Ryan Murphy’s upcoming anthology horror, Scream Queens, has operated thus far under the cover of darkness. It’s not hard to see why, either. Everything Murphy puts his hand to turns to gold and Fox wants to keep a lid on his next bout of genius. From Glee to American Horror Story his unique approach to television narratives is refreshingly lapped up by appreciative audiences and critics. And now, Murphy has opened up about some of the campus comedy’s inner workings, along with revealing the first official photos from the show.
Thus far, we’ve only been clued in to the vague outline of the series: a campus-set horror comedy about a series of killings. In a new interview, Murphy has gone one step further, describing it as a “real murder mystery whodunit” in the vein of “Heathers meets Friday the 13th.” He goes on to offer further insight into the show’s backstory:
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.
The origin behind the show itself is also discussed as Murphy recalls how he, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan decided to merge their passions to create a new take on the slasher:
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.
What’s very intriguing about his comments is the complete omission of Wes Craven’s Scream (come on, you even share a similar title!) in the references he lists. That 1996 thriller redefined the rules of horror, imbuing real comedy with real gore, and the genre hasn’t been the same since. Granted, we’ve yet to see a single frame of the series, but the fact that there’s not even a simple acknowledgement to a movie that Scream Queens bears a striking thematic resemblance to is a little unusual.
Regardless, it’s exciting to finally get a bit of backstory, character biographies and further insight into the various elements the show intends to incorporate. For the full interview and low-down of the show, head over to EW.
The series is set to debut on Fox this fall and stars Emma Roberts, Jamie Lee Curtis, Lea Michele, Abigail Breslin, Keke Palmer, Skyler Samuels, Nasim Perdad, Billie Lourde, Oliver Hudson, Diego Boneta, Glen Powell, Lucien Laviscount, Ariana Grande and Nick Jonas.