Through the long history of horror films and all of the subgenres that comprise it, Black people have often gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to staying alive. We can’t catch a break. In the majority of these films, the classic Hollywood trope has been that Black people will usually die in the scary movie, and sometimes be the first to go!
There are numerous examples where Black actors in scary movies barely make it past the opening credits. Who can forget Jada Pinkett-Smith’s gruesome death in the very beginning of Scream 2?
However, there are some films in which Black people battle monsters, serial killers and demonic forces and actually live to tell about it. Here’s a list of 10 Scary Movies Where Black People Survive ‘Til The End.
The People Under The Stairs (1991)
Wes Craven wrote and directed The People Under the Stairs in 1991. The film was inspired by a true story that Craven read of parents keeping their children locked in a basement for years. In the film, a teen-aged boy, Poindexter “Fool” Williams (Brandon Quinton Adams), breaks into the home of the wealthy family who evicted his family, believing there are gold coins hidden inside.
But he discovers that the mansion is occupied by two sadistic serial killer siblings named Daddy (Everett McGill) and Mommy (Wendy Robie). The couple remove the eyes, ears and tongues from children and they’re sent to live in the basement where a group of deformed "brothers" are secretly kept.
Fool maneuvers through the house full of secret passageways, and he helps the occupants' daughter, Alice (A.J. Langer), who’s been a victim of their abuse, and they attempt to free all of the other "people under the stairs.” Fool surveys the carnage by blowing up the house, causing the money the demented couple had stashed away to come flying out of the crematorium chimney and into the crowd of people outside.
Anaconda is a 1997 American-Brazilian adventure horror film directed by Luis Llosa and starred Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight and Owen Wilson. The film centers on a documentary film crew led by Terri Flores (Lopez) and her childhood friend and cameraman Danny Rich (Cube) in the Amazon rainforest who have no idea that they are about to be captured by a snake hunter named Paul Serone (Voight), who has his own agenda of hunting down a giant, green anaconda. In what seemed like a miracle, Danny and Terri managed to be the only survivors from the film crew. In a twist of luck, the snake swallows the snake hunter and the two surviving heroes blow them both up when the snake is trapped in a smoke stack.
Even after surviving all that, Cube would still probably say, “Today was a good day.”
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)
After the success of the slasher film I Know What You Did Last Summer, a sequel was bound to happen. In the second installment, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, Brandy Norwood was tapped to play Karla Wilson, the college roommate of Julie James (Jennifer Love Hewitt). Karla won an all-expenses-paid vacation to the Bahamas for the Fourth of July weekend and invites the rest of the squad to come with her. The trouble is that it’s hurricane season on the tropical island, and the crew begins to get stalked by the same hook-handed fisherman James’ friends killed in the previous film, and the horror ensures! Karla’s boyfriend, Tyrell Martin (Mekhi Phifer), does not make it to the end, but Karla does. She was found alive, discovered by the Coast Guard.
Deep Blue Sea (1999)
Deep Blue Sea was a science-fiction thriller about a team of scientists in a floating research facility attempting to discover a cure for Alzheimer’s by experimenting with shark brain tissue. In testing on the animals, the team ends up making the sharks faster and smarter. And what does a two-ton animal in captivity think about the most? Breaking out!
Hip-hop legend LL Cool J co-stars playing Sherman "Preacher" Dudley, the whimsical chef. He is joined by Samuel L. Jackson (Russell Franklin), who is sent to investigate after one of the sharks escapes and attacks a boat. With Franklin and Dudley being the brothers in the film, Black audiences already knew that the chances of both of them surviving to the end was slim. It turns out that Russell Franklin would die one of the most iconic deaths in cinematic history, being swallowed by a shark (Chappelle mentioned it in his impression of Jackson on Chappelle’s Show), while Sherman "Preacher" Dudley stabs one of the sharks in the eyeball with a cross and blows another up in an oven for eating his pet parrot. Deepest, bluest, my head is like a shark fin!
House On Haunted Hill (1999)
An updated version of the 1959 classic, House on Haunted Hill tells the story of Evelyn Stockard-Price (Famke Janssen) who’s in a failing marriage with Steven Price (Geoffrey Rush).
For some reason, she wanted to have her birthday party in an abandoned hospital, and the building's owner, Watson Pritchett, believed the place was evil, having lived there as a child. Five guests show up: film producer Jennifer Jenzen; baseball player Eddie Baker; former television personality Melissa Marr; Donald Blackburn, a physician; and Pritchett. Although the guests are not the ones Price invited, and neither one of them know who they are, the party continues, offering $1 million to each guest who remains in the house until morning. Those who can’t hang forfeit their $1 million to the others.
Taye Diggs plays Eddie Baker, a baseball player who manages to talk his way out of not being killed by the spirits of the asylum. While his ancestors were the reason behind the place closing in the 1930s, he was spared because he was adopted. It was a victory for Black horror film lovers everywhere.
