Tagged Niecy Nash

Scream Queens – Season 1, Episode 13: “The Final Girl(s)”

FOX’s Scream Queens
Season 1, Episode 13: “The Final Girl(s)”
Directed by Brad Falchuk
Written by Brad Falchuk/Ian Brennan/Ryan Murphy

* For a review of the previous episode, “Dorkus” – click here

 


With a seemingly shocking reveal by Hester (Lea Michele), high heel in her eye at the end of the penultimate episode “Dorkus”, #5 (Abigail Breslin) was pointed to as the other Red Devil Killer.
This finale episode begins in January 2016, with Zayday (Keke Palmer) and Grace (Skyler Samuels) at the head of the sorority. Even further, Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) is there smiling. Plus Hester (Lea Michele), who has an eye patch, and she claims via voice-over she grew up in a mental institution, she is the only Chanel left. Her 20-year plan went off just as planned. Wow! Really? I was all bent on #5 actually being the other killer, but I’m slightly surprised now with Hester’s revelations. We get great flashbacks to Gigi Caldwell (Nasim Pedrad) teaching little Boone and Hester in the asylum all about chainsaws and hammers, and the terrifying things for which they’re quite useful. A ton of fun moments with Hester in the asylum, ranging from darkly comical to full-on horrific. Hester specifically talks about her rockin’ bod, therefore it was necessary to find a “cloak of social invisibility” which came to be the huge brace.

 


Hester: “What Ive noticed is that the more weird and gross you are, the less people wanna know about you. No one asks the kid with terrible acne what their favorite movie is or where they were born.”

 


Then Gigi and Hester found the Red Devil costume, ironically killing the Red Devil as their first victim. Very eerie scene where Gigi stabs him to death, sort of shrouded in a little darkness and looking completely insane. The filling in of back story is good fun, explaining how Hester and Boone (Nick Jonas) never went to high school, so it became hard for them to get into college; Hester slipped in due to Munsch’s idiocy, Boone simply showed up among the Dickie Dollar Scholas and pretended to be a student. Best of all is watching the eye patched Hester doing a voice-over, as Grace and Zayday talk to the new sorority pledges.
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Gigi: “Hammers are good for bashing people in the skull and watching them bleed to death.”
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Then we’re back to Hester preparing to jab herself in the eyeball with the high heel shoe. A perfectly nasty little scene. We see her being rushed out by paramedics, still claiming #5 is the Red Devil Killer. Everything is looking rough for poor #5, how could I have doubted her? Well Chanel #1 (Emma Roberts) and #3 (Billie Lourd) are especially convinced, throwing all kinds of accusations at her. New Chief Denise Hemphill (Niecy Nash) strolls in talking about a male body with chiseled abs and possibly a “gay face“, even though everyone is already aware Boone is dead and gone. Still, Grace and Zayday are convinced of Hester’s guilt. Then the crazy shows up, her eye patched with gauze, claiming she was home schooled and that’s why her high school transcript was faked, et cetera. She continually blames #5, trying to sway everyone to believing her obviously fabricated truth. Then up shows Hester’s father and mother, so she says; it’s obviously a fake family, they even say they’re in the CIA, but they’re clearly a couple actors. Chanel #5’s parents show up and they’re not more interested in her than any of her sorority sisters are. They give up a story about her being adopted from Gigi: a flashback sees Hester going to #5’s parents, they actually hate her claiming “our daughter sucks“. So many ridiculous notions flying around. Denise still thinks Zayday is the killer, too.

 


Chanel #1: “I think youre a serial killer because I know you, #5! You bite your own toenails!
Chanel #5: “Okay, I am flexible. Why would I waste my money buying toenail clippers when God already blessed me with toenail clippers in the form of teeth in my mouth?

