears and kills the trucker, sending Chanel #5 back to the university campus.
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Chad and Hester have another confrontation. It’s been awhile since they’ve last had a talk. More than that, she has a bedazzled neck brace on again. He gives her a bunch of hilarious reasons why he’s bringing Chanel for Thanksgiving instead of her – including her breath makes it feel like he’s making out with the Hamburglar, she has a poo belly, and the last time they “porked” she possibly let out a dirty fart. I mean, I was cracking up at this point. He’s the biggest douche on the face of the planet, and it is so god damned funny.
With #5 back, the girls are all locked down in Kappa House. #1 won’t even give her props for having a real life scary story to tell because it’s a copy of the story Hester told. Another hard laugh from the gut there. Hester shows up and tells everyone she banged Chad – and claims she’s pregnant, as well. Whaaat? Seriously? Or is this a ploy? Wouldn’t take much to con Chad into believing it, I’m sure. Things get nastier for Chad after Chanel #1 makes a threat to him, leaving him to wonder if she might be one of the Red Devil Killers.

Chad: “That’s just how us Radwells roll: we make our beds and we lie in them
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Chanel #1 is rallying the Chanels back together, to try and make it a three against one deal. She wants Hester out of the way. They’re, seemingly, going to plan on killing her. A weak apology draws both #3 and #5 back into the fold. Though, there’s no change in her bitchy disposition.
In other matters at Kappa House, Grace and Zayday are trying to tell the idiot police about what’s going on re: Boone. Detective Chisholm (Jim Klock) brings in a paranormal expert, even though Boone is clearly not a ghost but merely faked his own death. The girls are fed up with all the nonsense, while Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) doesn’t do much other than bumble. At the same time, I think the dean is starting to reach her tipping point, no matter how saucy and narcissistic she is under it all.
After that whole situation, Munsch tells Grace and Zayday about the two babies that night twenty years ago at Kappa. Seems the body gave off a death rattle and popped out another kid – possibly it was Boone. Jesus, that’s grim!
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Boone meets with the other Red Devil. They’re waiting for Gigi Caldwell (Nasim Pedrad), talking about knives; at least Boone is talking. When Gigi shows up, she’s no longer the goofy, aloof type she is with the sorority girls. She’s more like a Bond villain, honestly. Traipsing around an amazing looking upper scale living room, sipping on whiskey. When Boone gets up in Gigi’s face, talking about all the things he’s done for her and their murderous venture. When the other Red Devil approaches, Boone is stabbed viciously instead of Gigi, which I was expecting. Twists and twists. Can’t wait to find out who’s behind the other mask.
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Gigi (to Red Devil): “Well, your commitment to revenge is clearly greater than your brother’s was.”

The finale of the episode reveals Esther is not actually pregnant, through the Chanels feeding her things bad for embryos. But out of nowhere, Chanel #1 runs to her on the stairs to say sorry. Really? Nah. As I expected, #1 gives Hester and her bedazzled neck brace a rough push down the spiral staircase. A solid snap comes right at the end. Chanel #6 has been vanquished, and #1 believes it “had to happen“. Now she says Hester’s death is a cautionary tale, against those who try and rise up to take the top queen’s man. Another ghost story for Kappa House. Brutal!
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Stay tuned for another episode next week, “Thanksgiving”. Here’s to hoping there’ll be more exciting revelations and accusations and murder!

Scream Queens – Season 1, Episode 7: “Beware of Young Girls”

FOX’s Scream Queen
Season 1, Episode 7:
 “Beware of Young Girls”
Directed by Barbara Brown
Written by Ryan Murphy

