warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

'Scream Queens' Season 1, Episode 4: 'Haunted House'

Adrianne Ramsey |
October 6, 2015 | 11:01 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Chad screams his head off (FOX)
Chad screams his head off (FOX)

The latest episode of "Scream Queens" marks the beginning of a three-week Halloween event, and the kick-off was filled with suspense and laughter as viewers try to figure out who the Red Devil is. 

The episode begins with “Chanel-o-ween,” which is a spoof of Taylor Swift’s Swift-mas.” Chanel (Emma Roberts) and her minions make presents to give to losers who idolize Chanel on social media, such as severed feet and heads. While the presents are pretty weird and include some mean messages to the recipients, neither party is complaining – Chanel is basking in the attention and the others are happy to have been noticed by her. According to Chanel, it's her world...and we're all just living in it. 

Back at the Kappa house, the police show up to investigate the attempted murder on Gigi (Nasim Pedrad) that happened at the end of the previous episode. The officers question Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis), but she is easily let go as the community admires her. This greatly upsets Wes (Oliver Hudson) and Gigi, and Munsch not only takes the opportunity to belittle their accusations, but also invites Wes to go with her as a date to the faculty Halloween party whilst rubbing her foot against his calf in an attempt to seduce him.

Pete (Diego Boneta) and Grace (Skyler Samuels) have arrived at Mandy Greenwell’s (Jennifer Aspen) residence, which turns out to be a trailer park in the middle of nowhere. She is eager to tell her story, as she has lived off the grid since that night twenty years ago. The scene flashes back to the Kappa bathtub incident, with Munsch ruling the roost and declaring that there will be no police involved. Ms. Bean (Jan Hoag) offers to "sausage" the dead pledge, but Munsch is insistent that she and the girls bury the body. Munsch drives them to a secret location, where they dig a hole and throw the body in. While the girls do the dirty work, Munsch is adamant that they immediately leave school and never talk to one another again. The girls protest, but Munsch vows that nothing will ruin her position as associate dean and any future promotions. Back in the present, Mandy says that Munsch is evil and that night has haunted her and the others – one of them was institutionalized and another committed suicide. She also confirms that the baby is a girl, which disturbs Grace very much because she begins to suspect that she is the baby. After Pete and Grace leave, Mandy is watching movies when her house is attacked by the Red Devil, and she is stabbed to death. 

READ MORE: Scream Queens Season 1, Episode 3 Recap 

Zayday (Keke Palmer) has decided to run for Kappa president, and is encouraged by Earl Grey (Lucien Laviscount) to come up with a theme for her campaign. He wants her to win because he hopes that the Greek system will be positively changed. While the Kappa pledges later carve pumpkins for Chanel-o-ween, Zayday announces her presidency campaign and that she will be hosting a Haunted House party/fundraiser. Chanel is incredibly insulted and flips out, threatening to ruin Zayday’s reputation if she tries to steal her throne. Zayday, however, doesn’t back down and threatens to tell the police that Chanel killed Ms. Bean. The war between Zayday and Chanel has been declared. Chanel’s mental state deteriorates due to Zayday’s plans, as she sharpens kitchen knives at three in the morning and dangerously waves them at her minions. Chanel #3 (Billie Lourd) and #5 (Abigail Breslin) help her come up with a plan, which is to throw a haunted pumpkin patch party to fight back against Zayday’s party. 

Next, we see Chad Radwell (Glen Powell) roaming a cemetery, wanting to masturbate to dead corpses and grave stones. Hester (Lea Michele) interrupts him, and the two discover that they have an unbreakable connection since they both love dead bodies. Hester confides in Chad that she wants everything that Chanel has, and that includes him. She also reveals that she would have no problem killing off both Chanel and Zayday so she can become president of Kappa. Chad, being the idiot that he is, is completely turned on by this and decides to strike up a relationship with Hester.

