Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror Film screens at HU

Carlie Beard | Staff Writer

When you think of horror films, there are several memorable movies that may come to mind. Classic horror films such as Scream, A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Omen are just a few.

In the new era of the horror genre, there are movies such as Get Out, a production directed by Oscar-winning writer Jordan Peele that features a black person as the main character. In Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror, viewers can see the transformation of black actors from being just extras to having lead roles in horror films.

Horror Noire was shown in the student center theater. Before entering the viewing of the film, there was a red carpet outside allowing for students to enjoy the VIP experience. Students were also able to take photos and engage in interviews about the film.

Xavier Neal-Burgin is a filmmaker and the director of Horror Noire. “I wanted more filmmakers to have a black perspective,” Neal-Burgin said when speaking out about the horror film.

Horror Noire takes viewers on a journey from the beginning of when black people first appeared in film to them being featured more in main roles in horror movies. This included how blacks were not allowed to be in movies and how white actors portrayed them in blackface.

The film even explores the birth of the first black horror movie Blacula, a 1972 picture similar to the 1930s hit Dracula. Blacula was one of the first times a black actor played a main role in a horror film. Over the years, black people went from being the underdog to the superhero in movies.

Horror Noire addresses stereotypes that have been established about black people and how Hollywood has presented them in horror films. For example, there is an existing stereotype that black people are the first to die in films and they are always the first one to die because they run away.

“The film itself was as enlightening as I expected it to be,” said Lindsay Keener, a junior journalism major from Michigan. “I was introduced to films and actors I hadn’t heard of before, and I began to get a better understanding of what it means to be black and work in the film industry.

“Just like in any other aspect of the black experience, you go through trials and have to create your own lane. I think Horror Noire successfully showcased how powerful blacks in horror can be.”

As black actors continue to break barriers in the horror industry, directors and casting directors have a huge impact on the industry as well.

With Hampton having many aspiring directors on campus, Neal-Burgin advised them to use their resources.

“The best thing you can have is [the ability] to write,” Neal-Burgin said. “It’s one of the best things you can do for yourself.”

Horror Noire can be accessed on the Shudder App, and it also is available for purchase via iTunes.

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