Scream Queens “Haunted House” Review (Season 1 Episode 4)

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On a comparatively docile episode of “Scream Queens,” entitled “Haunted House,” only one character bit the big one and we just met them in this episode, so not much time to get attached there. We did, however, find out where all those bodies over the last few episodes had gone- or at least, where they ended up.

No matter, because there’s one thing this episode didn’t lack, and it was laughs. Indeed, the opening section alone was priceless, with Chanel (Emma Roberts) delivering warped gifts to her online followers for “Chanel-o-ween,” such as severed limbs, decapitated heads and even a box of blood!

Pretty much everything said in this segment by anyone was gold, but I put some of my favorite quotes down below. Honestly, if that opening section didn’t make you a fan, this probably isn’t the show for you, anyway. It was all so wrong, it was so right- like one of those MTV “True Life” specials gone horribly awry.

In addition to that, we met one of the only surviving members of the Kappa sorority from back in the day- that day being 1995- who was there the night the sorority sister gave birth and helped cover it up. Her name was Mandy (Jennifer Aspen, of “Party of Five” and “GCB”), and I’ll grant critics of the show that her portrayal was a little on the broad side…of a barn. But isn’t everything on this show, really? Anyway, having her have a pet squirrel and serve what looked to be road-kill/armadillo was a bit much, admittedly. I mean, we GET it- she’s supposed to be white trash, through and through.

Fun fact: The movie Mandy is shown watching shortly before she bit it was “Leprechaun”- not a great one to go out on, admittedly- which contained one of “Friends” star Jennifer Anniston’s early movie roles, pre-stardom, and “Friends” was a show which Aspen guest-starred on, once upon a time. Kind of neat in a sort of “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” sort of way, right? Or not. Moving on…

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We found out that the sex of the baby the Sorority sister gave birth to was, in fact, female, which is what I figured. I’m beginning to wonder if the baby in question isn’t Hester (Lea Michele), but I don’t necessarily think she’s one of the killers. But that warped background might account for her more untoward tendencies. How about that completely warped exchange between her and Chad (Glen Powell) in the graveyard? Pretty icky stuff. I haven’t heard that much reference to necrophilia on TV since…well, ever.

On the other hand, my suspicion of Wes (Oliver Hudson) continues to heat up. I mean, the guy has a fixation on horror movies- that’s literally ALL he’s shown in class to date- and every time he talks about them, he tends to make reference to his past. This week’s feature was “Children of the Corn” and, as before, his assessment included a fair bit of navel-gazing: “We can’t escape our inner child,” indeed. Or our outer one, either, no doubt, as in the child he fathered back in ’95. He might have denied it to his daughter Grace (Skyler Samuels), but I think it’s definitely him, even if I don’t think she’s the child in question.

Another interesting tidbit was revealed in the fact that Gigi (Nasim Pedrad) turned out to be the source of the local legend the “Wailing Hag,” a mysterious figure cloaked in black that was known to cry out in the night, and was seen to be making off with various people’s discarded baby dolls, which she had assembled in a room in a spooky house on Shady Lane (once again, a bit on the nose there, Ryan Murphy).

From what I can tell, it would seem to be her that took on the baby of the deceased mother as her own, which would seem to make her the sorority sister in question in the flashback that offered to do so. Now, why Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis), who was there by all accounts, didn’t recognize her is a bit more questionable, but then again, it was a long time ago, and people do change.

Although, speaking of which, how dead on was that casting of a young Denise (Niecy Nash)? Man, that girl was a dead ringer, right? To that end, we also discovered that Denise had been shunned by Kappa back in the day, when she tried to pledge them in 1988. A good bit before the damning events of 1995, definitely, but certainly enough to cause her to have good reason to resent the girls of Kappa, to be sure. Enough to want to kill them off? Probably not, but you never know.

My favorite moment of the show that wasn’t the opening was the lunchroom scene, in which the girls beat the crap out of two Frat guys- to the strains of “Mad About You,” no less. I like this whole gambit of using old 80’s tunes throughout the show at the most inopportune and inappropriate moments. (“Eyes Without a Face” also cropped up, as people celebrated at the haunted house party that wasn’t really a party yet.)

I would have said that the whole bit with the girls eating cotton balls- with dipping sauce, no less!- was also a bit much, but I was later told by someone that, holy crap, this is actually a thing now. Yes, there are girls out there actually eating cotton balls in an attempt to fool their bodies into thinking they’ve eaten an actual meal. Now if that isn’t scary, I don’t know what is. Yikes! (However, the whole fashionista “lunch boxes” WAS a bit much.)

