'Scream Queens' Goes 'Heathers'

By Kaitlin Reilly

If the colorful aesthetic and snappy wit of Glee could merge with the murder and gore of American Horror Story, then the result would undoubtedly be FOX's horror-comedy Scream Queens . The new series is a combination of the two likely because it was created by the brains behind both shows: Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. That said, though — while Scream Queens may have the DNA of former Murphy and Falchuk work, fans of the series may have noticed that the show pays homage to quite a few other works apart from those shows. The most notable so far? The 1989 cult flick Heathers.

If you're a fan of the film and watched Tuesday's episode of Scream Queens (very appropriately titled "Chainsaw") you may have noticed a few references to the movie that put Winona Ryder on the map. The '80s film is about a high schooler named Veronica (Ryder) who accidentally murders the head"Heather" of the Heathers trio — it's often credited with inspiring other "clique" flicks like Mean Girls and Jawbreaker. It seems that Heathers influence now extends to television, though: Murphy himself called the series " Halloween meets Heathers " at Comic-Con, proving that the Heathers really were the precursor to the show's own mean girls: the Chanels.

While there are plenty of subtle homages to Heathers peppered throughout Scream Queens, one specific moment in the episode "Chainsaw" (perhaps itself a reference to iconic Heathers quote "F*ck me gently with a chainsaw"?) is perhaps the most iconic example.

It happens in the scene in which Hester (aka "neck brace girl," played by Lea Michele) searches through Chanel #1's closet. A song hums in the background as she stares wide-eyed at Chanel #1's clothes — that tune is Doris Day's "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)," and it's the song also used in the opening scene of Heathers. Here's the original clip from the film:

And here's the scene from Scream Queens:

Heathers isn't a horror film, but it is a black comedy — and it's certainly one of the most iconic to have ever been made about teens. There's nothing more terrifying than feeling like an outsider, and that's what both Scream Queens and Heathers are really embodying: heads may roll and limbs may be sawed off with chainsaws, but, at the end of the day, it's the anxiety about social life that is keeping the girls of Kappa up at night.

Scream Queens is referential by its very nature, and here's hoping that it continues paying homage to the film that allowed it to exist in the first place.

Images: FOX; Giphy