The blood-curdling “Scream Queens” of VH1

This week, VH1 — the network that brought us America’s Most Smartest Model — debuted its new reality series, Scream Queens, in which 10 actresses compete for a “breakout” role in Saw VI.

According to the press release, "The contestants will compete in a series of exacting challenges designed to prove they have the smarts, talent and strength to succeed. From working with bugs, gore and stunts to acting across from A-list talent, the girls will be put through an intense horror-acting boot camp."

The judges are "Hollywood’s toughest acting coach" John Homa, Saw franchise vet actress Shawnee Smith, and horror writer/director/producer James Gunn (Dawn of the Dead, Slither):

Here’s a preview of the show:

If the groovy grindhouse-style trailer for the show is any indication, the contestants are going to have to face some pretty hair-raising challenges, including flopping around in a vat of "blood," letting professionally trained cockroaches scramble across their bodies, and, gulp, some "girl-on-girl action" in a hot tub.

That creepy faux-lesbian tongue-touch kissing is the scariest thing I’ve ever seen! Bravo, Scream Queens, I’m officially petrified!

This week, the contestants met their first scene partner:

When Shawnee introduced him (after he burst through a wall and scared the bejesus out of all them), she added, "This is a homicidal maniac. No, you may not date him."

Shawnee then told them that their acting challenge was to "convince him not to kill you." And you thought Tyra was tough!

Acting newcomer and Hooters waitress Tanedra Howard won the first challenge and is already a front-runner in the competition:

But the rules of reality TV dictate that an early favorite can easily be cut after one fumbled challenge (or for the lack of ability to generate sustainable girl-drama with one’s castmates). So tune in next week to find out if Tanedra gets "The Axe!" Scream Queens airs Mondays at 10/9c on VH1.