 


On top of everything, #3 is accused as being in cahoots with #5. We get more hilarious Billie Lourd here, talking about bathroom duties: “I was past number two. I had to go: number three.” I mean, I actually fucking choked laughing at this part. Especially when Lourd refers to taking a dump as “laying pipe“. Then there are more inclusions of #3’s father as being Charles Manson – letters from prison talking about killing people, strapping bombs to people, and so on. Another laugh out loud moment: “Dirty Helen.” So much back and forth between Chanels #3 and #5 and Hester, with occasional interjection from Chief of Police Denise Hemphill. But basically what happens is Hester accuses all the Chanels, even #1, of being in cahoots together. Except we actually see Hester dressed up as #1, buying things at a home improvement store. Not like we don’t already know what’s happening. But I still dig how they’ve combed through so much fabrication on Hester’s part.
The sequence afterwards where the Chanels are arrested, perfectly by a bunch of deputized male strippers in police officer uniforms, all of which is accompanied by a great tune.
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Flash to May 2016. Dean Munsch is very happy, about the campus open and free, the Chanels having their bail revoked, and other fun stuff. Turns out Chad Radwell (Glen Powell) and Denise Hemphill have broken up their long steamy affair, including her TLC “Waterfalls” quotes; great return to the pilot with reference to the song. “We got too close to the sun baby, we shined too bright,” she says. To which Chad replies: “I promise Ill never bang anybody like I banged you.” Moreover, Chad starts a ridiculously abbreviated charity in the name of Roger, Dodger, Earl Grey, and the boys. He can’t exactly explain to which charity the money will go, “I dont know all of them.” Then there’s Munsch with a book out on “new new feminism”, making lots of light of her past terrible year. So when will all this break? When will the lives of these survivors be impacted by the reality that Hester was one of the Red Devil Killers?
Then, Dean Munsch reveals to Hester she knows the truth. She remembers the baby in the bathtub, the girl, she knew it was Hester all grown up. To all this, Hester replies she needed a real father, she needed good influence instead of the painful upbringing she experienced. Even with all her amorality, Munsch knows the death of all those people was wrong, they did not deserve her wrath. Only Hester strikes a tentative deal: she won’t say anything about Munsch covering up the death of her mother those two decades ago, or the suspicious death of her husband, if dear Cathy won’t say anything about her murderous rampage. Deal struck. For now.

 


Grace is showing Wes (Oliver Hudson) around the new sorority house, including lifelines for girls like his wife who were forced into situations like happened twenty years ago, when she gave birth and died in that bathtub. They have lots of nice father-daughter catching up, including some typical hilariousness.
Then the courtroom scene with the Chanels is pure comedy gold. Especially when we see the jury’s ballot as marked NOT GUILTY, before Chanel #1 makes a scene, then the jury foreman crosses those decisions out and marks off GUILTY on “all 47 charges“. There are amazing instances of surreal comedy throughout Scream Queens and this whole scene is a perfect example of that. Even while the Chanels are complete pieces of shit, there’s something tragic about them being sent away to an asylum while Hester still walks around, murder in her heart. My favourite part of the episode is when the Chanels are shipped off to the asylum, as Simple Minds’ hit “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” plays throughout. Even after a bit Chanel #1 & #5 become best friends, as well as they all gorge on food because there are “no boys to stay skinny for“. Most laughs here: Chanel becomes House President of the asylum, toasting with prune wine brewed in lock-up. I mean, how can you not laugh? Such a downright funny sequence.

 


In the night at the asylum, Chanel tries to go to sleep. Only above her bed appears the Red Devil Killer. And so comes the end of Season 1.
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I know others weren’t as pleased as I am, but I’ve got to say: I loved this finish. The whole thing didn’t wrap up completely, so Season 2 will come organically out of this finale. I’m excited to see where Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan take their unique horror-comedy vision for the next season. People are saying it was a predictable end. Why does everything have to be so twisty that you NEVER see it coming? Part of the fun of a slasher movie, and in turn a slasher styled series, is that you keep guessing. Sure, maybe you guessed with blind luck early on. Or maybe you guessed, then second guessed yourself, over and over, until finally your first guess was right. Either way, it’s all part of the fun. If you didn’t enjoy it, be done; don’t tune into Season 2. Me, I’ll be back with bells on. Looking forward to more hilarity and horror mixed together, with new adventures for the remaining Final Girls to look forward to down the road.
Will Dean Munsch pay for her indiscretions? Will Chanel #1 survive? Is Hester still the only one in the Red Devil Killer costume, or does she have new help? We’ll see next year.

