Back On? Emma Roberts and Evan Peters Hang Out at Scream Queens Premiere

22 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Fox’s ‘Scream Queens’ sorority-slasher is a howler in more ways than one.

Not only is it the looooooonnnnngggg-awaited premiere of our favorite new series in a very long time—Fox’s Scream Queens—but we have a hilarious drinking game that the cast themselves come up with, just to mark the occasion!

The long wait for Fox’s “Scream Queens” is finally over with the horror/comedy series debuting Tuesday night — but now, the wait for the reveal of the killer’s identity is about to begin.When he first announced his stunt-like parody of films that splash college girls in blood and make them unsuccessfully beg for their lives, co-creator Ryan Murphy promised a death in every episode.

Jamie Lee Curtis first became known as Hollywood’s “Scream Queen” more than 35 years ago, when she captivated legions of fans who flocked to “Halloween,” “The Fog” and other horror fests. Press play on the video above to see Emma Roberts, Lea Michele, Niecy Nash and more give their rules for what you gotta do while watching. (And how your choice of drink should NOT be strong.) In case you hadn’t heard, we here at E! have also started our own ultra-exclusive secret society (SHHHH!!!) called “Squad SQ,” and you can join by simply tweeting a photo of yourself with a sign that says “I WANT IN. #SQUADSQ” We will be having our own live Twitter party tonight, 8 to 10 pm ET, which will culminate with our first weekly live Periscope Q&A, right when the episode ends at 10 p m ET.

The creators of both those shows (Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan) have combined them and here’s the result: a horror/comedy about a killer dressed as a red devil loose on a college campus. For the past four years, autumn among the rated-R set has belonged to American Horror Story, but this year Murphy is doubling down with his network successor to Glee in the form of Scream Queens.

Who will make it out alive? “The beauty of the show is that every single actor has blood on their hands,” Curtis says, adding, “So because we all have blood on our hands we could all be the killer.” Abigail Breslin, Diego Boneta and Keke Palmer, who also co-star, offer up their best guesses in the video (above) with Palmer explaining, “It’s crazy to have a job where you’re not sure when you’re going to be having to pack up your stuff and leave, but that’s definitely the situation on ‘Scream Queens.” “Scream Queens” from Ryan Murphy also stars Skyler Samuels, Glen Powell, Oliver Hudson, Nasim Pedrad, Lucien Laviscount and Billie Lourd, and will feature recurring guest stars Niecy Nash, Nick Jonas, Ariana Grande, Patrick Schwarzenegger and Chad Michael Murray. I also shouldn’t say exactly in what manner people meet their fates on Scream Queens, because the deranged creativity of the slayings make for perhaps its only real horror/joy. That risky choice eventually led to a versatile resume that has included hit movies (“True Lies,” “A Fish Called Wanda”), sitcoms (“Anything But Love”), books (she has written seven bestselling children’s books), commercials (pitching Activia yogurt) and high-profile guest shots (“New Girl”). There are a few moments of exquisite gross-out, preceded by a feeling of “they’re not really going to show this, are they?”—and then splat, or slash, or vrrrrrrr as the camera holds steady. Series creator Murphy described the show as “Halloween meets Heathers” at Comic-Con International this summer, and while that is true, it’s not the whole story.

Even more memorable is one of the more popular cast member’s relatively ungory death scene that involves an SNL-like farce about Millennials and technology. Tuesday, Sept. 22, on Fox. “The Muppets,” 8 p.m. (ABC): Miss Piggy is angry when Kermit books Elizabeth Banks as a guest on “Up Late With Miss Piggy’’; Fozzie Bear gets acquainted with his girlfriend’s parents; Imagine Dragons perform. “Gorongosa Park — Rebirth of Paradise,” 8 p.m. (KCTS): Scientist Paola Bouley tries to figure out why Gorongosa’s lion population isn’t growing; elephant behavior; Mount Gorongosa is taken over by rebel soldiers. “Limitless,” 10 p.m. (CBS): Brian’s life turns extraordinary after taking a mysterious drug, NZT, that lets him access his full brain capacity; an NZT-related murder puts Brian on the FBI’s radar. To say Scream Queens is merely a long-form slashfest with Ryan Murphy DNA is to overlook its place in the under-appreciated but venerable subset of scary cinema devoted to all the gruesome things that can befall women living the Panhellenic life.

And creatively, I am having the time of my life.” A child of show-business royalty — her father was Tony Curtis, and her mother was Janet Leigh — Curtis displayed an endearing warmth and openness as she discussed “Scream Queens” and its place on the roller-coaster trajectory of her career, which has embraced highs and lows. Leveraging the wearisome but troubling delight we take in watching pretty rich girls get ripped apart (at times literally), “Scream Queens” flirts with camp but settles for tweet-worthy. With obvious references to “Mean Girls” and “Heathers,” there are long jokes about young women ordering lattes and murders too brutal to be funny but too cold-hearted to be chilling. Jokingly referring to herself as “a woman of middling talent and questionable ethics, and even looks,” Curtis has embraced a lifestyle that puts the emphasis on comfort and happiness and letting life evolve organically.