* For a review of the previous episode, “Seven Minutes in Hell” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Mommie Dearest” – click here
Picture 1And we’re back at Kappa House for another night of horrors, plus a good few laughs.
Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts) is consistently hilarious. She’s beyond oblivious, but to the point it’s comical. They all are really. Chanel #2 (Ariana Grande) is being laid to rest. Instead of a nice eulogy, Chanel #1 rants and raves about the “dumb dead whore” in the casket. It’s such a grim crack-up to me. Others will say it’s overkill. Not me. Totally in line with who Chanel #1 is and her personality is meant to be awful.
The others aren’t particularly upset. Chanel #5 (Abigail Breslin) is more concerned with stirring shit; between suggesting a seance to mend things with #2 from beyond the grave, to bringing up how #2 banged Chad (Glen Powell).
Chanel #3 (Billie Lourd) leads their little Ouija board ceremony, alongside #1, #5, and Hester (Lea Michele). Things start to get a bit spooky once neither of them can admit to moving the Ouija. It spells out the unfaithfulness of Chad. Oh, I get it… obviously the girls are trying to mess with their fearless leader’s head.
Picture 3More and more, the true character of Gigi Caldwell (Nasim Pedrad) comes out. She makes clear their game – her and the Red Devil(s) – is not kidnapping: it is murder. This is wild. Not just that, she and Wes Gardner (Oliver Hudson) are moving along quickly. They’ve got a serious relationship going now. Might spell trouble for Wes, as well as his sweet daughter Grace (Skyler Samuels).
Speaking of Grace, she is trying her hardest to get close with Gigi. Though, the more Grace tackles Gigi’s terrible fashion sense, the closer they’re becoming… the more Gigi digs her nose into things. She’s attempting to push Grace, and reporter Pete (Diego Boneta), towards Dean Cathy Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis).
Then we get a nice little Rosemary’s Baby visual homage with Feather McCarthy (Tavi Gevinson) looking so similar to Mia Farrow. Gigi suggests going to talk to her, a former Kappa Sister. Pete and Grace meet with her. She opens up a new little subplot involving Dean Munsch – turns out Feather slept with Munsch’s husband, creating an incredibly tense situation. Apparently, Cathy would then show up everywhere dressed like Feather, terrifying the young girl and everyone else. Lots and lots of stuff pointing towards Munsch as being involved with the Red Devils. But can we believe this? I feel there’s something more devious, more dark at play. But who can tell.
Picture 4Back at Feather’s house, she discovers an ominous bloody arrow on the floor, a severed arm and motions to go THIS WAY. Further and further she heads upstairs, only to find more chopped body parts, more bloodily written directions on the wall. Inside one of the rooms, there is Steven Munsch (Philip Casnoff) – former husband of the Dean – his head cut off and in a fish tank.
Cut to Chanel #1, who walks in on Chad… in his boxers, lying in bed with a pink-collared goat. I honestly can’t get enough of Chad Radwell. He is a piece of shit, a misogynistic, terribly dumb man. But Chad’s so funny, he is the evisceration of brodom, of the dudebro code and all it represents. Then there’s Chanel – she represents the equally stupid and vicious type of girl who often, too often, falls for a guy like Chad. Together they’re downright ridiculous, which makes me laugh, over and over.
Let’s get back with Munsch, though. Cathy has a bad knee, complaining she fell down drunk last night. But Detective Chisolm (Jim Klock) and all the other cops are determined she killed her ex-husband. In turn, they speculate her to be the Red Devil Killer. I still don’t buy it. She obviously did something stupid a couple decades ago by covering up what happened to that poor pregnant girl in the bloody bathtub. I just do not think she’s part of the killings, moreover I’m convinced she’s a target.
Picture 5 Picture 6 Picture 7Grace and Pete are already jerking each other off over their supposed victory. Everyone is settled: Dean Cathy Munsch is the killer. Case closed.
Oh, really? Well Munsch wants to see both Grace and Pete in the morning.
At the asylum ward, where Cathy’s now setup painting and relaxing with other patients, the place is rough. It’s part church, part snake pit. Seems like “therapy twice a day, plenty of time to rest and dream again” has started making a difference for the Dean. A bit of a revelation, really. Lots of creepy goodness here slash a few laughs.
Cathy breaks it down for the “crackerjack reporters“, letting them know nothing has been solved. Typical to the slasher sub-genre the police are being lazy, everybody is looking elsewhere than towards the proper directions. Either way, Pete and Grace are playing along for now. Munsch is way too smug to be the real killer, it’s as if she has no fear about any true conviction in the murders, so I’m inclined to keep believing she’s more a target of the Red Devil(s) than anything.
More good tackling of the slasher horror tropes – Pete ends up getting access to a ton of police files, pictures, et cetera, because of the detective’s utter laziness. I find Ryan Murphy & Co. do a great job lampooning so many aspects of the slasher movies we know and love (or hate).
Picture 8More Ouija board for the Chanels. It only makes them go a little crazy. I’m not sure now if any of them were moving the board because they’re freaked out. Then Hester drops a bomb, saying they have to kill Chanel #1. A couple awesome suggestions from a Sugar Party to poisoning her through the nipples. They’re wasting no time, though. After #1 falls asleep, the ladies plan on murdering her.
Then we get a trippy little sequence where Chanel #1 sees #2 come back. ALSO HILARIOUS! Carl Sagan sits at the front desk of Hell. #2 has to spend eternity picking food out of the Husseins beards with her teeth. SO MANY great lines of dialogue with Ariana Grande delivering them: “She was probably just mad ’cause Adolf Hitler was motorboating my boobs.” Best of all – #2 advises #1 about the upcoming murder plot the girls are planning, apparently off getting a bowling ball to smash her head in. Tricky, tricky! I love that there are supernatural-like aspects coming into play, makes things into even more classic slasher style.
Picture 9 Picture 10Hmm. We get a scene where Grace and Pete try to find more evidence. He mentions to her a feeling of faintness around blood. Is this purposeful on his part? Or is it a real clue to the fact he can’t be a Red Devil?
Doesn’t matter right now. Munsch is exonerated, back on campus. Little Feather doesn’t appear to be who she seems. Could she be the one who was on the phone with Gigi earlier? Is Feather a Red Devil in league with Gigi? There’s certainly something wild happening around the events at Kappa House.