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Scream Queens – Season 1, Episode 8: “Mommie Dearest”

FOX’s Scream Queens
Season 1, Episode 8: “Mommie Dearest”
Directed by Michael Uppendahl
Written by Ian Brennan

* For a review of the previous episode, “Beware of Young Girls” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Ghost Stories” – click here
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After a couple weeks hiatus, I’m catching up on Scream Queens.
Grace (Skyler Samuels) is now meeting with Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis). Munsch promised to tell Grace about the baby in the bathtub at Kappa House a couple decades ago. Though, the dean is convinced Feather is the Red Devil Killer. But Grace is smart, she isn’t letting any of this go because there’s obviously more to Munsch and her secrets than the older woman is revealing.
Afterwards, we get an amazing homage from Curtis to her mother Janet Leigh, via a Psycho-styled shower scene. I always love the homage Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk do with American Horror Story. Here, they get to do more, plus there’s Curtis herself with a personal link. Even further, The Red Devils show up. Munsch manages to down the first one, tricking him(or her) with the shower. Then comes a showdown with her and the other killer.
But OH SHIT! Up shows another Red Devil, even a person dressed like Antonin Scalia. She proceeds to reel off a story of a former lover, in a way only Curtis can. Before kicking Red Devil and Scalia ass, spouting off some things I’m sure many would love to say to Scalia. It’s almost a surreal scene in some ways.
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Chanel #1 (Emma Roberts) believes Zayday (Keke Palmer) is the killer, and the “walking jawline” Grace is helping. Esther believes “those who pill together kill together”, while Chanel #5 (Abigail Breslin) comes up with a ridiculous rearrangement of Zayday’s name as proof of a lust for murder. I can’t get enough of #1’s incredibly vicious talk. Reminds me absolutely of that silly sorority sister who wrote the vicious note people passed around online awhile back; Michael Shannon did a reading of it for Funny or Die. Either way, she’s hilarious and pulls the role off well.
Denise Hemphill (Niecy Nash) has a funny little exchange with my favourite Chanel, #3 (Billie Lourd). These two are awesome together, even if only for a minute or two in this early scene. They’re each quirky on their own ways. Furthermore, Denise takes her up on a sketchy offer to prove Zayday is the killer.

Denise: “Well what’chu mean by ridiculous? ‘Cause I can get pretty ridiculous.”

Dean Munsch talks a “hypothetical” circle around Grace, obviously only protecting herself above anyone on campus. She thinks “this school can survive a few serial killings”. She does not, however, believe they can go on without her. Typical narcissist. All she gives up is a name – Sophia Doyle. At the same time, Munsch brings out the point Grace is a bit narcissistic herself; she wants to solve the murders, sure, but above all else she’s so concerned there is a mystery in her past linking her to all this murder.
Jennifer (Breezy Eslin) is pissed over a mishap at a candle sale. She is beyond hilarious. Although, she tells Denise Hemphill about a story Zayday told her once concerning a want for revenge. But turns out, Zayday’s only in the bathroom. She heard it all. Even more hilarious!
Maybe worse for Zayday overall, one of the Red Devils shows up while Jennifer is recording a video for her candle blog. Bye, bye, candle girl. Stabbed to death, done.
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Chad Radwell (Glenn Powell) is trying to do the Night of a Thousand Compliments in a flashback, it’s a “work in progress” Chanel #1 says. I laughed so hard. Immediately following this crack-up, the girls and Denise find Jennifer, dead, posed on the table downstairs with candle wax all over her, lit wicks and all. Awesome and nasty little death pose.
Pete Martinez (Diego Boneta) is still trying to help Grace out. They’re still trying to figure out what the supposed Hag was doing, where she may have ended up. Back to the asylum they go asking the painting lady, from when Munsch was locked away, about the Hag of Shady Lane – she produces a couple pictures, suggesting Gigi Caldwell (Nasim Pedrad) as the one and only. Also, one of them suggests two babies, not just one.
Cut to Dean Munsch suspends all operations at the campus at a press conference. Then there’s a large ceremony celebrating Jennifer, a ton of candles lit underneath the big tree, everyone waving a candle in their hands.
But the Red Devils have won. The place is shut down, and none other than Chanel #1 is probably the most worried: about Zayday, about her popularity, and about Chad Radwell not wanting to bone her anymore.