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Next up, we discovered where the bodies of the fallen had gotten to- or at least, where they’d ended up. In a sequence that was clearly inspired by the classic John Carpenter version of “Halloween,” Hester and Chad met up at the titular “Haunted House” and stumbled across the bodies of Chanel #2, Mandy, Shondell, Coney (crucified, no less), and Ms. Bean. This last one was the most obvious allusion, as Ms. Bean was staged on a bed with a headstone with her name on it behind her at the headboard, just like Annie in “Halloween,” albeit there it was with Judith Myers’ headstone, not her own.

Directly following that was what may have been a nod to the late, great Wes Craven’s original “Scream,” when Chad warned everyone that there were dead bodies in the house on Shady Lane for real, and everyone rushed to see them. Remember the scene where someone announced that the principal’s dead body was hung up on the goalpost on the football field, and someone else yelled: “What are we waiting for? Let’s go check it out before they tear him down!” or something to that effect, and everyone rushed off to see it?

This was the same thing, only taken to the next level, as we saw people posing with the corpses and taking selfies and the like! It’s enough to make one want to distance themselves from the whole “Millennial” generation thing even further, let me tell you, even though I’m just on the fringe of them and “Gen Y” or whatever anyway. Alas, this was one instance where Murphy might have been right on the mark rather than far-fetched for once. I can TOTALLY see this sort of thing happening for real, sad to say.

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Last but not least, we had the subplot with Zayday (Keke Palmer) seeking to supplant Chanel as Kappa President. The whole haunted house thing was her idea, intended to both draw attention to herself as a potential candidate for the job, but also to raise money for sickle cell anemia. Naturally, Chanel didn’t take this lying down, leading me to wonder if she didn’t recruit someone to kidnap Zayday herself to take her out of the running. How else to explain why the Red Devil that took her didn’t kill her outright, but instead kept her?

(Spoiler for those who don’t watch the previews for next week’s show: In the trailer for next week’s episode, we see that Zayday’s being held somewhere in a well-like structure, in what looks like an all-out tribute to “The Silence of the Lambs,” between that and the whole night vision goggles thing we see the killer sporting at one point and various character wandering around in the dark with guns.)

As ever, the episode was ever-quotable. Here are some of my favorites, as per usual:

Chanel, on Halloween: “It’s the one day on the Gregorian calendar where you’ll allowed to go around terrifying children and not be branded a psychopath.”

Chanel, in a personalized note to a fan: “I can’t wait to see you in person, but before that, I’d like to see you post this all over social media to exploit it for my own gain. Happy Chanel-o-ween!”

Newspaper headline from ‘Sorority Monthly’: “Chanel Oberlin Sends Troubled Girl Moths”

Ms. Bean, in a flashback, on how to dispose of the sorority sister who died giving birth: “I’ve got everything we need in the kitchen to make sausages out of her… I can sell her at the Farmers’ Market on Sunday, or I can just feed her to these bitches.” (!!!)

Mandy, on the fates of her fellow sorority sisters: “One girl killed herself, I heard, another girl is institutionalized… a third is actually doing pretty well on FOX news.” (Talk about biting the hands that feed you! Lol.)

Wes, confused by Grace’s line of questioning: “Are you on bath salts?”

Denise, on Zayday’s “real” intentions with her fund-raiser: “More like raise the body count…with murder!”

Chanel #3, on why she joined a sorority: “My sense of personal identity is completely external. If I didn’t have Kappa to define me…I really don’t have much to offer.”

Chanel #5, ditto: “I find that my particular style of speaking and gesticulation is extremely off-putting to most boys and girls and anyone, but with Kappa as my calling card, everyone seems to overlook that.”

Chanel, on sorority sisterhood: “You have all rallied around me, just like I would do for any of you, if I wasn’t busy that day.”

Tommy, when Chanel says guys like him are the reasons girls have eating disorders: “So, you’re basically saying I’m the one responsible for making you look hot? You’re welcome.”

Hester, to Chad: “So, do you think you’re man enough to take me inside that house and attack my crack?” (This after yet another reference to anal sex earlier in a graveyard! Necrophilia AND anal jokes? Clearly, the FOX censors are asleep at the wheel.)

Chanel, on Zayday’s missing status: “I just hope she’s found alive in time for the election. I mean, it would be insane to vote for a girl who might already be dead.”

Chanel, on looking for Zayday: “Zayday should have considered the fact that she was going to get kidnapped before betraying me.”

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Well, that about covers it all. Another solid episode, as ever. I like that they’re doing a three-part lead-up to Halloween. Between this and tomorrow’s premiere of Murphy’s “American Horror Story: Hotel” and “The Walking Dead,” it’s beginning to feel a lot like the Halloween season, and I like it. More horror for everyone, yay!

What did you think about the latest episode of “Scream Queens”? Were you disappointed they toned down the murders this week? Or are they just getting warmed up for more over the next two weeks? Did you enjoy the references to older horror movies? Did you catch any I might have missed? Did you have a favorite line of dialogue I didn’t include? Who do you think did it? Any predictions on who will die next? Sound off down below and see you next week!