But early on each year, that show at least attempts to create a universe with some sort of internal logic and believable characters, because without those things true scariness can’t be achieved. Munch has a particular distaste for Kappa House, the popular sorority for pledges run by Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts), who is rich, entitled and just plain mean.

In an effort to better understand what brought us to Scream Queens, premiering tonight on Fox, we binge-watched every Sorority Horror movie we could find, which came to 21 movies in six days. To distance itself from the “Scream” franchise (including the new MTV series), “Scream Queens” focuses on the sorority subgenre, in which young college women, usually hiding a dark secret, are brutally murdered one by one, often while wearing short skirts or nighties. The sorority runs afoul of new dean of students Cathy Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis, getting back to her horror roots) who forces Kappa to accept any pledges who apply or else they will lose their charter.

After Oberlin reluctantly complies, someone in a devil’s costume begins a wave of terror across the campus, dispatching students with gruesome glee. “I get to be the Greek chorus, the one that gets to look at people and tell them who they really are,” she says. “I get these wonderful mouthfuls of words that are often a searing commentary on the state of young people today. The Hazing from 1977, if you come upon it, is actually Fraternity Horror, and Night of the Creeps is really more of a collegiate alien invasion movie (which also can be said of Decoys from 2004 and Decoys: The Second Seduction, its 2007 follow-up). The dark secret is revealed in an opening flashback to a rockin’ ’90s party at Kappa Kappa Tau, along with all the necessary character types, mainly a pretty blond Queen Bee and her posse — one or two of whom might want to do the right thing but are cowed into complicity. When administrators force her sorority to start accepting all comers—even, Chanel says, the “fatties and ethnics” (plus, in a wicked bit of music criticism from the writers, a deaf Taylor Swift fan)—she starts to fight back in brutal ways.

If you’re a Jamie Lee Curtis fan (she’ll be playing a bitter college dean named Cathy Munsch in Scream Queens), be sure to check out 1980’s Terror Train, but as far as genres go it’s more of an isolation horror experience with fraternity roots. There’s also the 2004 movie Butchered, which came up in our search for sorority candidates, but actually revolves around a group of friends about to leave for college. But in 2015, “let’s laugh at hatefulness” is a pretty played-out routine—especially when it’s more or less the only humor the dialogue offers. It would be one thing if the show itself didn’t seem to subscribe to Chanel’s worldview, but the cruelty with which it treats some innocent characters and the stereotypical way it portrays others (lazy black security guards?

Working in the rat-a-tat-tat cadence of 1940s female film stars and the drag queens who love them, she delivers all manner of occasionally funny but mostly hateful and strangely middle-aged monologues. The 2000s are a surprisingly prolific time for Sorority Horror—probably because anyone with a phone can make a movie—and some of them are stupid hard to find, even with streaming services. An overweight maid is the butt of endless abuse, including a weird little scene in which Chanel calls her “white mammy” and forces her to repeat the “I don’t know nothin’ about birthin’ no babies” line from “Gone With the Wind.” Never mind that it was Prissy who said that, not Mammy, or that it’s difficult to imagine any young adult referencing it. Each of these men changed my life, Ryan Murphy probably more than anyone.” He pitched “Scream Queens” to Fox TV heads Dana Walden and Gary Newman, who bought it immediately and ordered it straight to series without a pilot.

Theoretically, the hook for viewers is the mystery of who’s the psycho killer behind the red devil mask, but given the way that character motivations and personalities seem to fluctuate scene-to-scene in the premiere alone, it’s hard to imagine getting too wound up by the intrigue. Black Christmas is a classic, and though it may be the best horror movie ever set against a Greek backdrop, it is but a precursor to what eventually would be classified as Sorority Horror. There are plenty of college scenarios and horror movie tropes played for laughs quiet effectively and several real LOL moments in the first two hours. The very low-budget Sisters of Death (1977) did far more to establish the tropes that would define the subgenre, even if it was a messy effort: A Deadly Secret, High Stakes Hazing (with pagan ritual elements), Oaths That Go to the Grave and, most importantly, the Head Bitch In Charge with a Master Plan.