Chanel #1: “See this is why you turdlets need me. You’re not even competent enough to kill one lousy sorority president.”

Lots of speculation on different parts. The Chanels start to believe Grace and Zayday (Keke Palmer) are the killers. Meanwhile, there’s Munsch and the cops/Grace and Pete who are believing Feather is the one responsible.
The finale of the episode has Dory Previn’s song “Beware of Young Girls” playing, as Munsch prances around back at home. SHOCKER: She did kill her husband! Holy christ, I did not see that coming. What a saucy minx Munsch is, she spun Feather around her finger almost from day one, and then she used the Red Devil(s) killings in order to kill her husband. On top of that, Feather is thrown into a glass jar at the asylum.
Picture 11Dean Munsch: “Here’s to young girls getting what they had coming to them. Yuu know what they say: nothing tastes as good as revenge feels. Actually they don’t say it, I just sort of made that up, but here’s something they do say: Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
Picture 12 Picture 13Such an awesome finale. This is one of my favourite episodes yet in this first season. Excited to see how things start expanding on the new developments in the next episode, “Mommie Dearest”, which I hope will bring more revelation.
Stay tuned with me, friends!

Scream Queens – Season 1, Episode 6: “Seven Minutes in Hell”

FOX’s Scream Queens
Season 1, Episode 6: 
“Seven Minutes in Hell”
Directed by Michael Uppendahl
Written by Ryan Murphy

* For a review of the previous episode, “Pumpkin Patch” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Beware of Young Girls” – click here
IMG_2175This week’s Scream Queens begins awesomely with a vote for Kappa House presidency, including the 1986 (recorded in ’84) Nu Shooz jam “I Can’t Wait”. Love this opener, especially when Jennifer (Breezy Eslin) goes on her mini rant about the autism spectrum. There are lots of little bits like this in the series, which I’m huge on, as Ryan Murphy & Co. slip in as much commentary on the 21st century as humanly possible.
“Seven Minutes in Hell” starts out strong with the vote hitting a tie between Chanel #1 (Emma Roberts) and Zayday Williams (Keke Palmer). At first, we’re led to assume Chanel is pissed about it all. However, pretty damn quick it’s revealed the whole thing is part of her plan; she actually wanted Zayday to win. All in an effort to save her own skin from getting chopped by the Red Devil.
With Zayday in as co-president, she and Grace (Skyler Samuels) are planning a slumber party. This way they may be able to draw out more details about the killings, knowing someone in Kappa House has information, at least SOMETHING, in regards to the Red Devil.
IMG_2177Seems as if Chad Radwell (Glen Powell) is having a change of heart. The frat bros all wonder why he’s spending so much time “porking old people“, after it’s revealed he has been sleeping with Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis), so he ends up feeling as if going back to Chanel #1 is the best option. Where will all that lead?
Back at Kappa, the girls are all playing spin the bottle. Chanel #3 (Billie Lourd) really wants to have a kiss with Sam (Jeanna Han) a.k.a Predatory Lez, so it comes to pass. They have a bit of romantic sort of moment together alone in the washroom.
Best of all is the explanation for why #3 wears the earmuffs (aside from the fact Lourd’s mother is Princess fucking Leia) – a guy who went to the college was obsessed with her ears, so much so he went mad and threatened to cut them off if he ever saw them again. Therefore: ear muffs, all the time for #3. Such a hilarious god damn scene.
IMG_2181Roger: “What do we do now?
Chad: “Only thing we can do: give him the dignity of watching him die.”
IMG_2178 IMG_2179Chad and the frat bros, including armless Caulfield, head over for a panty raid on the sorority house. Worked out for the Kappa girls, after they’re locked inside; turns out Chanel #1 had the whole place turned into one giant panic room. This ends up with all the guys and girls ready to play a bit of Truth or Dare. Except first, Caulfield gets the rest of his body chopped equally by the Red Devil.
Sadly, Sam isn’t long for this world. After revealing Chanel #3’s father is supposedly Charles Manson, #3 dares Sam to go down in the basement and lie in the bathtub – yes, the old bathtub from when a girl died giving birth a couple decades ago. So, you can be positive something bad will eventually happen. As Sam navigates her way through the darkness, the Devil is lurking. Best part? She asks to see who’s under the mask before dying, to which she reponds: “I knew it was you
Who could it be? Which of the two Red Devils is this one? And who is the other?
IMG_2182So many laugh out loud moments in this episode. One of my favourites is the argument between Jennifer and Chad concerning the logistics of Truth or Dare; he just can’t get his head wrapped around the fact Truth or Dare is not a legally binding agreement, that you could simply pick Truth and lie. I mean, it’s a brief part of the scene, but so, so funny.
Another crack up, also involving Jennifer, is when Wes Gardner (Oliver Hudson) shows up to take his daughter Grace away from danger. Zayday refuses to let him do so, making it known the sisters are sticking together. At that moment Jennifer slides in next to her, almost as if we’re expecting her to agree in solidarity – instead, when Zayday puts an arm around her Jennifer says she only moved because she let a fart rip “over there” and it smelled bad. I actually laughed to tears.

