In what is being billed as ‘Heathers’ meets ‘Scream’, Ryan Murphy is finally seepig out information about his upcoming horror-comedy that will debut this fall on Fox. Entertainment Weekly magazine asked the director/producer a few questions about the show and here’s what he had to say…
EW: Where did the idea for this show come from?
RYAN MURPHY: Brad and Ian and I, all three of us, were always obsessed with the ’80s/early ’90s slasher genre that was always about young people and always about coming of age. So we loved that and we decided to sort of be inspired by that idea. That was sort of the impetus of it. It’s sort of the idea of what would happen if you put something like Heathers meets Friday the 13th to those genre pictures like Massacre on Sorority Row, that early-to-late ’80s exploitation horror thing.
I really like the idea of doing a comedy and doing sort of anthological comedy. What I love about it is when it’s funny, it’s funny. And when it’s scary, it’s scary. One thing too that I hear all the time from women about American Horror Story is, “I love the idea of it but it’s too scary and I can’t watch it.” So the question we asked is, “How do we keep it scary but write something for that audience?” It doesn’t have the gore of American Horror Story but it certainly still has the scares.
The other thing it’s inspired by is it’s a real murder mystery whodunit. In the very first episode you meet all the characters and then the killings start happening on this college campus. Every character in the piece has the motivation to be the killer. So when you’re watching it, part of the fun is, Okay who did it? It’s not revealed until the last episode when literally the mask of the Red Devil, who is the killer, comes off and we say, Boom here’s your killer.
It’s also a show about the sorority/fraternity system in our country and what’s happening with that so it’s a satire about that.
What’s the basic plot of Scream Queens?
It opens in a flashback to 1995 at the sorority where something horrible happens. It’s a mystery that goes unsolved. Flash forward 20 years to today, and it looks like someone is out for revenge. Something horrible happened to a pledge and on the anniversary of that crime, someone is out for vengeance.
a look at the full cast…
Who does Emma Roberts play?
Emma Roberts is Chanel, who’s the president of Kappa Sorority. She’s very funny and very ruthless. All her life all she’s wanted to do is be president of Kappa and have this great boyfriend and rule the roost. She’s very fashionable and very ruthless.
I love Emma. It was written for her. She’s super funny.
And Jamie Lee Curtis is Cathy Munsch, the dean of the school?
Jamie Lee plays the dean of the school who has had it up to here with these bitches in the sorority. She’s the dean of students who wants to change the system. She wants to stop the racist status quo that many of the houses in her university have fallen into. She’s a leader and a crusader and might have to shutdown the system by literally killing them all. She’s just had it.
She’s a woman who’s just gone through a really bad divorce. Her husband has left her for a 25 year-old. So she’s throwing all of her life into this job and reinventing herself.
She’s my new obsession that Jamie Lee Curtis. She’s really quite something.
I’ve always wanted to work with her. Being on the set with Jamie Lee Curtis and hearing stories about how they were shooting Halloween and the bad wig she had in Halloween II.
Will there be a structure like one big death an episode?
One thing we’ve said to the cast is that every episode someone is going. It’s always somebody you least suspect or expect. The killer is on a reign of terror. It’s very much like Ten Little Indians. There’s a real tune-in factor because it’s like, Who’s going to be picked off this week? And also who is the killer? Every episode, you get clues as to who the killer is going to be and then all of these clues accumulate.
Is the killer mask a devil mask like in the teasers?
Yeah. Wallace University’s mascot is the Red Devil. So somebody has stolen the Red Devil costume and that’s what he or she wears when they commit the crimes. We spent five months working on the prototype for that devil outfit. I’m really happy with it. He or she uses everything [as weapons].
So will each season be a different conceit like American Horror Story?
It’s different than Horror Story. Jamie Lee and I were talking about that in horror movies, particularly in that era, there was always the last girl, the final girl. So we’re playing with that. Whoever survives—and there will be people who will survive—they will go on next season to a new location and a new terror. Unlike Horror Story, which completely reboots, this has some of the continuity in that some of the characters and some of the relationships continue into a new world.
‘Scream Queens’ stars Emma Roberts, Jamie Lee Curtis, Lea Michele, Keke Palmer, Oliver Hudson, Abigail Breslin, Nick Jonas and Ariana Grande.
For the full interview, click here.