Chanel #1: “First of all, I’m an American: I don’t have to understand anything.”
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Grace confronts Gigi back at the Kappa kitchen. Cool as a cucumber, Gigi shrugs most of it off acting as if nothing at all is amiss. Moreover, she completely dismisses Grace, who’s really concerned about her father Wes (Oliver Hudson). Then Gigi reveals they’re supposedly engaged now, ring on her finger and the whole nine yards. Of course, we know the difference. We know Gigi is involved somehow, meeting with one of the Red Devils before.
Chanel #1 has a couple Scotland Yard Inspectors on the case trying to figure out what Zayday is up to. They find nothing, naturally. However, they’ve got some interesting information concerning Grace.
Then there’s Wes, who somehow fell into an engagement due to “mind-blowing sex”. He isn’t even really onboard with it all, mostly just a bit of a dumb man being led around by his dick. Worst of all, after Grace leaves he gives the mirror a terrifying look, which speaks volumes.
At Kappa House, Chanel #1 throws down information the Scots found out about Grace’s mother, right to Grace herself. Apparently the “Waterfalls is my jam” girl was Grace’s mom. Wes and Bethany met at Kappa the night of that big party all those years ago. Later on, Bethany went wild, drunk, and died in a car crash. Above the pain Grace feels, at least she’s not that baby in the bathtub.
There’s a big coup at Kappa, though. Mama Denise has declared her rule, even going so far as to say she’ll steal Chad out from under Chanel #1 (as you remember: they’ve banged). So I thought that was truly funny.
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Finally the truth about Grace’s mom comes out from Wes himself. I still can’t tell what his deal is because there’s a dark streak in him. Regardless of whether or not he is an actual dangerous person, Red Devil, whatever, I still see the darkness in Wes. Plus, he was at the party that night. Could he have had a hand in something? Or is it merely a thin connection to the Kappa House tragedy?
There’s also the dynamic between Wes and Gigi. She is clearly involved with the Red Devils, so I doubt Wes is, too. What I’m interested in now is how Gigi is going to affect both Wes (Weston as she takes to calling him) and Grace. She’s trying to talk Wes into doing something drastic, possibly committing his daughter to an asylum. I hope this is not the case. Yet Gigi will go as far as she has to in order to cover her own secrets.
Chanel #1 actually empathizes with Grace, taking her out for a coffee date. She talks about her own horrible mother, how she’s a viciously atrocious woman. Great little flashback to a tiny Chanel, whose fashion was always impeccable. To see Chanel sort of apologize is impressive. She’s still got oblivion in her eyes, but I feel perhaps there’s a common bond forming, a light one, between the two. If only for Chanel to keep her enemy close.
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Then Boone (Nick Jonas) reappears at a gym, pounding the weights with an EVERYDAY I’M MUSTLING shirt. He says, “I can’t live like this all I do is workout and kill people.” We’re getting more about what happened earlier: Gigi was the one who had the Scalia mask on earlier. Now, it seems the other Red Devils are about to take her out. Will they succeed? Or what will Gigi do now that she’s being threatened further?
Stay tuned with me for the next episode, “Ghost Stories”, also directed by Michael Uppendahl. See you soon!

Scream Queens – Season 1, Episode 5: “Pumpkin Patch”

FOX’s Scream Queens
Season 1, Episode 5:
 “Pumpkin Patch”
Directed & Written by Brad Falchuk