Chad: “Is there any like Crisco or cooking oil here? Just like, dry handies really bum me out.”

This episode also brings even more confusion to the question: who are the Red Devils?
First there’s Hester (Lea Michele) who finds Sam dead in the bathtub downstairs. Suspicious, considering she is a tad bit messed up in the head after her previous graveyard encounter with Chad a couple episodes ago.
Then not long after, Chanel #5 (Abigail Breslin) and Roger (Aaron Rhodes) go for their Seven Minutes in Heaven. And that ends up with more nasty murder. Roger is nail-gunned to death by the Red Devil, who then disappears into thin air once more. Is #5 in cahoots? She seemed awful terrified. Who knows.
Most intense scene comes when Chanel #1 and Zayday head into the labyrinthine passages below Kappa House. You can just almost feel a death coming. Sure enough, Zayday finds herself trapped with the Devil, wielding a dual axes, and I thought she was finished! But Chanel #1 comes back to save her, smashing the Devil in his (or her) head. This was super surprising, I honestly was expecting this would be the last we see of Zayday. Although, Chanel does admit it was selfish: “I’m gonna need the numbers.” I don’t care, though, Zayday is awesome and I didn’t want to see her go so soon – Palmer is great in her role.
IMG_2185Chanel #3: “You and I are going to outlive Chanel. Deal?
Chanel #5: “Deal
IMG_2186With this episode, there seems to be a solidarity among the Kappa House sisters. Best of all there is at least a tenuous partnership between Chanel #1 and Zayday, which may spell survival for them both. Who knows, though. It’s hard to tell who may live and who may die. So far, a lot of the murder has been focused mostly on people around the girls. Will next week see someone major die? Who’s next? Will we get more clues about who the Red Devils are, or more muddying of the waters?
IMG_2187 IMG_2188 IMG_2189Stay tuned and we’ll find out together. The next episode is titled “Beware of Young Girls”. Sadly we have to wait until November 3rd for it to air, which is strange. You’d think they would want to have an episode airing the week of Halloween!? Then again, we’ve already had bits and pieces of Devil’s Night on Scream Queens. Until then, head over to my American Horror Story reviews, maybe.

Scream Queens – Season 1, Episode 3: “Chainsaw”

FOX’s Scream Queens
Season 1, Episode 3:
 “Chainsaw”
Directed by Ian Brennan
Written by Ian Brennan (also writer of Cooties)

* For a review of the previous episode, “Hell Week” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Haunted House” – click here
IMG_2105The beginning of this episode sees Grace (Skyler Samuels) and Zayday (Keke Palmer) going to a convenience store, talking about Pete Martinez (Diego Boneta). Zayday in particular says she thinks Pete is a bit strange due to his concern with what’s been happening at Kappa House, but Grace assures her he’s a good guy.
Then they confront the Red Devil himself, standing silently near one of the coolers in the store. He comes at Grace and she uses a taser on him, right in the balls.
Suffice to say, the murders are taking their toll on everyone.

Back at Kappa, Chanel #1 (Emma Roberts) and Chanel #5 (Abigail Breslin) are face to face having issues. #5 has been getting laid recently, or Eiffel Towered as she puts it, so this has helped her popularity-wise. Therefore, #5 says goodbye to the original Chanel in spectacularly bitchy fashion.
But a little later, Chanel #1 concocts a plan in order to help get back in Chad’s favour after he breaks up with her. She decides to fix up the apparent trainwreck Hester Ulrich (Lea Michele), so then there’ll be less “losers” in Kappa; meaning, long story short, Chad will want her back when the place is more popular again.

At the same time there’s Grace and Zayday, who are looking for clues to what has been happening at both the sorority house and then at Chanel #2’s parents’ home, along with trust security guard Denis Hemphill (Niecy Nash). They eventually discover that none other than Chad Radwell (Glen Powell) was engaged in a sexual relationship with Chanel #2. UH OH!
Even better, Chanel #3 (Billie Lourd) tells Sam (Jeanna Han) her father is – wait for it – Charles Manson. Her mother supposedly connected with Manson while in jail and got pregnant. Is it nonsense or what? I’d love to think it’s not because that would be AMAZING, but I don’t know… I guess that would be too far out. Either way, this scene was hilarious. Billie Lourd is a crack up in this show!
IMG_2107I’ve got to say: Niecy Nash is god damn hilarious! The part where she talks about the luminol and horseradish would be good enough on paper, yet Nash takes it right off the page and makes it a riot. Because I honestly wondered – why the hell does she have that? – then Brennan’s writing makes it clearer, on top of that she acts the character hilariously. There are some typical moments you might expect from this character, but I think Nash is funny enough that she’s able to transcend that a little.
Glen Powell plays the character Chad Radwell excellently. The character’s meant to be an idiot, he is the archetypal fratboy douchebag. But you can have those types played badly. Powell is almost near perfect. Because there’s no subtlety about the character and somehow that’s spot on. Every time he’s onscreen I know there’ll be at least one good laugh.
On a comedy note again, Jamie Lee Curtis as Dean Cathy Munsch is both sinister at times and flat out hilarious at others.

