Viewers will see red after wasting time with dumb ‘Scream Queens’

22 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Hollywood’s Next Big Thing: Skyler Samuels Goes From Stanford to ‘Scream Queens’.

The two-hour opener of Ryan Murphy’s horror comedy gets off to a terrific start. If any of the fall’s new shows works harder to win us over than “Scream Queens,” I don’t want to hear about it — I’m exhausted just from watching Tuesday night’s two-hour premiere.Skyler Samuels grew up so close to Hollywood that when her mother, an Access Hollywood producer, needed someone to cover a Harry Potter junket, she sent her 7-year-old daughter.Scream Queens, the Ryan Murphy-helmed horror-comedy series that revolves around the (fictional) Kappa sorority at Wallace University, looks like one of fall TV’s best offerings. The industriousness of this Fox horror spoof is reflected in the game performance of its lead, Emma Roberts, who marches through her role as a sorority-house storm trooper with a slightly grim determination, hunting down laughs that aren’t always there.

Well, they sound a little bit like: “I am OBSESSED and will not eat, sleep or bathe until I see more.” (Note: If you have a friend who’s seen it, please check in on them during this difficult time.) Scream Queens—which premieres TOMORROW!—isn’t just the best new show of the season, but the most addictive new show in a very long time. In a subpar season where so many new shows feel so familiar, and you may think you’ve already seen the second episode before you finish the first, standing out ranks as an accomplishment. The Campbell Hall graduate then had acting gigs on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel before landing ABC Family’s The Nine Lives of Chloe King and an arc on American Horror Story. When she and Guest, famed for such films as This is Spinal Tap, Best in Show and Waiting for Guffman, arrived at the Tesla dealer, a representative from the high-end, electric-car manufacturer was there to show them all the functions of the vehicle Curtis was buying. “The guy was taking us through the controls of the car.

The 15-episode “Scream Queens” was created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, and it shares its plastered-on-smile quality with the first Falchuk-Murphy-Brennan collaboration, “Glee.” Also like “Glee,” and the Falchuk-Murphy show, “American Horror Story,” it’s a riff on and mash-up of genre conventions. This glossy, glamorous, sophisticated horror-comedy from Ryan Murphy, starring Emma Roberts as the worst human being/sorority girl ever to exist—with stars like Jamie Lee Curtis, Lea Michele, Nick Jonas, Ariana Grande, Niecy Nash—is equal parts delicious and hilarious, and you will laugh harder than you have in a long time. What follows is a scandal and a mystery that may well be haunting the sorority to the present, where Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts, “American Horror Story”) rules the house like a demented medieval monarch. It also has a genius concept that will keep fans guessing and obsessing: There’s a serial killer on campus targeting the girls of Kappa Kappa Tau (lead by Roberts), and each week someone will get killed off, inching viewers closer to the final answer of who the killer is, who the baby is (a mystery introduced at the very beginning of the pilot), and who will be left alive for season two.

Make it go louder.’ So, I went up and – it goes to 11,” she said, echoing Nigel Tufnel, the Spinal Tap guitarist played by Guest in the 1984 film. Murphy has described it as “Halloween” meets “Heathers,” which looks about right, though you could come up with your own formulation — “Scream” meets “Animal House” or “Friday the 13th” meets “Legally Blonde.” Ms. Here, Murphy breaks down some cool insight on what to expect from Scream Queens—and his best advice to anyone trying to make their career dreams come true without sacrificing family…

He said, “I know you’re super type-A and you love Stanford and you’re a brainiac, but you’re Grace Gardner now and if you let me, please take a chance when I ask you to stay on Scream Queens for a second. In the movie, Nigel shows off amplifier knobs that go to 11 to rockumentary filmmaker Marty DiBergi (Rob Reiner), who notes that most amps go to 10. “Well, it’s one louder, isn’t it?” an utterly logical Nigel says. “I said to the guy, ‘The volume control goes to 11?’ He said, ‘Yes. (CEO Elon) Musk is a fan of a certain movie,’ ” she remembers. “So, Chris is sitting in the car and the guy doesn’t know it’s Chris. I think with some of my shows in the past, it starts off really strong, and then there’s a bit of a lag in the season, and then it ends on a bang, hopefully. Honestly, if a college can’t tell if its students are demons (see: Buffy’s roommate, Kathy Newman – the 3,000-year-old Mok’tagar demon who disguised herself as a human), then we’re talking about a combination of both negligence and incompetence on a massive scale.

Unlike the “Scream” killers, who were fond of crank phone calls, this killer is happier to text a victim — even when standing in front of a victim. Like a lot of Murphy’s shows, there’s only enough good writing around for one performer, and that goes to Curtis, the original scream queen (“Halloween”). Now dead bodies are turning up — several in the first hour alone — and they seem connected to a mysterious figure in a full-length red devil suit.