Thirteen Ghosts (2001)
Thirteen Ghosts is a Canadian-American supernatural horror film and is a remake of the 1960 film 13 Ghosts. The film revolves around the story of ghost hunter Cyrus Kriticos and his assistant, Dennis Rafkin, who lead a team to try to capture a spirit named Juggernaut. Cyrus and several members of his squad are killed while the other members of the team were able to capture the ghost. Strapped for cash, his nephew Arthur (Tony Shaloub) moves in with his two kids and the nanny, played by Rah Digga, when he discovers he’s inherited the estate. It turns out his uncle had 12 ghosts held captive in the basement, and everything goes haywire when all the spirits are somehow unleashed. They discover that it was actually a setup to get Arthur in the house to become the 13th ghost. In spite of all the insanity that takes place in the film and the odds that were stacked against her, amazingly, Rah Digga makes it out of the movie alive. Even ghosts can’t keep a good sister down.
Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
The Halloween franchise is one of the most renowned in the horror film genre. In 2002, Halloween: Resurrection (also known as Halloween 8) became the latest installment of the iconic slasher film series and Jamie Lee Curtis reprised her role as Laurie Strode, along with co-stars Tyra Banks and Busta Rhymes. Rick Rosenthal, who directed the very first sequel to Halloween in 1978, picks up the storyline at Haddonfield, IL, the family home of serial killer Michael Myers (Brad Loree).
The Myers house is now the site of a contest where six college students must spend the night and broadcast it live after winning a competition to appear on an internet reality show, Dangertainment. The six students -- Sara (Bianca Kajlich) Jen (Katee Sackhoff), Rudy (Sean Patrick Thomas), Bill (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Jim (Luke Kirby), and Donna (Daisy McCrackin) -- think the whole experience is fraudulent and have no idea that they will be hunted down by Michael Myers. After killing almost everybody in sight, Michael is electrocuted by Freddie Harris (Busta Rhymes), the director of the reality show, who narrowly escapes with Sara.
Academy-award winner Halle Berry has starred in her fair share of thrillers. She pulled it off again and had audiences on the edge of their seats in Gothika. In the supernatural psychological horror thriller film, Halle Berry plays the brilliant Dr. Miranda Gray, a psychiatrist in a women's mental hospital. After almost hitting a little girl with her car, she wakes up one day and discovers that she is on the other side of the wall as a patient accused of the murder of her husband, Dr. Douglas Grey (Charles S. Dutton), but she has no memory of it. She now is under the care of her former colleague Dr. Pete Graham (Robert Downey Jr.).
Meanwhile, she is being haunted by the ghost of a girl named Rachel, who is trying to communicate a message to her by using the phrase "not alone." Miranda begins to learn more about her husband from Rachel, realizing that Doug was living an entirely different life. Miranda becomes close with her former patient Chloe Sava, played by Penelope Cruz, who warns Miranda of a ghost in their presence and how she was raped in the hospital. Miranda has to escape the mental asylum and later jail to prove her innocence, implicating Sheriff Bob Ryan (John Carroll Lynch), who committed these heinous acts with her husband. Gothika ends with Miranda and Chloe saying goodbye to each other, followed by Miranda spotting a ghost child in the street.
Saw 6 (2009)
Saw VI is a mystery psychological horror film and the sixth installment of the Saw franchise, released in 2009. The premise of the storyline is Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor), whose true identity as Jigsaw's successor is still a secret. Obliging John Kramer's final request, he puts together another one of his gory games in an attempt to keep his dark secret hidden. The sixth film provides answers to several of the ongoing questions that have been revealed throughout the previous five movies.
Simone (Tanedra Howard) and Eddie (Marty Moreau) are two predatory lenders who wake up in a room and each of them have on helmets with screws aiming at the sides of their heads. As is the custom, a videotape lets them know that they have 60 seconds to cut off their own flesh and throw it on a scale. Whoever sacrifices more flesh will survive while the other one will be killed by the device, as the screws would then pierce the person's skull. Eddie quickly gains the lead by cutting fat from his belly. However, just as the game comes closer to its end, Simone cuts off her arm and tosses it on the scale, resulting in her survival and Eddie's death.
Get Out (2017)
Jordan Peele took the film industry by storm while proving the viability and profitability of Black horror films. Get Out was critically acclaimed and grossed $255 million worldwide on a $4.5 million budget, with a net profit of $124 million, making it the 10th-most profitable film of 2017. Beyond that, he scared the hell out of us quite like no other before.
Get Out follows Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a young African-American man who uncovers a disturbing secret when he meets the family of his white girlfriend, Rose Armitage (Allison Williams). He reluctantly agrees to meet the family and upon arriving discovers that her parents, a neurosurgeon and hypnotherapist, have been hypnotizing Black people. The couple lock their victims in a mental state and have them under their complete control. Rose's father takes the brains of older, disabled white people and places them into healthy Black individuals who are then stuck in the “sunken place,” and these stolen corpses are auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Through all of this horror, somehow Washington escapes Rose’s family, and his friend Rod Washington (Rel Howery) helps him to survive to live another day.
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