Chanel #3: “Are you hitting on me? ‘Cause I heard munching box is what killed Michael Douglas

Again, the score of this series is incredible. One of the first real awesome bits of music out of “Chainsaw” comes when security guard Denise Hemphill (Niecy Nash) enters the scene. Just a great example of the electro-sound these episodes have going on, amongst other popular songs on the soundtrack and other horror-styled compositions. There’s more of this throughout the episode. For instance, when Chad and the fratbros are talking about the supposed death of Boone (Nick Jonas), there’s a perfect little piece with a minimalistic sound that’s sort of creepy horror-like music and at the same time it has the EDM excitement about it in a subtle way.
IMG_2108Things get awkward for Grace when her father Wes (Oliver Hudson) shows up as her film professor. She storms out, naturally a bit weirded out. Then it gets AMAZING and also hilariously satirical of film professor bullshit, as Professor Gardner shows them his choice for the greatest film ever – Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. He gives a silly little mini lecture about the final frames: “Vietnam, Watergate, the invention of the pill, the White Album…
Loved this whole scene because it throws a little suspicion out onto Wes himself, as he really enjoys Hooper’s film a bit too much. Not only that, as I already mentioned, this scene takes on the film professors/TAs/even students who try to take certain films and elevate them to high art when really they’re not even intended as such. I’ve been to film school and let me tell you: so many students and professors are this way. Many are not, but too many definitely are snobby, nose-in-the-air types. Though, Wes Gardner comes off a little creepy, a bit dangerous here. Will this lead to anything more? Or simply another red (pardon that pun) herring? Time will tell.
While Gigi Caldwell (Nasim Pedrad) still tries to inch her way into Wes’ arms, Dean Munsch is determined to step in the middle; she’s got a real thing for the new professor. Inviting Gigi to golf, they have a bit of a stand-off over Wes, though it seems the Dean has laid down the law. Regardless, the two of them plan on moving into Kappa House with the sorority for a week to keep an eye on things. Is this for safety, or is Dean Munsch more concerned her part in the tragedy 20 years might eventually come to light?
Once they’re finally rooming together, Munsch puts the screws to Gigi with her white noise machine, her array of dressings at dinner (prompting Gigi to laugh hard when one of the bottles makes a fart sound), all over handsome Professor Wes.

Professor Wes Gardner: “Aren’t we all running from the chainsaws in our past?

By far my favourite part of this episode is the mascot, Coney, a.k.a Aaron Cohen (David Simpson). There’s a real great montage of scenes happening while WHAM!’s “I’m Your Man” rages in the background, which culminates with the Red Devil infiltrating young Cohen’s room, attacking him with a chainsaw, and naturally, sawing his head off. Coincidence the chainsaw was used after Professor Gardner’s class? Hmm.
IMG_2109 There are other things going on in “Chainsaw” aside from the horror and bits of violence thrown in the mix, such as more exposition from Grace and Pete; she thinks Chad may be the killer, or at least is an interesting suspect. Luckily Pete is a sneaky Pete – he’s been doing a bit of digging. He found the name of a girl from Kappa who dropped out, two credits shy of a degree, not too long after the mysterious death at the sorority.
Decent stuff happening. Even poor Zayday is being looked at as suspect with security guard Denise doing footwork on her background; not that she has much to be worried about, as far as I’m concerned. Denise has good intentions, good detective she is not. God damn funny, though.
But what I love is the scene set to “Backstreet’s Back” with the fratbros fighting the Red Devil; only there are TWO Red Devils. They come wielding chainsaws. Just as it looks like Chad Radwell is going to get the saw, one of the bros runs in to save him only to have both his arms lopped off, the effects like the wonderful “Tis but a scratch” scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Just a gnarly awesome sequence all around.
IMG_2111 IMG_2113 The Red Devil – only one it seems this time – shows up back at Kappa House when Gigi opts to leave her and Dean Munsch’s room to sleep on the couch. Wes gets a chainsaw to the arm trying to defend Gigi (is he the other Red Devil? Key horror trope would be to have him injured, y’know… so it looks more convincing). Even more than that, Wes grabs the chainsaw, after the Red Devil disappears into thin air, and tells Dean Munsch: “You’re the killer
Overcompensation? I don’t know. I have an itching suspicion Wes is not who he appears. Though, that can be said for a lot of these characters.
IMG_2114Next up is “Haunted House”, directed by Bradley Buecker (American Horror Story). Stay tuned fellow fans, we’ll see more blood and hilariousness together next time!

