Over the last couple years there has been a spate of slasher series making their way to television. The big question from day one is can you translate a slasher film to television? How do you stretch out the fairly simple plot of the movie into a year long episodic saga, without losing your audience? Fortunately, thanks to streaming services, binging these shows make them a bit more tolerable. Let’s start with the one show on here directly based on a franchise, Scream!
The Scream movies were all about the rules. They were famous for calling out the unwritten laws governing every horror movie and actively pointing them out to the audience. Yeah the kills were there, the mystery and whodunit were there, but really it was these winks to the viewer that sold the movies. Honestly, the series just doesn’t come close to capturing what the movies started.
That doesn’t mean the series is bad, but labeling it as Scream sets a certain expectation. The Ghostface mask is ok, but not great. The characters are ok, but not great, the story is ok, but not great.
The story centers around a group of teenagers in Lakewood. There’s a terrible incident of cyberbullying that goes viral and kicks off the story. Shortly thereafter the killings start and a real whodunit ensues. Kids are getting picked off one by one in some pretty elaborate scenarios. It will keep you scratching your heads to the end.
The hardest part of the series to swallow is just how quickly these kids put very difficult situations, both physical and mental, behind them. It is really hard to get past actually. If you were outed on social media and it went viral by capturing a hot and heavy makeout session, it would take quite a toll. If the loss of your virginity is broadcast to all of your friends, without your knowledge it was recorded at all, that would be seriously damaging! Yet these kids seem to be made of sterner stuff, which makes it hard to feel for the characters.
The one thing this series really has going for it compared to the rest of the shows on this list is how it handles the technology of the day. That actually is an extremely redeeming quality! Most shows and movies don’t really embrace the connected nature of our contemporary society, or if technology is used it’s used as a plot device and not the background static of our everyday lives that it is. Facebook is everywhere. YouTube, Snapchat, Flickr, Streaming services, hidden cameras. These are things that we all use everyday! Scream does keep this in mind and uses them as an everyday thing in these kids’ lives. That is somewhat refreshing. Does it save the series? Maybe a little.
Overall, Scream: The Series is just ok. It’s worth a watch when you’re caught up on all the other shows and aren’t really sure on what to watch. Again though. It’s not amazing, but it’s ok.
Slasher is one that came out of left field from Chiller TV. This one has a very original killer design. It’s not an overly complicated design, which makes it all the more challenging to keep original! How many different ways can you dress up a nameless, masked killer? Well they did it in Slasher with The Executioner!
The story centers around Sarah Bennett returning to her hometown with her new husband in tow. She goes back to the house where her parents were murdered when she was born. I mean that literally. You meet some really strange characters as they move in, some you’ll love and some you’ll love to hate. Particularly the neighbor. Then The Executioner shows up and all hell breaks loose. The thing is, they are somewhat copycat murders to the man who killed Sarah’s parents all those years ago.
Slasher is pretty heavy handed when it comes to religious connections. Sure seven deadly sins kind of stuff, but it’s much more a part of the fabric of the series than that. It’s like the primary motivation to the series. If I didn’t know better I’d say it was funded by some more extremist fundamentalist groups as a warning. It hits you over the head that hard. At least it did for me. Other than that the series was pretty damn good! Things don’t always go the way you expect, and the characters are definitely changed when it’s over. The one thing that did bug me was just how readily available murderers in prison are. People are constantly running to the killer of Sarah’s parents for more info on the copycat killer, and he’s just always there in a meeting room, whenever anyone needs him. Multiple times a day! It’s a pain in the ass process to get a prisoner all set up for something like this, then the visitor walks in and asks one damn question then walks out. What a waste of time, just use the damn phone! Overall it’s a pretty good series that is one worth seeking out.
Jamie Lee Curtis. Oh, did you need to know more than that? I sure as hell didn’t! Smart, funny, and I mean really funny. Whereas other shows go for the serious and scary mystery route, Scream Queens absolutely owns the comedy-horror genre. Or the term I like to use, #Humorror! Every character is an over exaggeration of an archetype. The dense and macho jock golfer college student with an incredibly overactive libido, the manipulative and bitter dean, the killer that enjoys their work a bit much. It makes for a fun ride!
Scream Queens focuses on the girls at the sorority Kappa Kappa Tau being stalked and killed by a murderer donning the school’s mascot’s outfit. The Red Devil. Again, each and every one of the sisters of KKT are over the top. The Dean (Jamie Lee Curtis) wants to shut down the sorority even before the murders begin. The new girl that wants to pledge KKT is a legacy with a soon to be discovered mysterious past. 20 years ago a negligent homicide results in bloody revenge that connects all the current events to the KKT house. This is a must watch series so I’m not going to go too much into the story. It needs to have some elements of surprise!
Really this series does the humor in a way that few films or series have ever captured. The guest stars are amazing. I mean Alan Thicke, when was the last time you heard anything from him? Jamie Lee Curtis steals every single scene she’s in though. Even the Red Devil kills are pretty funny. How about stabbing a sorority girl and with her final dying moments she struggles to post her final status update? Yeah, my kind of humor.
So. Three series and three reviews. Which is the best? For entertainment value it’s Scream Queens by a mile. Slasher is very good as well and is definitely recommended. Scream though. It’s worth watching if there is literally nothing else on, but not something I would ever prioritize. In the end we all win as horror fans!