Actress Keke Palmer knows a thing or two about things that go bump in the night. She plays strong-willed Zayday Williams on Fox’s Scream Queens, the runaway horror-comedy hit of the season.
"Honestly, I was shocked,” she tells B*Real about the massive success of the show. "I felt like people would like the show because it's [show creators] Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan — they’re great guys and great creators, so I knew that people would be into the show in its totality. But I had no idea they would be so into the character Zayday. I was really excited about that and glad that she was getting good feedback."
In honor of Halloween, Palmer shares with B*Real her tips for surviving a psycho killer (fellow scream queens, take note), plus all of her Halloween must-haves.
Folks are particularly intrigued by the Red Devil character on your show. What makes him so creepy?
He kind of has a lot of similarities to Michael Myers from Halloween because he’s always hovering over everything. I think that kind of creepiness adds to the show in that he’s always there and watching. It gives him more of a personality than most killers who are covered up. He has a storyline and you feel like he’s somehow connected, so you want to understand how he’s connected to the house and how he’s connected to the murders.
Real talk: If you were a sister of Kappa Kappa Tau, how would you survive the Red Devil?
I would be like Zayday and I’d do anything I could. I’m not just going to let him come find me, like, I’m sitting down and he’s walking towards me all slow! I’m definitely a fighter. I’m not going to let him just kill me.
You seem like you could outsmart him for sure.
I’d find a way. Believe that.
What do you have planned for Halloween?
In my older age, I’ve been working or I’ve been doing something on Halloween, so I haven’t really been able to go to any parties. Maybe this year I’ll be able to go to a party or something. I’ll be Zayday for Halloween. [Laughs] Or I could see myself being something like Pocahontas or Cleopatra. I just love Cleopatra because she’s a queen and as far as Pocahontas goes, that was one of my favorite movies as a kid.
What’s your favorite Halloween costume to date?
I remember one year I dressed up as Aaliyah, and that was a fun one.
What’s your all-time favorite horror movie?
Probably Leprechaun. It was always so funny. There’s a series of [movies] and there’s one called Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood, and it was hilarious. As the years went on, you could tell that it became more of an independent film, so the shots would be crazy, or his mask is coming off … and it’s like wait, what? [Laughs]
But the type of movies that give me the heebie jeebies are thrillers, because anything that’s playing with your thoughts and mind, that’s scary. But one thing that they never do in horror movies that I always do is I pray. You never see them pray in horror movies. They’re trying to deal with all this stuff on their own and come up with all these tricks, but you should just get down on your knees and go to the church and hide out! But if you’ve ever seen Jeepers Creepers, that lady gets down on her knees just as Jeepers Creepers is about to kill her and he leaves her alone. That would be me in a horror movie.
Last question, and all important: What’s your favorite Halloween candy?
Reese’s, probably. It’s a classic.
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(Photo: Steve Dietl/Fox)