Scream Queens – Season 1, Episode 2: “Hell Week”

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

* For a review of the previous episode, “Pilot” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Chainsaw” – click here
IMG_2031The “Pilot” ended with the Red Devil – masked and mysterious – running over deaf, now dead, Taylor Swift – a.k.a Tiffany Something. This was a great close to the first episode, now we’re heading into the nasty aftermath at the Kappa House sorority.
Really great opening in this episode, “Hell Week”, as Dean Cathy Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) brings us into the modern world. I think people aren’t giving this show enough credit. Not that it’s reinventing the wheel, so the speak. However, Dean Munsch is a no nonsense type of person. She lays out the silly social media world in which we currently live, hurtling headlong into the 21st century, as well as this new foolish sense of self-entitlement people have nowadays. There’s an incredible skewering of youth culture in the beginning, which I found

Lea Michele is someone I’ve never seen before personally, other than her one-off episode appearance on Sons of Anarchy (the Season 7 episode “Smoke ’em If You Got ’em”). But straight up, she has been slaying me as Hester Ulrich here. Everything from the body language to her weird and matter-of-fact style of delivery has me cracking up almost each time she’s in a scene. Plus, Hester is kinda of creepy.
When Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts), the remaining Chanels #3 (Billie Lourd) whose earmuffs and dry tone
Furthermore, Denise Hempville (Niecy Nash) shows up in this episode, hired by clueless national sorority president Gigi Caldwell (Nasim Pedrad; also a crack-up). Denise is not so much sassy, as black women so often end up being described, she’s a straight to the point type. I swear, when she got on about the walkie talkie, all that stuff, it was almost perfect.
Some reviews and opinions I’ve seen online keep saying that the comedy outweighs the horror. Is that a bad thing some times? I don’t think so. Not to say there isn’t any horror, but definitely the comedy is more a focus at certain points than blood, mayhem, murder.
IMG_2033A new, strange relationship brews between Dean Munsch and the father of Grace Gardner (Skyler Samuels). When Wes Gardner (Oliver Hudson) meets with the Dean, she gets a bit frisky. Either way, Wes wants a job on campus so that he can be closer to his daughter, to keep her safe. At the same time Dean Munsch both wants to keep everything covered up as long as possible on her campus, and also wants to find her way into Wes’ pants apparently.
Meanwhile, Grace is snooping around the sorority house. She’s told a mysteriously locked room is only able to be opened by the president, who has the key. Later, Grace finds some of the old relics of the 20-year old death at Kappa House.
SHOCKER! Dean Munsch, and also Ms. Bean (Jan Hoag), helped to cover up the dead girl in the bathtub back then. Honestly, I didn’t actually see that one coming. Mostly I was thinking the Dean was one of those tough yet ultimately helpless authority figures, trying to stave off the media and the coming onslaught of public opinion that might negatively affect her college/its reputation. Turns out, the ole Dean is actually trying to cover up the fact she covered up a young girls’ death, the birth of that baby in the tub. Nice, interesting twist.
IMG_2034 IMG_2035People can say what they want, this show constantly makes me laugh.
The scene between Boone (Nick Jonas) and fellow douche extraordinaire Chad (Glen Powell) is unbelievably funny. I’m able to separate my personal feelings about certain types of people and how I can enjoy a character, even if I don’t particularly LIKE who they are. For instance, these guys – Boone and Chad. They’re such outright knobs, yet they’re hilarious. When Boone asks to get in bed with him, then there’s all the wiener talk… I mean, it’s not even immature, it’s a fucking gut buster.
IMG_2037Why don’t you go in there and ogle his big old broner?

