Ever wonder how slashers are able to hide their victims's bodies so fast? Ever wonder why they choose the locations they do when hiding them? Ever wonder how they set up the bodies to tumble out of where they are tucked? Well Scream Queens may not answer any of these questions this episode but they do mange to put a new spin on these classic troupes.
In episode 4, titled "Haunted House," we learn about a new urban legend, "The Hag of Shady Lane." The hag legend is being introduced to give one of our characters a sizable twist in their story-line, which is commonplace in these shows. But what I wanted to briefly talk about is how they used the hag's house in this week's episode.
If you are watching the show, then you know the house became the location of a Halloween party. Hester and Chad ended up arriving at the house first and way before any decorations had been put up. Hester ends up playing hard-to-get with Chad and makes him search for her through the house. This actually happened on a very small scale and come to a conclusion the minute they stumbled upon the first body.
In the modern, yet classic, fashion of the show, we see the characters interact with the corpses in a humorous way, until the actual horror of what's happened sinks in. What follows is a series of shots following the characters running throughout the house. As they run from room to room, they find all the characters that have been killed and gone missing. My favorite was Coney, nailed to what appears to be a wooden cross, maybe to suggest he died for their sins..?
They escape by kicking loose a back door and running out of the other end of the house. This alone isn't anything unusual for horror but after a phone call to the police is taken as a prank, since of course there are going to be dead bodies all over a haunted house party, we realize as an audience more people will be arriving and seeing actual dead people and some nobody is supposed to know about.
We return to the party in full swing and follow the perspective of Denise as she too gets caught up in the chain of dead characters and runs screaming down the exact same path as the couple before her. Now this is noteworthy because the shots used to portray these frightened sprints through the house take on a narrative of a haunted house ride. Each body is given its own turn or stop, like you were on a track at a carnival and each room is staged with its own little gimmick or moment in time. This actual strengthens the St. Coney comment I made earlier, but what really makes me believe this was the film makers intention all along, was how she too was spit out of the back of the house.
This wide shot showing the characters running screaming from the house feels like someone capturing the end of a ride and the fact that they are placed somewhere completely deserted really gives it the "go home" feel. Scream Queens is really applying these classic horror troupes in ways we've never seen and giving the Red Devil the meta sense to hide his victims for an actual purpose is mind-blowing to me. I can picture him setting up the perfect path to run screaming through the house after discovering all the fruits to his many labors.
- Lord Battle