'Scream Queens' Victim Talks Grisly Fate, Backstreet Boys Homage

A castmember dishes on how no one is safe on Fox anthology series.
Courtesy of FOX
Scream Queens

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the "Chainsaw" episode of Fox's Scream Queens.]

Chainsaw movies are practically their own subgenre of horror film, and Scream Queens — Fox's horror-comedy anthology series from Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan — took on the killer trope by putting one in the hands of the Red Devil.

In “Chainsaw,” Grace (Skyler Samuels) and Zayday (Keke Palmer) put their detective caps on as they head to Chanel #2’s (Ariana Grande) home to investigate exactly what happened to her. They learn she used to date Chanel’s (Emma Roberts) on-and-off boyfriend Chad (Glen Powell). Roger Bart and Charisma Carpenter guest star as Chanel #2’s parents. Over in the Kappa house, Hester (Lea Michele) nearly gets herself killed by Chanel who finds her infiltrating her closet (Click here to learn more about the cast of characters.)

“Chainsaw” also sheds more light on the Dickie Dollar Scholars in the wake of Boone’s (Nick Jonas) death, which is ruled a suicide. Chad, the leader of the Dickie Dollar Scholars — whom the rest of the guys follow around in the same way Chanel’s minions revere her, isn’t so convinced of the suicide story. The guys decide to don all white and take to the streets for a Backstreet Boys-inspired street fight with the Red Devil.

As far as Red Devil suspects go, “Chainsaw” only complicates things further when two Red Devils come out to play with the Dollar Scholars, who get a lot more than they bargained for. Caulfield, one of the brothers, gets both of his arms chainsawed off by the Red Devil, who also claims the life of the new school mascot Coney, a soft serve ice cream cone.

Here, Evan Paley — who plays Caulfield — breaks down that bonkers Backstreet Boys scene and talks about what it’s like to work on a show where anyone can go at any time.

How would you describe the Dickie Dollar Scholars?

They’re typical frat boys. They’re all about having a good time, not really caring about anyone else other than themselves. They’re very macho but deep down inside know that there are a lot of sexuality issues in their frat. And they’re also just really embellished versions of frat stars. They’re all very college-y, very bro. They’re all minions to Chad. We all go with his ideas; we all follow him; we’re all just machines in his world. I love the fact that they made it a golf frat. The way we dress is absolutely ridiculous. Our style is so insanely out of this world, and everyone has their own unique style in the frat. We’re just a stylish group of douchebags basically.

Did you approach the role as a comedic one or were you also cognizant of the horror elements of the show?

I approached it as comedy. The first description I ever heard about my character was that he’s the big, muscular Caulfield. ... I approached the character as just over-embellishing things, being a big doofus frat bro that is very optimistic about life. There’s a lot of bad things that happen to my character, and through it all, he finds the silver lining. He’s a happy dude no matter what. At the end of episode three, everyone is going to think that he died. This kid gets his arms chainsawed off, and it doesn’t faze him. He’s still ready to party; it doesn’t faze this kid. At the end of episode three, when he loses his arms, he's trying to save Chad. Everything is about protecting Chad. Chad is like our Yoda, and we’d do anything and everything possible to protect him because he’s our guy. He’s our JFK. If only someone had taken the bullet for JFK. I took a chainsaw for Chad.

Did you know right away going into this role that your character would be gruesomely attacked with a chainsaw?

I had no idea about anything with my character. Ryan called and said, "So, you want the good news or the bad news? The good news is, you don’t die right away. The bad news is I’m chainsawing your arms off." I thought it was hilarious. I joked around and said, "Good! I’ll be like the modern-day Chubbs!" The process of making all of the prosthetics took about eight hours.

Is there a sense on set that no one is safe?

Yeah. Glenn said it’s like a terrifying American Idol. Each week, you don’t know who’s going to go. Even the top dog could go. I’m almost positive that the Red Devil doesn’t even know who the Red Devil is.

Had you ever had to film a violent scene like this before? What was it like for you?

It was incredible. We filmed on a Friday from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. and it was 92 degrees in New Orleans with 100 percent humidity all the way up until 6 a.m. The violent stuff was all so fun. Working with the stunt coordinator and getting to do all my own stunts was a thrill. The scene where I get my arms chopped off is really bloody and gory, and it was really cool just being in the moment. 

The whole fight sequence starts as this weird Backstreet Boys moment. Are you a Backstreet Boys fan?

I am a huge Backstreet Boys fan, and when wardrobe first told us that we were going to be wearing all white, immediately my first thought was a boy band. Glenn, who had the idea, got his inspiration from the Backstreet Boys. Then it just became really funny. In that scene, we’re the White Angels. We’re so ridiculous, which is exactly what the Backstreet Boys were. The song they use in the scene, “Backstreet’s Back,” is one of my favorites. 

Do you have your own theory for who the Red Devil might be?

Yes. Here’s my theory: I think that the Red Devil is Oliver Hudson [Wes, Grace's father]. I think Grace was lied to as a young child and told that her mother died when she was 2, but that her mom is actually the one who died in the bathtub. I think she’s the baby and Wes' crush was the one that had the baby and he was obligated to take care of the baby. And because the girls let her die, he basically comes back to exact revenge on all the Kappas and everyone who gets in the way. I don’t think that the Dickies are really targeted. I think whoever the baby is is involved in some way with the killer, whether it is the killer or is involved with the killer, but this episode really throws everyone, because in our scene, there are two Red Devils.

So there is a main Red Devil and then multiple Red Devil colleagues?

That’s very Scream-esque. I think it’s really going to surprise people.

What did you think of that gruesome chainsaw scene? Do you think Paley is onto something with his theory? Sound off in the comments section, below. Click here to get to know all the characters.

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