The upcoming FOX horror/comedy series Scream Queens has built up a large amount of anticipation with it’s well known cast ranging from Jamie Lee Curtis, Emma Roberts, Ariana Grande, and Lea Michele to Abigail Breslin just to name a few. Talented cast aside, the series is also helmed by the notorious showrunners Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, known for being the creative masterminds behind the chilling series American Horror Story, and the comedic styling’s of Glee. After creating major hype for the upcoming series, the bar was set quite high and PopWrapped had the privilege of attending the special pilot screening at San Diego Comic Con.
Now, because the series isn’t airing until September 22nd, this will be a spoiler free review of the episode, but there is still so much to say about Scream Queens. The cast made a surprise cameo before the screening kicked off, with the original scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis introducing her talented costars, saying something genuinely nice about each young woman to further prove how special the series is to bring a hardworking ensemble of strong individuals who each bring something different to the table. After familiarizing the room with the cast, Curtis continued to build the audience’s energy for the series which had everyone on their feet (or on their chairs) and the cast was beaming at the chance for viewers to witness the work they had so carefully and successfully crafted.
Scream Queens itself, focuses on two characters main perspective: Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts) and Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis). Chanel is the head of the Kappa Kappa Tau sorority, and Munsch (who Chanel refers to as “box munsch”) is a frustrated former women’s rights activist who vows to take down the brutally selective sorority. A major plot in the series will seemingly be the dynamic between the two, which even after a few moments manages to pull heavy laughter from the viewers. These two are both astonishing women, but in a scene together both actresses really become their roles which is a joy to witness. After American Horror Story Coven, I wasn’t sure if Roberts could out mean-girl herself, but Ryan Murphy has managed to do it yet again! Her humor is brash, direct, and teetering offensive at so many moments, but that is the best part of comedic formula – pushing the limits to make us acknowledge hilarity at moments we shouldn’t necessarily find funny.
When I initially looked in to Scream Queens, I read up on characters and tried to best assess what role they would fill, but Scream Queens disregards your preconceived notions, because each character has a layer to them that you don’t necessarily expect. The Chanel clique remain known as numbers, and each of the three Chanels (Breslin, Grande, and Lourd) embody a Chanel Oberlin quality, but the series introduces enough of them to make you individually recognize a different aspect of them to be explored throughout the first season. Samuel plays the character Grace, a kappa pledge who hopes to change the way things are done and will also rival Roberts character, while befriending a group of unlikely pledges (courtesy of Dean Munsch) labeled as neckbrace (Lea Michele’s character) and my personal favorite – deaf Taylor Swift. The series centers around a strong female ensemble cast, but does feature a few prominent men including Diego Boneta who plays the school’s journalist digging up answers about ongoing mysteries, and popular guy/ fraternity god Chad, played by Glen Powell (and a decent amount of homoerotic tension with his frat brother who happens to be Nick Jonas.)
The horror elements of the series have a more fun approach, with an 80’s recurring background track that plays from time to time, and a decent amount of gore for primetime network television. What separates Scream Queens from typical horror, is the ability to mix in comedy (yes, the killer is actually one of the funniest characters and he/she doesn’t even have any lines.) There are multiple deaths in the first episode, and you quickly realize that must be why the cast is so large. One death scene in particular adds a sense of dread and also plays up comedy to the maximum, which will leave viewers laughing while worrying, which is a new emotion to process for television.
Overall, Scream Queens is a major success, with every single character becoming someone worth rooting for in some way or another and sharply written dialogue at every turn. The horror adds a campiness to it that is interwoven with a mean girls approach at comedy, remaining current with today’s trends. Anyone who enjoys any trace elements of horror, mystery, or humor will have a great appreciation for Scream Queens, it’s definitely different than anything on TV right now and separates itself from other horror series by mixing varied genres in a potent blend of genius.
Final Grade: 9.5/10
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
-Emma Roberts and Jamie Lee Curtis are comedic/horror goddess’s.
-There isn’t a single weak link in the ensemble cast.
-This is a perfect example of Ryan Murphy at his best.