Grace is getting closer to Pete Martinez (Diego Boneta), self-styled investigative reporter. Poor Pete gets attacked by the Red Devil himself. Waking up, he’s hung in front of the school by his pants with a note saying “MYOB” (mind your own business). Only problem is that back in his dorm room, Grace discovers a Red Devil costume in his closet; he claims it’s for mascot duties during football games. But Grace is tainted – she asks how old he is, discovering him to be on the verge of twenty: “exactly how old the baby would be if it grew up“. She storms off and leaves poor Pete behind – for all his faults, we the audience know Pete is not the Red Devil, as we’ve seen him be attacked by the Red Devil.
Or will this series play with our expectations? Did we really see Pete get knocked out? Or did we see what Pete wanted us to see? We can only wait and find out. Personally, I don’t think it’s him as the scene with him being knocked out would be HIGHLY misleading and manipulative.
IMG_2038Personally, I’m loving the music from Mac Quayle in this series so far. He’s done music programming and composed additional music for films like Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive and Only God Forgives, as well as the Season 4 episode “Monsters Among Us” from American Horror Story, the episode “Crutchfield” from the fantastic series The KnickFary Cry 4, and My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. Not to mention Quayle has composed music for another twelve episodes of AHS and the new breakout television series Mr. Robot. Here, he instills many of the scenes with either a pop-ish twinkle, or in others it becomes this ominous, foreboding, even grating at times, score which takes us into the heart of the horror in these episodes. While things remain light and fluffy in a horror-comedy/parody/satire way, Quayle’s music really adds some extra weight to certain scenes and moments with a neat style that’s all over the place, in a great way.
IMG_2039Worst comes when the Dean sees Wes meet Gigi – they go off for coffee together, as he leaves his daughter and the girls alone (funny how he just drops safety as soon as Gigi hits on him), and as Munsch watches them with an evil eye.
The Red Devil tries to grab Chanel #1, but she manages to wriggle free and get back to her sorority girlfriends. When they all go back upstairs – hilariously without new security guard Denise or her partner Shondell (Deneen Tyler) – they find a threat to Kappa House scrawled in blood red on the wall. I found Denise (Niecy Nash) awesome in these few moments, just absolutely dropping the ball and having a laugh doing it! When she finds Shondell dead in the cop car, having been visited by the Red Devil, it was HILARIOUS. Great scene.
Poor Boone, though. He finds himself confronted with the Red Devil – “What am I supposed to be scared?“. Yes, Nick Jonas – yes, you ought to be scared!!
The other frat bros find Boone, throat cut, laid out perfectly over the dining room table. Very creepy, very cool, and all set to “I Wear My Sunglasses At Night”.
IMG_2040IMG_2041BUT A BIG SHOCK AT THE END OF THE EPISODE!
When the Red Devil goes to the morgue, which I’m assuming that is, where Boone’s body is being kept after death. The Devil opens up the cabinet where he’s being kept: AND BOONE IS ALIVE! Honestly, never expected that. Wow. A great finisher to the episode, as Boone pulls the slit neck makeup off and whips it away. What does this mean? Who is the Red Devil, or better yet: who’s Boone, really? They’re connected and we’ve got to wait another week to find out.
IMG_2042 IMG_2043Stay tuned, friends! I’m loving this series already. Let those who don’t enjoy it not enjoy. The rest of us can have a little fun with some twistedness mixed in. See you next week for “Chainsaw”, which is directed by

Scream Queens – Season 1, Episode 1: “Pilot”

FOX’s Scream Queens
Season 1, Episode 1
: “Pilot”
Directed by Ryan Murphy
Written by Ian Brennan (Cooties)/Brad Falchuk/Ryan Murphy

* For a review of the next episode, “Hell Week” – click here
IMG_2013Just to start, I loved Ian Brennan’s writing and acting in Cooties, as well as the fact I’m a huge fan of the Brad Falchuck-Ryan Murphy FX series American Horror Story (all my reviews so far are here). So I walked in biased, but still, I do think the best parts of these three writers show up in the Pilot episode for the new series Scream Queens.
The opening of the episode is one that sort of hammers you. Not even the immediate blood – which is proved to be something else than you might originally believe it is – but afterwards, once you see the girl in the bathtub, after having given birth in the tub, that’s when things rocked me. I paused and went “Whoa”. In a great, horrific way.
An immediate thing I loved about this Pilot is that the horror is so obviously there, yet it’s a good riot. Some viewers said it tried too hard. I don’t think so, personally. Right from the minute all the people at the party were rocking out to TLC’s “Waterfalls”, I thought to myself: I’m going to love this.

Who told you you could have a baby here tonight?

