Shudder TV’s History Noire : A History of Black Horror
Last week I decided to find a horror movie on Amazon Prime. Sadly it was not on prime as I suspected but on Shudder tv, a subscription channel catered to horror movie fans. This channel contains horror films from the 1900s to the present. Also, it includes documentaries about infamous films such as “The Exorcist “ and the Freddy movies. One of the documentaries that intrigued me was “History Norie: A History of Black Horror,” this documentary brings together African American actors, writers, directors, film professors, and many more to interview about their favorite black horror movies and commentary on the depiction of African Americans in these films.
Some of the films under review were Blacula, Get Out, Candyman, The Thing, The Craft, Tales from the Hood, Bones, Mississippi Damned, and other films from the 1800s - 2000s. The documentary gives a chronological timeline of African Americans depicted as first zombies then the trope of “the first ones to die” to lead characters becoming trailblazers. Actors such as Tony Todd, Keith David, Rachel True, and many more discuss their roles as well in such movies.
According to Indiewire.com, this film presents the view that the horror genre offers space to address many issues African Americans faced or currently face, such as; diversity within the concept of blackness, challenges to disturbing images in films such as “Birth of a Nation,” which depicted African American men as rapists and the race as the downfall of society with white actors in blackface and ragged clothing.
Also, the documentary addresses a resurgence in black filmmakers of horror movies and their use of it as social commentary. This is the case with Jordan Peele’s “Get Out.” This film serves as one of the centerpieces of the documentary. Other centerpieces or themes were race, history, gender, power, and the genre itself. I feel this documentary will open the door to more conversations about African American lives and how horror movies can be used to convey any message you want to portray to your audience. I am not a huge horror movie fan because I am too much of a scardy cat lol! but I do recommend this film and the genre as well to be incorporated into film studies or conversations among friends.
*Shudder TV is included in the AMC+ subscription package for 8.99 and as a separate channel for 4.99 a month or as a 7-day free trial.