Fox’s Scream Queens debuted on September 22nd to seemingly mediocre ratings despite tons of social media hype and trending hashtags. After the delayed viewing numbers came in however, the ratings told a different story, as the audience grew to around 7 million when including streaming sites like Hulu. Those aren’t NCIS numbers, but for a show that features multiple killings and disfigurements on a major broadcast network, they’re very respectable and much larger that what MTV’s Scream series saw recently. The large amount of streaming service views of the show and its social media presence seem to indicate that it has an audience that is skewing relatively young. Taking all of the data into account and having actually watched the show, who is the audience for this slasher series?
The tone of this show is less pulse pounding horror, and more tongue in cheek murder mystery with about as much gore on screen as can be allowed during prime-time. When the show was described by series co-creator Ryan Murphy as Heathers meets Halloween, I think he was only half right. I would say it’s more like Heathers meets Scream 4, which is only furthered by the presence of Emma Roberts. The show has a much campier feel than any of those movies however, with over the top deaths that barely phase any of the characters, and intentionally offensive dialogue that doesn’t always elicit the laughter it was intended to.
If you’re a hardcore horror fan yearning for more movies in the mold of the 1980’s slashers or looking for a truly terrifying show, Scream Queens is not what you’re looking for. The show is entertaining and has style and a personality to it, unlike MTV’s Scream, and the acting is better than you might expect for a slasher television series. The presence of Jamie Lee Curtis alone elevates the proceedings, even if her character hasn’t exactly hit all of the right notes yet. The willingness of the show to kill multiple characters in interesting ways is also a good sign. Although, it has yet to be seen if the action can be kept up for the entirety of the season. If you have watched any of the seasons of American Horror Story, you’re aware that Ryan Murphy and crew were not usually able to keep up the intensity level for an entire season, and Scream Queens will be 13 episodes as opposed to a more manageable 10.
I would have to think that the target audience for this show based on what we have seen so far is a generation that is more familiar with Glee and live tweeting a show as they watch it, than something like Pieces. That’s also apparent when you look at the actors on this show with young pop stars such as Ariana Grande and Nick Jonas among the cast. With that said, I was thoroughly entertained by this show and will continue watching, as not everything has to be a mean spirited slasher that acknowledges and pays reverence to all of the movies that came before it. To be fair, a lot of slashers were only chasing the financial success of other movies like Halloween, and even that series devolved into cliches and rather bad movies (Halloween Resurrection) . This series is seemingly going for entertainment value and a large body count, and if it becomes popular with an audience not well acquainted with movies like Black Christmas, it could drive a few new fans to check out the classics. If you’re looking for some underrated slasher movies to check out, watch Corey’s Top 5 Underrated Slasher Films video.
Are you liking this show so far? Do you think it’s aimed at a different audience? Let us know what you think in the comments!