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Review: ‘Scream Queens’ laughs through the bloodletting

Tom Long
The Detroit News

“Scream Queens” is a high-camp horror comedy television series in which bodies and mysteries pile on top of one another while giggling.

Welcome to Wallace University, more specifically to Kappa House, the most exclusive sorority on campus. In 1995, a Kappa member died after giving birth in a bathtub while a big party was going on. It was a major annoyance for the spoiled Kappa girls and, hey, whatever happened to that baby?

Fast forward 20 years and the reigning witch at Kappa House is Chanel (Emma Roberts), a girl so powerful she has nicknamed her sister-minions Chanel #5, Chanel #3 and Chanel #2 (Abigail Breslin, Billie Lourd and Ariana Grande). They are the most popular girls at school, but this year the imperious Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) has declared the sorority must admit any girl who applies.

So soon an Asian lesbian, a chubby candle vlogger, a deaf girl who idolizes Taylor Swift, all have joined. Particularly notable among the newbies is a strong black girl (Keke Palmer), a girl in a neck brace who’s obsessed with death (“Glee” star Lea Michele), and good-hearted Grace (Skyler Samuels), who immediately realizes how evil Chanel is and vows to expose her.

Complicating things is a mysterious someone dressed in a red devil’s suit who insists on killing people, with the sorority girls as a primary, but not exclusive, target.

“Scream Queens” comes from Ryan Murphy, but it hardly resembles his hit “American Horror Story.” Instead of being seriously macabre, it goes for broad satire, although it certainly has its gory moments. It’s an odd mash-up that leaves little room for real connection to the characters, having faith instead in laughs and blood. Then again, laughs and blood have a good track record.

‘Scream Queens’


8 p.m. Tuesdays

Fox (Channel 2)