* For a review of the previous episode, “Haunted House” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Seven Minutes in Hell” – click here
Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.49.41 PMThe fifth episode of Scream Queens kicks off with Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts) and the Chanels – new addition Hester (Lea Michele), #5 (Abigail Breslin), & #3 (Billie Lourd) – they’re planning a Pumpkin Patch Fundraiser. Both Fergies – the Dutchess and the Black Eyed Peas frontwoman – are coming, little whoops from #3. Seems they’re mostly letting the original Chanel down, yet she’s laying down the law.
The Wives of Fallen Presidents = theme for the Chanels. Hilarious and morbid all at once. Of course, Chanel #1 chooses Jackie Onassis – stylish as she was certainly. More constant bickering between #5 and #1, though, now Hester is puckering up and kissing lots of ass becoming the new go-to-girl for Chanel #1.
Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.50.06 PMFar as I remember, this is the first episode we’re treated to the full-on Scream Queens theme song and an elaborate credits sequence. At first I kinda thought it was a little lame, but it grew on me. More great music comes out in this episode in terms of the overall score throughout various scenes, so I’m loving the electronic stuff from the credits to everything else. Works so well for the show’s aesthetic.
Back to the task at hand – Zayday Williams (Keke Palmer) has been abducted and everyone is gathered at the sorority, or at least everyone of interest and pertinent to anything happening. Chad Radwell (Glen Powell) gives another ridiculously foolish speech, trying to plea for an open campus instead of Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) opting to cancel Halloween and shut the place down. A curfew is enforced and the Chanels are pissed, as the Pumpkin Patch Fundraiser will not get to go ahead.
Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.50.26 PMHester is rounding up Chanel #5, as well as others such as Jennifer (Breezy Eslin), in order to try and oust Chanel #1 from the presidency.
In class, #1 gets bothered by her professor before getting taken out by police to one of their cars. Hilarious sequence, I loved it.
Then a quick shift to Zayday, who finds herself holed up in some basement-like room. Down the halls, we hear Culture Club, Boy George belting it out, as the Red Devil’s workshop is presented to us. He stands up above Zayday, holding a puppy, just like Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs. Awesomely executed homage, all around in this scene.
Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.51.13 PMPete (Diego Boneta) and Grace (Skyler Samuels) are worried about Zayday, obviously. But everyone else seems pretty unconcerned. In fact they’re downright horrid and could not care any less. The Chanels are all pretending to eat and way too busy to be bothered with anything else – like a twisted version of the Lost Boys from Hook except they were poor and actually had no food to begin with, unlike these stuck-up sorority ladies.
Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.50.36 PMWhen Grace goes for help trying to find her father, dear ole dad Wes (Oliver Hudson) is in bed with Gigi Caldwell (Nasim Pedrad). Awkward bedroom interruption scene, as Grace and Pete walk in on the two of them banging. Real good moment, though. A crack up; Pedrad in particular makes me laugh out loud often.
Even better scene is right afterwards when Chanel #1 is talking away, as if to her Chanels, yet it’s in jail. She has a few “besties for life” after having impressed one of them with Chanel-O-Ween presents last year. I mean, if you don’t find this stuff funny, totally fine. But to me, it is hilarious! I’m not even a big horror-comedy fan yet I find myself consistently in laughter while watching Scream Queens.
Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.51.45 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.51.52 PMDenise Hemphill (Niecy Nash) and Dean Munsch are bonding, hilariously. Nash is one of my favourites on this series so far, her character is way too funny. Security guard Denise is stuck on Zayday actually being the killer, though, we clearly know the difference, don’t we?
And while everyone sensible, or half sensible, is trying to find Zayday – in some way – Chanel #1 and #5 are still having at it, back and forth. Ultimately, #1 wants her Pumpkin Patch and she will god damn have it.
Roger (Aaron Rhodes) and Dodger (Austin Rhodes) help #5 light all the Jack-O-Lanterns for the fundraiser. The designer ended up making a life-size replica of The Shining‘s hedge-maze, full of snow, so we get another fun homage in this episode. As the Red Devil chases them all, Roger and Dodger give us lots to laugh at, arguing with #5, making her choose one of them. However, eventually one of the brothers gets disemboweled by the Red Devil, his guts flopped out in his lap. Sick! Awesome scene in the maze, both full of laughter and again harkening back to Kubrick’s creepy (loose)adaptation of Stephen King.
Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.52.26 PMThe rest of the crew – Pete, Grace, Wes & Co. – go searching for Zayday, taking along the proper weaponry and defense mechanisms. They find their way to where we saw the Red Devil earlier, in his/her workshop, and even stand atop where Zayday was kept. Is she still there? No, only the red velvety pillows on which she was last seen sitting.
Bit of a Saw homage here, as well! Lots of stuff happening. Denise and Gigi come upon a room much like something out of one of the Saw films. Another quasi-homage back to Silence of the Lambs with the Red Devil using night vision to move around a room. And just when you think the Devil is caught, they’re gone again. Or is it really how it seems? We saw Gigi in the old house where the hag supposedly lived, so can we trust her saying Gigi saying the Red Devil cranked her in the head before taking off? Hmm.
Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.52.45 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.52.52 PMZayday shows back up at Kappa House triumphant. Just in time for the big vote for presidency of the sorority.
Flashback to the Red Devil wining and dining Zayday back at the workshop, as he hauls her up from the pit where she’d been kept. Managing to stab the Devil’s hand and take off, she was able to get back in one piece.
Of course, no one believes Zayday until Grace runs in confirming the story of the lair, the romantic dining set, et cetera. Still though, the vote is on!
Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.53.24 PMNice creepy sequence with Gigi walking alone, the Red Devil following behind. FINALLY – they meet! They are officially in cahoots, now we know for sure Gigi has something to do with what’s going on in the overall plot. Unsettling stuff, who knows where this will head now.
Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.53.34 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.53.41 PMLooking forward to the next episode, “Seven Minutes in Hell”, directed by a regular Ryan Murphy brother-in-arms Michael Uppendahl. Stay tuned for the next one, fellow fans! I’m still loving these episodes, one by one they add up to more excitement and more horror and tons of laughs.