So the setup is, after the shocking death of this young mother in the bathtub, twenty years later the horror TRULY begins!
Straight away, after those two decades have passed, we meet Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts) – possibly the most irritating and heinous young woman we’ll ever come across. She’s the sorority queen, the one who tortures young pledges (is that what they’re called? I don’t know; that frat/sorority shit is so dumb – great fodder for comedy-horror). Her character comes across as heavy handed at first, but I think it’s going to serve the story well. We’re already seeing these unlikeable characters, not strange within the horror genre, and no doubt SOME of them – probably not Chanel as Emma Roberts seems to be the star here – will find death at the hands of a masked murderer.
Aside from Chanel, there are her unfortunate numbered others – Chanel #2, #3, and oddly #5 (respectively: Ariana Grande, Billie Lourd, Abigail Breslin); there was a #4, but she got meningitis and obviously couldn’t hack it, right? These Chanels are the ones who take the brunt of Chanel #1’s awfulness. There’s also Ms. Bean a.k.a White Mammie (Jan Hoag) who is there to seemingly please Chanel constantly and do anything she ever wants, no matter if it’s important or nonsense on a whim.
Aside from the “bitches”, there’s the new girl on campus Grace Gardner (Skyler Samuels) and her wonderfully energetic roommate Zayday Williams (Keke Palmer). Grace has a very loving father, Wes (Oliver Hudson) but her mother passed away. So with the sympathetic view of Grace from the beginning, it’s easy to see she’ll likely not die – at least not as early as any of the other mean spirited, awful young college girls.
IMG_2017I also like the other random characters such as Nasim Pedrad’s hilarious Gigi Caldwell, with the strangest fashion sense I’ve ever witnessed; she’s always a treat, whether on Saturday Night Live or elsewhere. Also, I think Lea Michele is flat out HILARIOUS as Hester. From the very first moment we see her character, the way she talks, the freeze frame: fucking funny as hell. She’s awesome.
Furthermore, I thought Diego Boneta as Pete is a good addition. I don’t think I’ve ever personally seen him in anything before, but he’s going to serve well as a decent male character, I think. We’ll see as the time goes on. The stuff with Pete and Grace was good, as well as just the dynamic between Pete and Chanel; the fact Pete is a bit of a reporter works in a fun way with everything else going on at the campus.
IMG_2018 IMG_2019 IMG_2020There is a pretty good setup of despicable characters mostly, which only extends once we start to meet some of the other students around the campus. Like Chad Radwell (Glen Powell) and his sidekick Boone (Nick Jonas), the DUDEBROS. Oh man. What’s awesome here, though, is the fact Murphy and Co. are setting up all these types to be bait, to be victims; Murphy particularly knows horror, so well, as does Falchuk and I’m starting to believe Brennan does, as well. So we’re getting this cast of killable characters introduced in comedic fashion. Instead of following typical horror formula all the way, as a television series Scream Queens has the ability to flesh out ALL the characters, including some of the more nasty and hateable ones. This is something I particularly find interesting because usually in horrors, especially a lot of 1980s films, these asshole-like characters often get killed off too quickly to ever be anything but annoying. I’m not saying you’ll grow to like these characters, not all of them, however, I do think even the frat douchebags and the sorority assholes will come to be more than simply one-dimensional meat for kill scenes.

Not only do we get Jamie Lee Curtis in this show, as the acidic and sly Dean Cathy Munsch, but we get Curtis doing some excellent work. Granted, it’s only the pilot. Still I see the kernels of an excellently developed character here. Just the way she lays in bed with that young guy, the banter, the joint smoking, plus Curtis looks AMAZING (and I think always has); I think that scene alone is wonderful. But it’s the back and forth between Dean Munsch and Chanel Oberlin (Roberts) which truly got me going. Because it was funny! Not only funny, Curtis plays well off Roberts in terms of their characters – the older woman who has seen it all, knows the tricks, probably pulled a ton of them herself VS. the younger, brattier, more foolishly confident and conniving sorority queen with, sadly, the world in her palm. There’ll be lots of good stuff between these two, you can count on that, and it will only get better as the episodes wear on. At least here’s to hoping.
IMG_2025Let’s talk cinematography and score. I personally LOVED the look and sound of the entire episode! There’s an ominous score at parts in the opening sequence. It’s once the synth, poppy score kicks in during the introduction to Chanel that the music takes hold. I’m a sucker for fun, electronic style music in a score. Works wonders here. Then we get the dark stuff again during moments of horror or tension.
In terms of cinematography, there are moments where I definitely get an American Horror Story vibe. Not frequently, though, honestly. I dig the way this has a similar feel in terms of darkness, but the look has this very neat and tidy thing going on which is different. There’s also this beautiful contrast between that pristine, pretty style and the horror which turns up over and over. It makes the horror – dare I say – much more fun.
IMG_2026Finally, I have to mention the GNARLY kills which I totally dig.
The deep frier death of Ms. Bean (Hoag) was so nasty and incredible. When she pulled her face out, the deep fried bits of her skin were so wild. Not only that, I absolutely cried – I mean tears for real running out of my eyes – when Zayday (Palmer) responds “Yes you do“. Watch it, you’ll know what I mean. Perfect delivery. This also goes to show how Keke Palmer is going to be another excellent part of the cast, in my opinion. Funny lady!
IMG_2024 IMG_2022Ariana Grande’s kill scene was absolutely a riot. I thought it made fun of modern day youth culture – smartphones particularly – so well and it had me in stitches.
There’s definitely a Sinister homage with the sequence at the end, with the ride-on lawn mower. One of the first things I thought, as the camera catches the light on front of the mower in that perspective view, is one of the found footage tapes from Sinister; not a rip-off, but a nice homage to a pretty awesome modern horror movie. I also think the earlier scene with the burning skin was a very Cabin Fever-ish homage, but maybe not, though I really suspect it leans in that direction.
IMG_2016 IMG_2028 IMG_2029This was a fun episode. Not perfect, but definitely sets a wild, funny, and at times horrific tone we’re not always treated to on television. Looking forward to watching and reviewing the follow-up episode, “Hell Week”.
Stay tuned with me! More #ScreamQueens to come.