Meanwhile, things are not going well between Grace and Wes. She shows up at the end of his film class and confronts him about her mother’s death. We learn that any records of Grace’s mother, as well as Grace’s birth certificate, were burned up in the alleged fire her mother perished in. Grace accuses Wes of lying to her and asks if she was the bathtub baby. Wes denies lying and tells Grace that she was most definitely born in a hospital. Grace begins to rant and makes crazy accusations that her dad could be the killer. Grace’s detective skills are positively terrible – she never has any evidence to the claims she makes each episode and it all just seems to be so whiny instead of intuitive.

READ MORE: 'Empire' Season 2, Episode 2 Recap 

After the showdown with her dad, Grace is texted by Pete to meet him at a nearby abandoned house. Zayday and Earl Grey also appear, as this is the house that Zayday will use for her haunted house party. Denise (Niecy Nash) once again barges in and tells the tale of how a woman lived upstairs and wailed about dead children, and was rumored to be a hag by the neighborhood kids. One day, they broke into her house and found a disturbing doll collection, which comprised of the toys she had stolen from the neighborhood. Zayday isn’t deterred from throwing the party there, which leads to another confrontation between her and Denise. While Denise is still throwing around wild accusations about Zayday being the Red Devil with no real proof, Zayday turns the tables and reveals that she dug up information on Denise. It turns out that Denise attended Wallace University and pledged Kappa in 1988, but was kicked out because of her African-American race; due to the rejection, she left Wallace. Denise praises Zayday’s detective skills but lets her know she still has her eyes on her. 

The Chanel's lead a smear campaign against Zayday, passing out fliers for Chanel's haunted pumpkin patch party. While the girls eat cotton balls dipped in sauce (ew?), Chanel suddenly decides she wants pizza - however, two catcalling fraternity boys interrupt her. Chanel suddenly takes a feminist standpoint and sticks up for herself and her “sisters”, who then proceed to beat up and humiliate the boys. This whole scene was definitely a far cry from the Chanel we have seen in the previous three episodes, who promotes bulimia and doesn't believe that sororities can represent sisterhood. The consistency with some of these characters is becoming a little blurred. 

The Chanels (FOX)
The Chanels (FOX)

Chad and Hester meet up at the haunted house, wanting to go to the basement and have sex. Unfortunately for them, they find all the dead bodies that fell victim to the Red Devil (and Chanel, in Ms. Bean’s case). Screaming with terror, they immediately leave, but decide not to go to the police. Instead, they warn students in the Grind not to go to the house, but their pleas are ignored. At the haunted house party, Zayday, Pete, Earl Grey, and Grace are confronted with the bodies, and Zayday phones the police. The police are beyond utterly incompetent, and while she is arguing with them, she is kidnapped by the Red Devil. 

Back at Kappa house, the girls learn of Zayday’s disappearance. Grace wants to file a missing-person’s report and Wes wants the campus shut down, but Munsch refuses, as in her words, “majority of the dead bodies are not Wallace students.” The police back up Munsch, leaving Wes and Grace defeated. Chanel is also not concerned about Zayday’s kidnapping; seeming to think that she had it coming to her for trying to become Kappa president. Disgusted, Grace reveals in private to Pete that she discovered that the haunted house became in use a couple of months after the 1995 bathtub incident, and that it's highly likely that the woman in black took care of the bathtub baby. The biggest plot twist of the night is introduced, as viewers discover that the woman in black is none other than Gigi!

Tonight’s episode was much more straightforward than last week’s, and there were some interesting standout points: the blossoming relationship between Hester and Chad, more dark revelations about Dean Munsch, and the addition of the haunted house story. However, Scream Queens is at the point where it needs to find a balance between the ridiculous commentary and being a plot-driven show. The premiere was able to perfectly mold that balance, but the latest episodes have relied more on the shock-value lines. Each episode looks to be suspenseful and the writing is sharp, but some of the scenes just fall flat. Also, can another main cast member get killed off already? All these minor characters are going and it’s not adding much to the suspense.  

Reach staff reporter Adrianne Ramsey here 



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.