As the second hour nears its end, Chanel talks less and things pick up a bit when Grace and a male reporter-love interest begin unearthing the sins of the past. The best way to watch it is probably with a distraction—maybe while swiping through your phone—and then glancing up whenever someone on screen starts to scream. I won’t leave them.'” Murphy and his fellow producers quickly worked out a production schedule that would allow Curtis to shoot scenes for several episodes within a concentrated period. “I’m sure it’s a pain in the [butt] for the production department, so when I’m there I show up with a lot of energy,” Curtis says. “But it was the only way I could do it. Chanel particularly uses her barbed tongue to hurl verbal grenades at everyone standing within a 10-foot radius, even though they often betray her own idiocy. “Everyone knows you get STDs from dirty toilet seats and drinking the water in Mexico,” she snarls at one point.

For all its new “diversity” (which this team certainly helped create), television continues to love-hate pretty young women and never more than when terrible things happen to them. “Scream Queens” might be making a statement about this, but in the pilot it seems content to just wallow in agreement. If you want a movie that revolves around the seedy underbelly of Panhellenic life, then look to the 1978 ABC TV movie The Initiation of Sarah, which put the sorority sisters back on campus and brought along stars like Morgan Fairchild and Shelley Winters for serious legitimacy.

Aimed squarely at a generation raised on the “Scary Movies,” “Pretty Little Liars” and previous works by its creators, “Scream Queens” has a built-in audience that will no doubt assure it will open as big as any new show this fall. Besides bringing it back to the house itself, Sarah has the double distinction of introducing the House Mom figure and some supernatural elements into the Sorority Horror sphere. Dalliances with the dark arts would become a recurring theme in Sorority Horror, and it all started with this Carrie-goes-to-college tale of two warring houses at Waltham College, with Fairchild setting the gold standard for the HBIC.

Then there are the frat guys they date, Grace’s love interest, well-meaning parents, the head of the sorority, and a few other people – I’m not sure exactly where they fit in. After the groundwork was laid in the late 1970s, the 1980s, of course, defined Sorority Horror as it exists in the popular consciousness, because no other decade so gleefully puddle-jumped in exploitative blood and gore and nudity. The Initiation (1984) put a slightly glossier sheen on the genre, utilizing arguably the best Killer With a Motive twist we’ve seen in 40 the genre and landing actress Vera Miles. (Scoring a former Hitchcock Blonde for your coed slasher is no small thing!) Initiation also unveiled the popular ’80s device of group showering, because what are girls doing in large groups if they’re not getting hammered in tiny lace lingerie or showering together? (The answer to that is witchcraft, but more on that later.) Initiation also unveiled the popular ’80s device of group showering, because what are girls doing in large groups if they’re not getting hammered in tiny lace lingerie or showering together? (The answer to that is witchcraft, but more on that later.) But 1986’s Sorority House Massacre is the movie most likely to conjure the classic Sorority Horror experience. It’s set entirely within the sorority house and is so low-budget that a boom mic drops into a scene (keep an eye out for the same tech cameo in Sisters of Death).

There’s pointless nudity, a House Mom leaving her charges for the weekend, an escaped mental patient (this element debuted in The Initiation but was used to greater effect in Massacre) and both the house and the protagonist have Deadly Secrets in their pasts. To round out your 1980s Sorority Horror filmography, see the Linda Blair special Hell Night, Sorority Beach Babes in the Slime Bowl-O-Rama (no beaches or slime, but it does pioneer the use of demonic possession!), Killer Party (even better use of possession), and The House on Sorority Row. It starts out with great promise, incredible characters, and perfectly-honed jokes before it falls victim to its own careening plot structure and becomes an absolute ludicrous mess where the characters don’t behave like themselves and arbitrary events occur with no rationalization whatsoever.

Chanel’s boyfriend Chad (Glen Powell, looking about 10 years too old to play college) is the only one who can match Chanel in his viciousness (and looks mighty fine in his many shirtless scenes). Thirteen sorority-centric horror films have been made in the past 12 years, giving rise to set of really, really bad movies that still managed to contribute to the genre in meaningful ways. Yes, the gore has gotten gorier and the special effects have gotten [slightly] more special, but the mean spirit that coursed through Morgan Fairchild’s HBIC character (named Jennifer Lawrence) in the 1978 original was exponentially crueler than her counterpart in the remake. The on-screen sorority bullies of the 1970s and ’80s, an era when hazing was not only fashionable but legal in Greek houses, were heartless, evil bitches.

Thankfully in the new millennium they either have more nuance to their personalities, making them at least semi-redeemable, or they are just actual witches. Haunted House also is the most feminist movie of the bunch, with positive messaging about sororities as service organizations and being a survivor of sexual abuse. Most of all of these movies veer into C-, if not D-level cinema, with The Sleeper and Die Die Delta Pi being additional examples that are fun if you have the proper constitution, but are torturous for the average person.

And here’s a fun fact for you: The house in Black Christmas ’06 is Delta Alpha Kappa, making it part of what we’re going to call the proud Alpha Delta Theta tradition.

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