I have to admit to a fairly serious addiction to scary movies. For this, the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of my mother who has a lifelong addiction to action and horror films. She says, “I like high impact stuff.” Scary movies are such a polarizing film genre. People either love them or they avoid these films like Donald Trump avoids facts.
From that moment when I was six years old watching “The Exorcist” for the first time, to the day I got misty-eyed because “Seven” wasn’t nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award in 1995, to that time I sat down for hours for an interview with the then-unknown writer/director team of James Wan and Leigh Whannell just before the release of their ultra low-budget block buster, “Saw” — it’s been an ongoing silver screen love affair.
And I don’t plan on quitting scary movies anytime soon.
To be fair, most scary movies are pretty craptacular, so I completely get why so many folks are scared off by the genre (pun intended.) But if you’re a fan like me, you’re willing to suffer through a “Zombie Strippers” or a “Snoop Dogg’s Hood Of Horror” because you know eventually you’ll get “The Omen” or “Green Room.”
There is however, one scary movie tradition that rubs me the wrong way…
The Black dude is gonna die.
If there’s a black man (or woman) in a scary movie you can bet grandma’s pension that he or she may open the movie….but they won’t be closing the movie. At some point they’re going to meet their doom and usually in a pretty foul fashion.
This tradition goes back to 1968’s, George A. Romero classic, “Night Of The Living Dead,” when a young, black, classically trained actor named Duane Jones broke through to become the very first Black man to star in a horror film. It also marked the first time that the Black dude died in a horror film.
Two birds. One stone.
And though this is a rich cinematic custom, there are multiple examples of scary movies where the brotha makes it. Here are just a few…can you think of anymore?