The Finest Black Horror Movies of All Time


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.

10 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 couldn’t improve upon it with his remake, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus.

Top LGBTQ+ Horror Movies, Arranged in Order

9 Black Box

Black Box film

Amazon Studios

This sci-fi horror film by Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour Jr. follows the story of the protagonist, Nolan (played by Mamoudou Athie), who is fighting to regain consciousness in an experimental procedure. Nolan gets caught up with another person, a man named Thomas, who was killed some years back, and complications from the experiment ensue.


Whilst Black Boxis 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 doesn’t fall short of shocking twists and looks great in the process.

8 Antebellum

Janelle Monáe in Antebellum

Lionsgate Films

The 2020 Antebellum is a highly divisive movie. Directed by Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz and starred the charming Janelle Monáe, who played two personas: Eden, a slave woman brought by Confederate troops to work in a plantation, and a modern-day intellectual, author, and human rights activist named Veronica, who leads a very successful business and personal life. Veronica was abducted by an extremist group, along with other Black people, in order to play along with a white fetish to enslave, debase, and control, once again, African American individuals.

The horrifying part of the movie is felt from the very first scene where Amara, a Black woman newly brought to the plantation, attempts to escape but is caught with a rope and shot mercilessly. This eye-opening movie is imbued with hair-raising scenes that alarm the senses and provoke the mind. This is definitely not a forgettable movie that slips memory as soon as it’s over.

7 His House

Remi Weekes' His House


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 that opens up the conversation on immigration.

6 Beloved

Oprah Winfrey and the cast of Beloved

Walt Disney

Beloved is based on a highly acclaimed novel written by Toni Morrison and for which she received the Pulitzer Prize. The movie successfully mirrors the deep and complex themes that are presented in the novel. In fact, Oprah Winfrey herself played the lead character named Sethe, an ex-slave who escaped the Kentucky plantation during the Civil War.

This film is also based on the true story of a mother who had to conduct the most unimaginable of acts in order to prevent her child from being enslaved by her former master. It’s a tale very much about the fight for freedom and the battle against racism, but it is mostly a tale of haunting ghosts and a past that refuses to be laid to rest. Sethe experiences the paranormal activities of a ghost that came to settle some accounts, and the thrilling scenes of ghost encounters will simply send chills down your spine.

5 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 murder 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 film Candyman is a “continuation” of the classic original and is also another Black horror film with an incredible story.

4 Get Out

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 art 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.

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 ‘tethered.’ Interestingly, this movie comes from Peele’s own fear of doppelgängers, as 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 the viewer is made to question what they’ve just seen as well as to tap introspectively into their own selves.

2 Night of the Living Dead

Night of the Living Dead by George Romero

Continental Distributing

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 but 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 1968 and remains a significant movie not just for horror cinema but for Black horror and Black cinema in general.

Discover 12 Overlooked Sci-Fi Horror Gems That Deserve Your Attention. Don’t Miss Out on These

1 The Blackening

The cas of The Blackening

Lionsgate Films

The latest release on this list is The Blackening, a horror comedy directed by Tim Story. It tells the story of a group of friends (seven African-American individuals) who go away for the weekend and stay in a cabin in the woods, where they have an unfortunate encounter with a twisted killer. The movie basically puts into question the stereotype of always killing off Black characters first in movies by making all the characters African American. The Blackening is a commentary on classic horror movie troupes.

The killer announces he is ready to spare their lives if they sacrifice the person they deem “blackest.” The group has to rely on their street smarts and cultural knowledge in order to escape the predicament. Although the movie generously provokes some pretty natural laughs through witty humor and biting dialogue, the blood and gore are always in the background making the viewer jump to the edge of their seats.

Source link

Leave a Reply