HORROR NOIRE: A HISTORY OF BLACK HORROR
2019, Shudder, 83 min, USA, Dir: Xavier Burgin

Based on the acclaimed book by Dr. Robin R. Means Coleman, Shudder TV’s first original documentary feature takes a critical look at a century of genre films that by turns utilized, caricatured, exploited, sidelined and embraced both black filmmakers and black audiences. Beginning with the silent film era, HORROR NOIRE explores the often overlooked and downplayed history of black Americans in Hollywood: the emergence of black leading men in genre cinema in the late 1960s with NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and into the ‘70s with BLACULA and films of the blaxploitation era; CANDYMAN and the growing popularity of urban horror in the 1990s; up to the genre’s recent resurgence with movies like the Oscar-winning, critical and commercial hit GET OUT. Clips and in-depth interviews with filmmakers and scholars showcase a who’s who of black horror cinema and underline the power of representation and how horror can become a visceral way to fight racial trauma.


THEY LIVE
1988, Universal, 87 min, USA, Dir: John Carpenter

Construction worker Roddy Piper learns that the world has been taken over by grinning skull-headed aliens who are permeating society with subliminal messages to mindlessly consume (sound like some corporations you know?). Glimpsing the truth with the aid of special sunglasses that strip away the phony layers of manufactured reality, he and fellow drifter Keith David join the underground to rebel against the mind control in this searingly satirical sci-fi jaunt, one of Carpenter’s best and wildest films. Co-starring Meg Foster.


THE THING
1982, Universal, 109 min, USA, Dir: John Carpenter

Director John Carpenter took the 1951 sci-fi classic THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD, produced by Howard Hawks, and turned it into something darker, fiercer and altogether more disturbing, pitting sombrero-wearing helicopter pilot Kurt Russell and a crew of Arctic scientists (Wilford Brimley, Donald Moffat, Richard Dysart) against a ravenous, shape-shifting alien being. From the haunting opening shots of a sled dog fleeing across the snow, to the apocalyptic, fire-and-ice ending, this ranks with Ridley Scott’s ALIEN as one of the finest (and most beautifully crafted) sci-fi films of the past 30 years. The film was terribly underrated by critics on its initial release, but its stock has constantly risen in the ensuing decades as one of the most intelligent, scary and uncompromising horror films of the 1980s. Also starring Keith David and David Clennon.


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