Scream Queens – Season 1, Episode 4: “Haunted House”

FOX’s Scream Queens
Season 1, Episode 4
: “Haunted House”
Directed by Bradley Buecker
Written by Brad Falchuk

* For a review of the previous episode, “Chainsaw” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Pumpkin Patch” – click here
IMG_2115Chanel Oberlin: “I own Halloween. It’s my jam.

The opening scene is excruciatingly funny and so acidic in terms of how it takes on popular “bitches” like Chanel #1 (Emma Roberts). Chanel-O-Ween sees her send presents to tons of girls who idolize her, supposedly the “losers” or whatever you want to substitute for a description.
Way too funny. Hard to describe, yet it’s just so good. Solid opener for the episode.

At Kappa House, Dean Cathy Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) is being questioned by the police, but not really. She is great friends with the detective questioning her. Not only that, she does make sense – it would be awfully hard for her to get out, dress up as the Red Devil, climb down unnoticed outside, and then attack. Or is it? Wes Gardner (Oliver Hudson) is not convinced, neither is Gigi Caldwell (Nasim Pedrad) particularly. I am, though. Munsch is dirty, just not a killer, I don’t think. Then in bursts guard Denise Hemphill (Niecy Nash) trying to tell everyone Zayday Williams (Keke Palmer) is the real killer.
Mostly this part is an amazing showcase, once more but longer this time, of Niecy Nash kicking out the comedy jams. She is awesome and perfectly fits this character. We always hear how black women are “sassy” or something similar. I think Nash allows herself to be goofy, which is super fun. Not that she’s a weak character, but she doesn’t necessarily have to be strong, she just gets to be silly and it works proper.
In another confrontation between Denise and Zayday, we find out Denise was rejected from Kappa House at the same university she now guards. Great, quick flashback to her being tossed – once again showing off Nash’s hilarity.
IMG_2116 IMG_2117Meanwhile, Grace Gardner (Skyler Samuels) and Pete Martinez (Diego Boneta) track down the woman who was once a sorority pledge at Kappa House – Mandy (Jennifer Aspen). She tells them about how her life is “split in two: before that night and after“.
Flashback to 1995 where Dean Munsch talks through the process of covering up the young girl’s death in that bathtub. Then, she makes the girls wear hoods on the ride out to bury the body, so they’ll never know where it is buried. Munsch locks them all down with a highly nasty little plan, all to cover her own ass – though, she claims it’s to protect them, to protect their families. Real chilling scene. More and more, we see how sinister Munsch is, but again: not a killer. I’m sure there’s someone, or a couple someones, out to get Munsch and anyone else linked to Kappa House, or the original women.
SHOCKER? The baby was/is a girl, confirmed by the woman who was there. Hmmm, the plot thickens.
IMG_2121Chanel #1 gets a big smack in the face when Zayday reveals her intentions to run for president of Kappa House. Ms. Oberlin makes a bit of a threat, then takes off somewhere to grieve. The other Chanels find her in the shoe closet, sharpening kitchen knives.
I think Emma Roberts is pretty great, too. Honestly, she pulls off the incredibly awful sorority girl role. Slightly similar to her role in American Horror Story‘s third season, but very different than the one she played in the fourth season. There’s more comedy here obviously and it’s a satirical, even farcical look at the sorority/fraternity mentality which is especially rampant in this day and age in America, particularly. So while some think it’s either over-the-top, or what not, I find it on the nose and Roberts does well with making us truly believe she is a stone cold bitch of a young lady.
IMG_2122A bit of nice horror in this episode. Mandy, in her little trailer out in the dark, out off the grid somewhere, finds herself at the mercy of someone outside causing mischief. She walks around brandishing a baseball bat. Then, in the mirror behind her, the Red Devil appears, knife in hand. As she screams out, the Devil stabs her to death. Nice little clip of Leprechaun plays in the background, cut in briefly; I’m pretty sure it’s one of those films, anyways.
