Since it’s the season to be scary, let’s put an orange light on horror films with the best representation of Blackness on-screen. So here’s the breakdown of what qualifies as a Black horror film:
A) A Black director with a Black lead
B) A Black lead
C) An all-Black or majority-Black cast.
Now that we got that settled, let’s get into the list:
(11) Night of The Living Dead (1968)
To the commercial masses, high praise goes to George A. Romero for creating the blueprint zombie film; to the Black audience, their admiration was watching lead character Ben, a Black man giving white folks orders during the zombie apocalypse.
(10) Tales From the Hood (1995)
Not sure which is more horrific within the four short stories; an evil-possessed killer doll and Deadman ghost or police brutality and racism.
(9) US (2019)
A Black family unites to fight against the evil version of themselves for survival is
the definition of U-N-I-T-Y.
(8) Blacula (1972)
Yes, by today’s standards, the title name is pretty laugh-out-loud. However, this historical piece of 70s Black Cinema about a Black prince who, while trying to stop the slave trade, was cursed by an evil white man named Count Dracula is low key hero worthy, if not for the blood-sucking part.
(7) The People Under The Stairs (1991)
A young Black boy nicknamed Fool tries to prevent his wealthy, evil, extremely pale white landlords from selling his family’s lower-class apartment to achieve their gentrification plans for the neighborhood. So yes, it’s more of a
(6) Black Box (2020)
It is a suspense thriller that may take a moment to understand its plot, but it is worth seeing a Black father/daughter relationship exist within horror.
(5) Attack the Block (2011)
Remember the scene in Independence Day when Will Smith famously punched that alien in the mouth and then said, “Welcome to earth?!!” Attack the Block has the same attitude as the Black lead character named Moses (yea, that
part) and his crew fight against an alien in their hood instead of stereotypically running like cooning clowns.
(4) Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight (1995)
Black Director Ernest R. Dickerson chose Jada Pinkett-Smith as the final girl to save the world from an evil demon takeover, proving, as always, that not only are Black women dope, but humanity would be dead without them.
(3) The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)
White captives tell a unique young Black girl in prison that they need to operate on her body to save the world from flesh-eating zombies, but she refuses. She would be the villain to some, but the ending will leave a Black audience with a hump-shoulder-type attitude.
(2) Get Out (2017)
The dangers of white suburbia, added by quintessential mean-no-harm racism, is a terror that only a Black soul could understand. Who needs Freddy when you’re a Black person at a modern-day auction block?
(1) Candyman (1992)
Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, and Jason Voorhees were all legendary boogeyman staples until Candyman added himself to their Mt. Rushmore of horror. Candyman was located in section 8 housing and took his frustration out
on a nosey white woman who began to ask one too many questions in the neighborhood.
What makes Black horror special is the ability to merge the real-life struggles of Black life with added dark, twisted fantasies. Whether it’s a superhuman slasher or a majestic spirit, the symbolisms reflect the challenges of Black life on how we live with fear as an enemy or companion.