She has her best role in decades as a frustrated feminist who once attended this school and now works off her stress by blackmailing Chad (Glen Powell), the Big Man on Campus, into having sex with her. The referential humor of “Scream Queens” tends to be better on the “Halloween” side of the equation than on the “Heathers” side, and some of its sendups of horror movies — or of horror-movie sendups — are pretty funny. Whether sparring with a sorority girl, dismissing an ineffective bedmate, or seducing a student’s father, she is clearly the queen of this particular TV campus and reason enough to enroll, at least for the premiere. Issues with sororities and private clubs aside, it’s not completely the school’s fault that after sorority sisters accidentally kill one of their members, another sister’s boyfriend ends up killing the guilty parties.

A confrontation between the killer and a not-too-bright sorority sister in which they stand a few feet apart and text each other is a witty take on “Scream” conventions, as is a scene in which a rent-a-cop played by Niecy Nash enumerates the obviously ineffective ways in which she’ll provide security for the sorority. It’ll be fun going back to school in January and moving back into my sorority house and going to class again after having lived in this fake sorority.

But elsewhere, this blend of horror and comedy is a fairly typical mishmash of styles and tones that wavers between not doing enough and not leaving well enough alone. Curtis’s winking, merry performance is its own self-contained slasher-film trope. “Scream Queens” bogs down, though, when it enters another familiar Brennan-Falchuk-Murphy territory, which could be called identity entertainment — their penchant for making any story, regardless of its subject matter or genre, deal largely in representations of (and gags about) gender, sexuality, race, class and whatever other categories they deem worthy of breaking down. Scream centers on the past and present members of Kappa house, a “mean girl” sorority run by Chanel Oberlin (American Horror Story’s Emma Roberts), who dismissively labels her minions Chanel 2, 3 and 5 (the last is played by Little Miss Sunshine’s Abigail Breslin). The stabs at humor mostly center on one person humiliating another, as when Chanel targets the house maid as “white mammy.” The racist, homophobic jibes just get tiring piled on one after another, and the premiere uses up this season’s and every season’s allotment of poo jokes, thank you very much.

First, Veronica begins college by investigating a serial rapist who targets victims through a safe ride program (it’s an incredibly upsetting storyline that reflects far too many issues with campus safety in real life). And someone dressed in the school’s red devil mascot outfit wants to kill the girls off, along with other random victims whose randomness is one of the two-hour pilot’s more puzzling aspects. Best of all is Lea Michele of “Glee,” who plays an affirmative-action pledge who’s locked into a neck brace and can make you laugh simply by darting her eyes helplessly around her limited field of vision. Granted, Yale’s Skull and Bones society is real, but the 2000 fictionalised version of the club covers up the murder by trying to kill another student/potential Skulls member who’s determined to uncover the truth behind the secretive group. And no, merely having Dean Munsch acknowledge the problem (“Out in the real world people just don’t talk that way to other people”) does not solve it, just as being willing to cast women who are not conventionally pretty does not give one free reign to mock their looks and disabilities.

Instead of the film’s protagonist (Sara) bunking with a demon a la Buffy, she meets Rebecca, an obsessive stalker who kills a kitten (seriously) in the dorm’s laundry room to make sure she doesn’t have to share Sara with anyone. The pilot sets up a mean girl/good girl duel between Roberts’ Chanel and Skyler Samuels’ Grace, but Grace is bland and Roberts is more harsh than amusing, and neither ranks as much of a viewer draw. But in addition to the university’s failed security measures, it keeps professor Roberts (played by Billy Zane) on its payroll – a man with a penchant for fedoras, scarves, and hooking up with students. Yet despite all its flaws, vulgarities and miscues, and for all the justifiable fear that, like many shows from this team, it will go screaming off the quality cliff, there is an energy to Scream most other new shows are missing. Believe me, calling those people and saying, ‘I’m sorry, but you’ve got to go this week’ has been incredibly upsetting because they all signed on for a year’s show.

I always got positive feed back on all the roles that I didn’t get —“She’s really great; she’s not quite right for this, but she’s right for something” — he said that for years. But even more negligent than the lax security measures taken by the school is its refusal to protect students from the feral press who are taking the “if it bleeds, it leads” maxim to heart. To make matters worse for the school, the gory climax of the film takes place onstage in the campus’s theatre, officially putting an end to Ohio Windsor’s nascent theatre program. It’s so fun to see John Travolta in full Robert Shapiro prosthetic makeup walk off the set and come to watch Lady Gaga do a scene, and meet her for the first time.

So in the case of Scream Queens, we’ve been working on the script for a year and by the time we started shooting, we had more than half of them done and the rest obviously plotted out. Grace is really the eyes and ears of the audience when coming to college and joining a sorority and trying to date boys when you never really dated before and making friends and living with people. I also feel like I have two little boys and I want them to see a father that they’re proud of, and hopefully can get something from in terms of work ethic and things like that.

I’m not writing American Crime Story, rather that has a completely different writing staff and that’s something I signed on to as a fan because I read these first two scripts and I’m like, ‘Why aren’t these getting made?’ These are the two best scripts I’ve ever read. I have [] and Ian [Brennan] and Tim Minear and James Wong, just an incredible group of collaborators all of whom have really stepped up and who are excited about it.

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