IMG_2125IMG_2123 IMG_2124 Chad Radwell (Glen Powell) is out in the graveyard about to have a yank over a grave, when Hester Ulrich (Lea Michele) shows up with her new look going on. She proposes they’ll have sex in a “very scary location“, and that maybe he can head in the “back door“. Hilariously twisted scene.
Professor Gardner is showing more horror again in class. This time it’s Children of the Corn. He’s going on about children in horror movies attacking the adults, that we “can’t escape our inner child“. More of the film professor nonsense, or is it? You be the judge. I think it is, if you’re examining a film like this, others maybe not so silly.
Grace shows up then to question her father about her mother, who went to the same school, supposedly pledged Kappa. She point blank asks if her mother died in the bathtub, to which her father replies with surprise. She’s convinced something is going on with him, in some way. I am, too. All the same, the moment between them here feels genuine, like he’s telling the truth: “I saw you come out of your mother
We’ll see where it all goes.
Grace then heads off to meet Pete at a local haunted house, or so Pete and Denise say – the house on Shady Lane. At times this sequence is spooky, others it’s fucking riotous with Pete and Denise telling the tale simultaneously, or in tandem more so, which comes off like a scary version of Abbott and Costello. They talk about a hag living in the house, shrieking and wailing coming from inside, et cetera, typical legend type stuff. A super creepy room full of weird little dolls is found to boot. Turns out the woman lived in the house around 1995, when the Kappa House tragedy happened, or just after – that’s where the screaming must have come from, I imagine.
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There’s a PERFECT scene where the Chanels are about to eat cotton balls, dipping them in sauce, when Hester speaks up and changes Chanel #1’s mind. They decide to go for pizza. Then, the world of the sorority at Kappa changes. Great little feminist bits where Chanel #1 points out the hypocrisy of how men can look versus how women are expected to look. Then, a moment between the girls and a couple fratbro douchebags where they lay it out for the men: don’t whistle at me, don’t ask me to give you a smile, don’t belittle women under the guise of trying to talk to them, and so on. Love, love, loved this bit! Such an excellently written scene.
IMG_2129 IMG_2130 Right afterwards, Chad is being brought out to the house on Shady Lane, where Hester seems to be letting him “throw her a bone”. Then comes the HORROR – bodies everywhere! First, it’s Ms. Bean and Hester pokes a hole through her leg accidentally, believing it to be a wax replica of some sort. Then there’s Chanel #2, Denise’s partner Shondell, Coney a.k.a Aaron Cohen, and more. Even poor Mandy who was recently dispatched by the Red Devil.
Solid homage to John Carpenter’s Halloween with Ms. Bean’s headstone above the bed where she lays. Love all the homages and references in the episodes so far.
I thought this part was absolutely fitting. Using all the real dead corpses of those killed off previously in the series as supposed props in the haunted house, it’s genius!
IMG_2131Chad: “Don’t go to the haunted house on Shady Lane! There are dead bodies. Like real, live dead bodies.
IMG_2132Zayday gets nabbed by the Red Devil in a great freeze frame with red filter. The aftermath sees just about every main character at Kappa House, the detective and other officers present to try and suss out what’s been going on around their campus. So much madness and mayhem and murder. Professor Wes wants answers, threatening to go to the media if nothing is done in regards to the safety of the students.
Pete and Grace decide they have to discover who the Hag of Shady Lane was, the woman in that house, that way they may break through to find out more about the murders and the original tragedy.
Perfect closing shot sees Gigi sitting in the Shady Lane house, in a chair with all those dolls, hooded in the Hag cloak, wailing away. Very, very spooky!
IMG_2133Can’t wait for the next episode titled “Pumpkin Patch”. Stay tuned for another review next week! Hope at least some of you are enjoying the show as much as I am. Been having a blast, full of comedy and equal parts horror. Cheers.

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