Tagged Scream Queens

Scream Queens – Season 1, Episode 10: “Thanksgiving”

FOX’s Scream Queens
Season 1, Episode 10: “Thanksgiving”
Directed by Michael Lehmann
Written by Brad Falchuk

* For a review of the previous episode, “Ghost Stories” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Black Friday” – click here
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Another week at Kappa House, and the murder certainly isn’t stopping!
With Boone (Nick Jonas) dead by the hand of his yet to be revealed twin sister, the other Red Devil, how will things go now?
Chad Radwell (Glen Powell) says his “wanger is way stressed out” because of everything going on. Though, Chanel #1 (Emma Roberts) reveals the situation with Hester (Lea Michele) – not only is she not pregnant, she’s pretty dead. But tragedy for Chanel when she shows up down at the meat locker and – surprise, surprise – the body is not there. Smarty Chad asks whether or not Chanel checked if Hester was actually dead, to which she obviously replies no. These two are made for each other – a murderer, and a guy with a seriously creepy fetish for corpses.

Chanel #1: “Duh. I put it in the meat locker. That’s where we’ve been putting all the dead bodies.”
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Gigi (Nasim Pedrad) sits with the remaining Red Devil, who of course is silent. They’re having “room service Thanksgiving” together, the Red Devil eagerly cutting out paper hearts and who knows what. This whole scene was a RIOT! Pedrad is a crack-up, coupled with the other killer whose silence is almost even funnier, the way she gets excited, wringing hands over the approaching dinner. Still, there’s also an unsettling, unpredictable quality about their relationship. Now that Boone is dead, will the twin sister under that mask find it just as easy to get rid of Gigi? Hmm.
Even funnier, and one of my favourites of this series, is Billie Lourd as Chanel #3. I mean, her at times deadpan delivery, the uninterested eyes, so many awesome facial expressions; she’s a good hand at comedy. In my mind, anyways. But the best of it is the family, alongside her character. They’re the Swenson family, similar to Swanson yet not quite. Makes it downright hilarious when she goes home, they’re all sitting at separate La-Z-Boy chairs, each with a tv tray in front of them with a microwaved frozen dinner on it and six separate screens on the wall, individual football games playing on every one; maybe even a couple are just the same game. I couldn’t get enough of it, especially once Chanel #3 flips and calls them on their bullshit. Brad Falchuk wrote a great script for this episode and it had me laughing out loud at this point.
Back at Kappa, Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) tells #3 all about the turkey they supposedly pardoned: “It’s more like a stay of execution“. These two together are as close to a classic pairing as you can get. Overall, I love this section of the episode because we’re getting, among the comedy and the horror bits, a look at different families, different versions of Thanksgiving. Poor Grace (Skyler Samuels) is at odds with her father Wes (Oliver Hudson), but they manage to work things out slightly.
Then there’s the Radwell Family Thanksgiving at the ranch where Chanel #1 is introduced, sassily, to the family – including patriarch Tad Radwell (Alan Thicke), mama Bunny Radwell (Julia Duffy), plus brothers Brad (Chad Michael Murray), Thad (Patrick Schwarzenegger), and Brad’s wife Muffy (Rachele Brooke Smith). Falchuk hauls out all the stops in this part of the episode. Each of the Radwells gets up and introduces themselves, ridiculously. A ton of wildly funny moments happen in such a short time, from Chanel #1 threatening to strangle Mrs. Radwell, to a still alive Hester showing up, and Chad Michael Murray doing a perfectly brief cameo (I laughed pretty hard at his introduction/talk). Although, Hester still claims to be pregnant: is it more nonsense from her, or too true?


Bunny (to Hester): “That’s not a baby bump, that’s a poo belly.”


At the cobbled together Thanksgiving in Kappa House, Dean Munsch proposes a game of sorts – they’re going to go around and say who they believe the remaining Red Devil Killer to be. First up, Munsch believes it’s Chanel #3. Lots of deliberation, concerning #3’s claim of having Charles Manson for a father mostly. But #3 fires back at Munsch, saying it’s she who is the killer.
Tad Radwell confronts Chanel #1 in the bathroom. He wants to pay her off to leave, to never see Chad again. Then downstairs, Chad is getting more ridiculous by the minute – they’ve got a nasty dessert looking similar to the recent Jell-O + mayo concoction in the news, as well as the fact he starts telling Chanel maybe she ought to leave and Hester should stay. Messed up right?


This episode is one of the funniest out of the first season so far. It’s killing me, a contest between Kappa House or the Radwell Ranch for who is being more hilarious. Furthermore, there’s lots of suspicion getting thrown around. Zayday (Keke Palmer) and Grace each have their share to throw at the dean. Things get sticky for Munsch, as #3 reveals seeing her eating a bologna sandwich, something which couldn’t be, right? All due to the bologna stuff when her ex-husband was killed. But even wilder, daddy Wes accuses his OWN DAUGHTER of being the Red Devil Killer. Crazy! He says he can explain away all doubts in regards to everyone else, aside from his own little girl. “Thanksgiving” on Scream Queens reminds me of a Murder on the Orient Express sort of situation; excellent stuff. Pete (Diego Boneta) shows up at the sorority, while Wes is grilling his daughter about certain dates, events, et cetera. Is there actual credibility to any of this? Red herrings? Well, Pete throws his hat in the ring and accuses Wes right along with all the other mix of suspicion boiling over.
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Dean Munsch: “God, I hate you people.”

The Radwell shitshow continues with Pictionary, which quickly devolves into savagery. Someone replaced the card HORSE with NECKBRACE WHORE. A terribly vicious round of Pictionary goes down with insult after insult being hurled at Hester. This actually prompts Chanel #1 to give a sort-of-apology to Hester, but also pushes her to give a verbal smackdown to the Radwells. The insults begin to spill out of Chanel, going between every last one of the Radwell clan including a breakup with Chad; a forever split this time apparently. Then the two slighted sorority ladies leave in a huff: together.
Wes is in the hotseat at Kappa. Junior investigative reporter Pete starts giving him the business, laying out a supposed motive and plan which Wes has been working off the whole time. The eager beaver investigator seems to have drummed up old pictures from a party, so long ago, speaking to a possible way Wes may have known enough about the sorority house in order to sneak in/out, and so on. Craziest bit yet? Wes was caught on camera in the meat locker, spray painting over its lens; he claims it’s due to the paleo diet, he couldn’t afford all the meat and stole it from them. That’s what he says. But more comes rolling out of Pete, who has a “friend at the Maury Show“: Wes is Boone’s father! WHAT!? Grace’s half-brother and half-sister are out there killing, neither her nor her father had any idea of the link. It feels like Wes truly didn’t know. I’m still not sure, though. He freaks me out at times.
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Wes: “And it was the 90s, so nobody wore condoms.”
Dean Munsch: “Pffbelieve me
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The finale brings Chad back to Chanel #1, with everyone sitting around the table for Thanksgiving at Kappa House. Only when the lid comes off the platter on the table, Chanel reveals the dead head of Gigi.
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I knew she was about to get it earlier, the Red Devil wasn’t having any of her bullshit anymore. Now, will there be more and more terror? More bodies to drop? Only a couple episode left.
Stay tuned for the next one, aptly titled “Black Friday”.

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 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 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 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.
IMG_2126 IMG_2127 IMG_2128
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

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.