One of the reasons that I love horror is because it is a genre that, when it choses to do so, can be one full of social responsibility. Storytellers and filmmakers have used scary stories to discuss cultural fears and provide political commentary for generations. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left are but a few examples of how the genre can be more than just cheap thrills.
I’ve often felt that horror and comedy are two sides of the same coin so it came as no surprise to me to learn that Jordan Peele, one half of the comedy team Key & Peele, revealed to Playboy that he is currently working on a horror film exploring the fears of being a black man in today’s society.
Peele told Playboy, “I’ve been spending the first half of my career focusing on comedy but my goal, in all honesty, is to write and direct horror movies. I have one that I’m working on with Darko Entertainment called Get Out – I don’t want to say too much about it, but it is one of the very, very few horror movies that does jump off of racial fears. That to me is a world that hasn’t been explored. Specifically, the fears of being a black man today. The fears of being any person who feels like they’re a stranger in any environment that is foreign to them. It deals with a protagonist that I don’t see in horror movies.”
As a genre fan, I am so incredibly excited by this. Over the last twenty years I would argue that American horror has touched on the cultural fear surrounding xenophobia, war, powerful women, torture, women’s reproductive rights, motherhood, and technology but I still don’t think we’ve seen enough on race. The examples that dealt with the issue directly that I thought of off the top of my head were Wes Craven’s The People Under The Stairs in 1991 and Candyman in 1992. While I’m sure that there are more examples, I think it’s safe to say that it’s been a fairly overlooked section of the genre.
Are you excited to hear that Peele is going to venture into horror? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!