Tag Archives: Horror

Series Review: Scream Queens

Emma Roberts as Kappa Kappa Tau leader Chanel No.1.  Source: Network 10
Emma Roberts as Kappa Kappa Tau leader Chanel No.1.                                                      Source: Steve Dietl/Network 10

When you hear the name ‘Ryan Murphy’ and it’s attached to a new project, viewers these days tend to lean towards one of two ways – either the Glee side or the American Horror Story side.  Both brought to us by the mind of Murphy and so vastly different in their approach but so alike in their delivery and cult standing, it’s hard not to wonder which way Murphy’s newest project, Scream Queens was going to end up.

Oddly enough, even I had trouble placing this slasher series…ending up somewhere between Glee but closer towards AHS. While sharing more than a few Murphy project-related faces, Scream Queens takes it’s shine to a more comedic gross out presentation so think Glee with no singing and AHS with fewer tense and dark dramatic moments.

So what’s to expect with Scream Queens?  Well the series opens in a flashback to 1995 at a kicking party at Kappa Kappa Tau where “Don’t go chasing waterfalls….” is on blast, alcohol is flowing, there’s lots of long blonde hair…and a co-ed mysteriously dies…..after giving birth. Cut to present time and Kappa Kappa Tau has turned into Clueless on Mean Girl steroids where head sorority sister Chanel No.1 (Emma Roberts) has such a standing within the sorority (basically she’s a right mean bitch) that she has three mini-me minions who have all shed their birth names in favor of being named Chanel No.2, Chanel No.3 and Chanel No.5 (apparently no one knows what happened to Chanel No.4)

Chanel No.1’s life plans are in play but things take a nasty turn when sorority hating Dean Cathy Munsch (Jamie-Lee Curtis) shows up (she enforces Chanel to open up Kappa Kappa Tau to the entire community “even fatties”) and someone in a crisp red devil mask starts killing off those close to her and her sorority.

Of course, Scream Queens will be likened to MTV’s recent (and not so good) Scream series but fear not, the two are not alike.  While they may share a masked killer and a victim-of-the-week familiarity, Scream Queens isn’t aiming for emotional deaths, instead optiong to invest you in the bloodshed, and compared to it’s namesake, Scream Queens offers a lot of it…like bucket loads.  Not for the squeamish is an appropriate tagline one would assume after seeing the first two episodes.

Between awkward politically incorrect exchanges between sorority sister and maid, standardized stereotyping, pop culture bitchiness and floods of blood, Scream Queens opens itself to be a true entry into redefining what slasher entertainment used to be.

Starring Emma Roberts, Jamie-Lee Curtis, Ariana Grande, Nick Jonas, Lea Michelle, Abigail Breslin, Billie Lourd and Skyler Samuels.

Scream Queens premiere’s tonight, Network 10 at 9:15pm with the second episode airing directly after at 10:20pm on Eleven which will be the show’s permanent home.

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Taking the Glitter Away from Vampires. The Strain Reviewed

Sean Astin as Jim Kent.  Souce: Supplied
Sean Astin as Jim Kent. Souce: Supplied

Without beating around the bush too much, The Strain (airing Wednesday July 30th on FOX8) resembles a horror movie that may have come out in the mid 1990’s – you know, the kind that went straight to DVD.  I’m not saying it like it’s a bad thing, just that, here, The Strain is purely for scares and gore while only slightly relying on a deeper story-line.

Now that deeper story-line is either about ancient vampires coming to New York or lead character Dr. Ephraim Goodweather’s failing marriage…i’m not to sure as to which as we’re drowned with too much personal information about Ephraim, his distant wife and their son right off the bat.

So just like FX’s creepy disease based Helix, The Strain (also from FX) brings us another biological catastrophe involving the CDC and those affected by a mysterious disease, but unlike Helix where all the action takes place in the isolated Arctic, The Strain takes place in heavily populated New York City.

According to FX, The Strain is about “a mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism” and is based on the series of books from Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan (Guillermo del Toro is also credited as the creator, writer and director) where the central character of no-good is, well, he’s the ancient king of Vampires named The Master.

Now the vampires here in The Strain are nothing like you have ever seen before.  Gone are the tweenie glittery human loving creatures we’ve been saturated with of recent times and in their place, creepy hooded monsters that rely on blood seeking and sucking worms over fangs and del Toro (a master in the field of scares and gore) goes to lengths to create a dark and eerie visual that offers up some jump worthy scares.

The cast is pleasant enough to watch and while some of the acting is a bit kitsch and over the top, it fits perfectly into the theme of what we are being offered up….Lord of the Rings star (or Goonies star to me) Sean Astin is there along with Alias’s Mia Maestro and House of Cards actor Corey Stoll taking the lead as Dr. Ephraim Goodweather.

So in the end, Helix stands miles above what The Strain is, but as a show where you don’t really need to think too much and can get a few decent scares and some gross out gore then The Strain should sit nicely into your weekly viewing.

The Strain begins Wednesday July 30th on FOX8.