It is February which means two things: Valentine’s Day which I touched on last week and suggested some great Valentine’s Day themed horror and now it’s time to focus on Black History Month. I believe I might have mentioned or touched on BHM in the past because I do remember reviewing Horror Noire and that documentary will be featured in this. It is important to recognize black horror and black history as both are intertwined. As someone who is, by definition, black, and a lover of horror, it is a shame that it has taken me to get to this point in my life to see black horror being represented better and recognized. We have gone from being de-humanized to a token to now being lead protagonists and we are the main focus and not some plot device to help the white main character.
But this post is for those who are not fully aware of black horror or who only knows of one like… Candyman. Nothing wrong with that movie but there are more than just that.
Here’s a list of black horror you should either a) know of, b) seen or c) it needs to be on your list.
Fair warning there are some I have not seen yet, only cos it’s hard to find them or I need time to see them (and there are some I’m missing) but here we go:
Sugar Hill (1974)
Horror Noire (2019)
Tales from the Hood (1995)
Get Out (2017)
The People Under the Stairs (1991)
Ganja & Hess (1973)
Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)
Attack the Block (2011)
His Place (2020)
Def by Temptation (1990)
Eve’s Bayou (I count it as one) (1997)
Night of the Living Dead (lead black actor) (1968)
Vamp (lead black antagonist) (1986)
Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (lead black actress) (1995)
The Craft (lead black actress) (1996)
These films, plus others I hadn’t listed, have their place within the horror genre. Some are history changing films, others give us a glimpse into black culture and how our culture is influential (and even appropriated) in the wrong hands. I remember a quote from Horror Noire, which is available only on Shudder, saying black horror is black history.
That quote stuck with me and is still relevant. Of all of these titles listed, Horror Noire is where you should start because it goes through the entire history of black people. And how black people were represented or shown on screen to being the villain and mocked to non-existent in the 50s and how the hiring of Duane Jones into the lead role in Night of the Living Dead changed everything.
I’m always on the hunt for black horror whether in film or television, old or new like Antebellum (I heard it was okay to not so great though Janelle Monae did great), or one of the best Blaxplotation films like Blacula and its sequel Scream, Blacula, Scream.
Black History Month is more than a month, it’s 365 days and black horror reflects what is happening in our society today and I cannot be more than excited to see future black horror films come our way.