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Here Are Some Of The Best Black Horror Movies Ever Made

In James Baldwin’s 1976 critique of the landmark horror film The Exorcist, the legendary author argues that the horror genre is merely “cheap thrills” which contrasts with the real-life horror that the Black community had to endure for years. Thus, with the emergence of the genre of Black horror, a new path was crafted. This has led the way for artists like Jordan Peele to create films that focus on the idea of ​​racism that the Black community faces, in turn, responding to the Baldwinian critique.

As stated by Anthony Breznican, the Black horror genre, whilst not a new phenomenon, has been used to dig deep into the past horror that the African American community had to face, and at the present day, the creators of Black horror movies are continuing this legacy. They use their films to expose the brutal reality of the past and even the present. Hence, this particular genre is of utmost importance and, fortunately, the films that have been created thus far have not failed to deliver noteworthy stories. Here are some of the most brilliant Black horror movies that ensure the audience’s jaws get dropped.

7 Ganja and Hess

Duane Jones as Dr.  Hess Green with Marlene Clark as Ganja Meda
Kelly-Jordan Enterprises

Adam Piron states that this 1973 movie is “ahead of its time and is still beyond our own.” Ganja and Hess focuses on a Dracula-inspired story with the protagonist, Dr. Hess Green (played by Duane Jones), converting into a vampire after his assistant stabs him with a Myrthian dagger. However, rather than ensuring that the protagonist continues living his vampire life and accepting his immortality, what we are given is an ending where he leaves his legacy to his lover, Ganja Meda (played by Marlene Clark), and suicidally succumbs himself to a vampire -killing church. This masterpiece by Bill Gunn is definitely a timeless feat, and even the great Spike Lee could not improve upon it with his remake, The Sweet Blood of Jesus.

Related: Top 10 Black Movies of 2021

6 Black Box

Mamoudou Athie as Nolan Wright undergoes Dr.  Brook's experiment.
Amazon Studios

This sci-fi horror movie by Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour Jr. follows the story of the protagonist, Nolan (played by Mamoudou Athie), who is fighting to regain his consciousness in an experimental procedure. Nolan gets caught up with another person, a man named Thomas who was killed some years back, and compllications from the experiment ensue. Whilst Black Box is reminiscent of Peele’s Get Out due to the similarity between the experiments the two protagonists go through, the former does not focus on the white-black dichotomy. Nevertheless, Black Box is a film that does not fall short of shocking twists, and looks great in the process.

5 His House

Sope Dirisu as Bol inside the shabby house they are given by the government.

Remi Weeks’ directorial debut His House is a film that, like most great horror, incorporates a global or sociopolitical issue into the genre of horror. This particular film focuses on the immigration experience and what it is like to assimilate into a foreign environment. What is significant about His House is that it evokes the pains and sufferings that refugees have to undergo in their own homeland, during the process of escaping, and even after settling down in the new land. The concept of being haunted by the traumas of the past and the anxieties of the present are made horrifically manifest in this great claustrophobic film. Thus, it can be said that, as per Weeks’ hopes, His House is a movie which opens up the conversation on immigration.

4 Candyman (1992)

Tony Todd as Candyman.
TriStar Pictures

The misconceptions attached to the African American community are often nothing more than racial bias and sometimes even racist acts, and this 1992 film “turn[s] the embodiment of that fear-mongering into a literal bogeyman that appears out of nowhere to violently murdered people, ” as Rolling Stone writes. Based on the short story The Forbidden by Clive Barker, Candymans story stems from the injustice the antagonist faced due to his race; the Candyman was actually the son of a slave who is lynched to death after falling in love with a white woman and impregnating her. Nia DaCosta’s 2021 movie Candyman is a “continuation” of the classic original, and is also, another Black horror film with an incredible story.

Related: Here’s Why Candyman is the Most Underrated Horror Franchise

3 Us

Jordan Peele's Us Gets New Later Release Date
Universal Pictures

Another masterpiece by Jordan Peele, Us stars Lupita Nyong’o as the protagonist, Adelaide Wilson, as she and her family face down their look-alikes, or ‘tethereds.’ Interestingly, this movie comes from Peele’s own fear against doppelgängersas he states that he was terrified of “the idea of ​​doppelgängers since [he] was a kid. “The ending of Us brought much controversy and discussion to the movie, as it consists of a plot twist that leaves the viewer shocked to their core. The idea behind such an ending, as discussed by Peele himself, is to convey the message that perhaps we are the monsters, the villains who think they are the protagonists. We are given a story where the line between hero and villain is merged, then, and the viewer is made to question what they’ve just seen as well as to tap introspectively into their own selves.

2 Get Out

Daniel Kaluuya trapped in get Out
Universal Pictures

This directorial debut of Jordan Peele is one that shook the world. Get Out is undeniably an eye-opening movie that has also been given the title of the best script of the 21st century by the Writers Guild of America. Deservingly so, as this film manages to combine horror and comedy in extremely realistic ways, and uses rich allegories and dialogue to convey complicated themes. Daniel Kaluuya’s performance as Chris Washington, a photographer who ends up in a disturbing and horrific situation after getting invited to meet his girlfriend’s family, is so phenomenal that he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor. Peele even won an Oscar for his script, which was one of the defining moments in Black horror, and one which has served to legitimize horror as a great artistic form in pop culture. Get Out is a film that points out the racism that is very much evident in the present day, but does so with gleeful terror.

1 Night of the Living Dead

Duane Jones checks the TV
Continental Distributing

Richard Newby of The Hollywood Reporter called this film “a little independent B-movie” that turned “into one of the most socially relevant horror movies to ever emerge from the darkened corners of America’s history.” Additionally, this is one of the best debut movies from a first-time filmmaker, George A. Romero, who went on to gain the title “Father of the Zombie Film” thanks to this specific feature. One key reason why Night of the Living Dead is so significant is due to its casting of a black protagonist as the hero of the film. Duane Jones took over the role of Ben, who is the only survivor amidst a group of humans who encounter some zombies and try to survive the night. However, his ending is tragically unfortunate, and is very much reflective of the racism that the African American community faces; when he is gunned down by white sheriffs, one cannot help think of Martin Luther King Jr., shot and killed the same year of its release, or later police killings of young Black men. Thus, Night of the Living Dead is reflective of the radical year of 1968and remains.a significant movie not just for horror cinema, but for Black horror and Black cinema in general.

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