Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror Movie Review (In Detail)

In the Shudder documentation HORROR NOIRE: A HISTORY OF BLACK HORROR Filmmakers such as Jordan Peele (“Get Out”), Tony Todd (“Candyman”) and Meosha Bean (“6th Floor”) take the audience on a journey through American horror cinema and place its development in the context of the changing socio-political position African American culture in the USA. We reveal more about this in our review.

OT: Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror (USA 2019)

That’s what it’s about

#BlackLivesMatter – Also in horror films? Xavier Burgin’s documentary film, with the help of well-known interviewees from US horror cinema, traces the eventful history of black representation in horror films, from the early Hollywood classics to the blacksploitation films (“Blacula”) and the modern genre film (“Night of the Living Dead “), “Candyman” (1992) to more recent works such as “Get Out” and “We”.


When Jordan Peele won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay at the 2018 Academy Awards, he became the first African-American writer to achieve the feat. You have to imagine this: To date, 89 golden statues have already been awarded in this category – and all of the winners were white (we’ll definitely talk about the women’s quota again at some point). Now it’s not like there weren’t striking horror films with African-American actors or for the Black community before the winning script for “Get Out” – we’re just remembering the horror icon Candyman (the remake of the 1990s cult is already available in the starting blocks), “Tales from the Hood” or “Night of the Living Dead”, in which George A. Romero cast Duane Jones as the first African-American leading actor in a horror film. Nevertheless, the combination of “First Black Screenplay Winner” and “Get Out” – a film about the constant conflicts between whites and blacks, in short: racism – once again informed the audience of the existence of “Black (Horror) Cinema”. the direct level of perception. And Jordan Peele followed that up with “We.”

Tony Todd talks about his legendary involvement in “Candyman”.

So it makes sense to start a documentary about Black community horror cinema with “Get Out”; The approximately 80-minute film is based on Robin R. Means Coleman’s book of the same name, which was published in 2011 and therefore a few years ago before “Get Out” was released. But it’s not for nothing that the reading has the subtitle “Blacks in American Horror Films from the 1890s to Present” – if you want to talk about the “Present”, you can’t ignore Jordan Peele and his works.

“Get Out” is one of the modern classics of Black Horror Cinema.

But the opening – it’s the famous scene in which LaKeith Stanfield sneaks through a suburban villa area and is shortly afterwards kidnapped by a masked man – only serves as an appetizer; “Get Out” isn’t even an issue after that. Instead, “Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror” is structured like a ramble. Director Xavier Burgin’s interview partners move chronologically (“On Time”) along memorable contributions to the horror story (always accompanied by original excerpts from the films – the makers must have spent a lot on that!) and place them in the context of the history of African Americans in the USA. Sometimes it’s a story of suffering; Horror cinema has always dealt with socio-political themes. The 1970s terror cinema in particular was a unique treatment of traumatic experiences in the Vietnam War. The history of the Black community in the United States is no exception. And so it’s about dealing with topics like slavery and systematic oppression as a horror motif, but also about how the film studios’ financiers learned early on to deal with the Black community in their own way. It is no coincidence, for example, that some of the visages of famous horror movie monsters resemble horrific caricatures of African Americans.

“Horror cinema has always dealt with socio-political issues. The 1970s terror cinema in particular was a unique treatment of traumatic experiences in the Vietnam War.”

But of course black horror cinema is not just a story of suffering! On the contrary. Jordan Peele, Tony Todd, Meosha Been, Ashlee Blackwell, Keith David and many, many other interviewees (in “Horror Noire” only black people have their say) always use the quintessence of African American genre works like “Tales from the Hood”. Rebellion out. And these can be found not only in obvious candidates like “Get Out”, but also in cult films like “Poltergeist” – “Horror Noire” should have something new to tell even die-hard genre lovers.

Conclusion: “Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror” provides an entertaining, entertaining insight into the representation of the Black community in US horror cinema and provides new anecdotes and insights even for die-hard genre lovers.

“Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from October 15th – for exact dates click *here*.

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