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Emma Roberts in Scream Queens
Emma Roberts in "Scream Queens"Courtesy of Fox

Is teen horror having a moment?

Genre-bending sorority horror Scream Queens is hoping to bring back the teen slasher

Fresh from making James Franco go weak at the knees in Gia Coppola's cult hit Palo Alto, Emma Roberts is getting hazed sorority style for a teen slasher TV show set to debut this autumn that sounds like the stuff of pop-cultural nightmares.

The latest creation of TV renaissance man Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story) – which also stars pop-tarts Ariana Grande, Nick Jonas, and Glee alum Lea Michele – is a warped take on life at a sorority house where sleepovers and murders go hand in hand.

Fans of seminal 90s fare like Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer or even some of Dawson’s Creek's darker moments will immediately see the potential here. It’s been a while since we had a teen horror moment with enough cult appeal to inspire a new generation of slasher fans, so here are the reasons Scream Queens might just be the next Jawbreaker.


While Paranormal Activity and SAW have led the way for mammoth sagas, there’s now a real thirst for original horror on both film and TV – hence American Horror Story’s mass appeal. There’s also a lot to be said for female leads in the genre. Supernatural shocker Oculus (2013) raked in a whopping $44 million upon release: not bad for a film starring that girl from Doctor Who (Karen Gillan). And just try to look at a mirror the same way again post watch. Director Mike Flanagan is set to release his hotly awaited follow-up, Before I Wake, this May – and after that, he’s slated to direct a remake of I Know What You Did Last Summer.


If you can’t imagine taking Lea Michele seriously, remember that Neve Campbell was just that awkward girl from Party of Five until she became one of horror’s new pin-ups thanks to turns in The Craft and Scream. Michele’s now free from the shackles of Glee and clearly wants to shake things up. Her role in Scream Queens is described as dark and unrecognisable. She’s even called it her “Charlize Theron in Monster” moment. Let’s not forget that Emma Roberts was once known as Julia Roberts’ niece who made the odd movie until she turned psycho for Ryan Murphy in American Horror Story. It’s amazing what fake blood on a nightgown and a knack for swear words can do for an actress’s grown up appeal.


Remember watching Sarah Michelle Gellar in I Know What You Did… as she tries to escape the clutches of a maniac while wearing an evening dress? Screenwriter Kevin Williamson reintroduced a generation of late-90s teens to the slasher movie when his work on the Scream franchise and The Faculty smashed box office records worldwide. It wasn’t just the thrills that had young audiences hooked. The characters – what they wore and their sexual innuendo-littered lingo – sent teens into overdrive. Considering Ryan Murphy’s previous work goes heavy on both gore and sex talk, we imagine Scream Queens might be similarily hot 'n' heavy.


The appeal of David Robert Mitchell’s nascent cult hit It Follows goes beyond the creepy plot. The opening scene sees a teen girl racing out of her home, around 5am, in nothing but her underwear and a pair of clumpy red stilettos. When she meets her fatal end on a nearby beach with her leg snapped over head it's half-tragic ending, half-Beyonce dance move and that's where were the magic is. The cult film is laced with funny, hyper-feminine moments that take us back to the super camp premise of Darren Stein's Jawbreaker. Likewise, Scream Queens will have the stabby jokes in between actual stabs.


Aside from the hysteria and bloodletting, slasher films are also great for churning out a host of one-liners that become house party and social media fodder for months to come. How many drunken boys shrieked “I’ll be right back” as they backed out of a room at a house party in the wake of Scream’s phenomenal success? Scream Queens looks far more camp and colourful in its styling, but with Murphy on board, the script is bound to be deliciously quotable for those of us who look forward to shaping our tweets around our new favourite quotable killer.