Scream Queens: Chainsaw OTT Fun Continues (Review)


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The pilot of Scream Queens last week started off the over the top (OTT) fun with Ariana Grande’s character, Chanel #2,  tweeting about being murdered by the Red Devil.  Something that Denise Hemphill brings up later in the second episode and then the scene follows up with a gag about Instagram and an obviously dead Chanel #2 posting to the social network.

Chainsaw, the second episode of the Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk project,  is apparently Brennan’s baby, written and directed by, and he has obviously channelled his inner Wayans’ and Zucker’s into this installment. The first look at the series, in the pilot, contained a lot of Scary Movie type humor, but now the show has shifted into overdrive with its clear homage to all things Animal House as well as the more comical side of every sorority house slasher ever made.

Emma Roberts continues to slay her role as Chanel #1, aka Chanel Oberlin (“Hello Idiot Hookers”) who manages to make every insult that comes from her mouth hysterically funny. The actress can literally deliver the goods with each gem that spills from her vitriolic lips. The makeover prelude with Lea Michele is brilliant.

Speaking of Lea Michele…the whole makeover scene is her baby. While Roberts starts off as the lead, Michele as the new Chanel #6 steals the entire set piece. Looking beyond stunning after coming down the stairs, one of the girls tells the pledge how great she looks. Hester (Michele) replies that she is in agony without her brace but it is worth it; all delivered between gritted teeth shaped into a smile. Brilliant.

In this installment, Denise Hemphil (Niecy Nash) continues to play the female version of Marlon Wayans’ character in Scary Movie, without the drug intake. Her lines throughout the series thus far are funny but one winces while laughing wondering when the PC police are going to strike.

Abigail Breslin has completely left her Little Miss Sunshine and Zombieland days behind her. The scene between Chanel #5 (Breslin) and Roberts is eyeopening and also requires a bit of wincing. Realizing that the young lady who is boasting of being “Eiffel Towered” is the same one who competes in the talent  contest in “Sunshine” is a little disturbing…but still so funny.

There are so many sexual innuendos that one can easily lose count. One of the best has to be the Chanel #3 (Billie Lourd) line, “Cause munching box is what killed Michael Douglas…” (Note, Douglas is not dead for those who may have just panicked a little.) Later #3 comes out with a line that has nothing to do with sex but is still memorable. Discussing her family lineage she says to Sam (Jeanna Han) “You know Swenson? Swenson the frozen dinners, like Swanson’s for poor people…”

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Chad in The Warriors, A Clockwork Orange, West Side Story, boy band scene…

There are so many comic moments that it is hard to keep track. The whole The Warriors thing with Chad and his frat boys carrying bats and calling out the Red Devil but looking like A Clockwork Orange with their cricket whites on. Grace’s dad showing the film analysis class the Tobe Hooper 1974 original classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and his strange rambling summation of the film’s ending after.

Also the completely random but, oh so funny, battle between Coney the new mascot and the Red Devil after Aaron Cohen’s off screen monologue about how great it is being Coney and how he is never taking the costume off.

Back to Cody’s baseball bat carrying friends and their moment in the street against the two killers…Was that a riff on the 1975 Monty Python and the Holy Grail?  The “Come back and fight scene?” Answers in the comments please, or on a post card if you are over a certain age…

Scream Queens not only takes on all things from the slasher genre and makes over the top fun of it but also includes as many pop culture references as possible. Even the cast are culturally relevant. Ariana Grande,  Jamie Lee Curtis, and KeKe Palmer (one of the busiest young performers in the business apparently) are an example of the awareness of the casting directors and the show’s producers.

*Sidenote* How many folks instantly hear that YouTube kid’s song (Jenna Rose “My Jeans.”) when they see Palmer on screen? You know the one, “KeKe Palmer is wearing my jeans.” Never heard of the actress till that song…

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Wes, Grace’s dad, presents the best movie ever…

Back to the show, Curtis is still knocking it out of the park even when the dialogue and the action enter and  then go beyond ridiculous. The whole white noise gag bordered on idiocy yet both actresses managed to play it straight which made it work…after a fashion. A little too OTT chaps…just saying.

The show is still working though. The bit of almost Airplane! dialogue between Grace and ZayDay (Palmer) at the start :

“You want to put syrup on chips? You can’t be serious, right?”

“Yes, I’m serious.”

“You’re insane.”

Everything about episode two screams comedy. Dean Munsch’s  “Take back the night” speech and (disregarding the comedic Barfman and kelp in ice cream gag) Lea Michele’s character Hester’s rapt look while listening to the dean. Michele pretty much owned this installment on the sorority sister side. Watch that scene and you will see why.

The taser in the “nuts” gag, the chainsaw under ZayDay’s bed, the frat boy street battle…Chainsaw shoved comedy up front and slipped the horror under the bed with Williams’s granny’s protection present.

Charisma Carpenter (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel) and Roger Bart (Desperate Housewives, The Producers) as Ariana Grande’s Chanel #2’s parents worked brilliantly for obvious reasons.

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Roger Bart and Charisma Carpenter…

All in all,  Scream Queens still manages to deliver in the comedy stakes even if horror took a reluctant backseat in Chainsaw. The show airs Tuesdays on FOX. Tune in to learn the latest slang words for sexual acts and non pc humor and to laugh uncontrollably.

 

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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