A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this reality series -- in which aspiring actresses compete for a role in a horror movie -- has lots of screaming, fake blood, gory imagery, and acting exercises in which the women are required to act as serial killer victims (albeit ones who can fight back). They're expected to perform "sexy" parts, dress in skimpy outfits, and perform in simulated nude scenes. Some practice scenes include same-sex kissing. Also expect plenty of iffy language (the strongest words are bleeped) and some drinking.
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What's the story?
SCREAM QUEENS follows 10 aspiring actresses as they compete for a coveted role in Saw VI. Each week, they're trained and mentored by horror film director James Gunn, acting coach John Homa, and actress Shawnee Smith, whose role in the Saw franchise has made her scream royalty. After a series of exercises designed to teach the contestants a specific trick of the terror trade, each is screen tested to see if she's got the looks and talent for the part. Those who fail to impress risk being axed from the competition. Adding to the theatrics is the drama resulting from all the up-and-coming performers living together and trying to get along.
Is it any good?
Scream Queens offers a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into creating horror films and highlights some of the production techniques used to create terrifying movie moments. It also highlights the contradictory traits that the ideal horror film actress has to portray -- from beauty and vulnerability to grittiness and a sense of empowerment -- to create the kinds of scenes that make these films cult classics.
But, like most other reality competitions, the pressure to outperform the other contestants in front of the judges leads to some catty arguing and other scary behavior. The show also has plenty of sexual innuendo, salty language, and violent imagery. It's not appropriate for tweens, but teens who can handle this sort of thing might get a kick out of watching what goes into making the ultimate horror flick.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of horror films. What makes them entertaining to some people? Are horror films the same as slasher movies? If not, what's the difference? Families can also discuss the challenges of pursuing a professional acting career. Do you think winning a competition like this can actually help aspiring actresses break into the industry, or is it just a one-shot deal? What do you think the contestants motivations are to be on this show?