INDIANAPOLIS — African Americans have sometimes been frightfully underrepresented in the horror community, whether that’s in books, TV shows or film.
“Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror” was screened at Kan-Kan Cinema in Indianapolis on Sunday. The film explores a century of genre films that often caricatured or sidelined black people before finally embracing them.
After the screening, award winning black horror author Tananarive Due sat down for a discussion with the audience.
She says the spotlight on black horror has been a long time coming.
“For a lot of black women, we got our love for horror from our parents and grandparents who showed us stuff way too young,” Due said. “For me, it was my late mother who was a Civil Rights activist. She was very serious but loved horror. We watched old Universal horror movies like The Mummy.”
Due says black horror got a big boost after the release of Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” in 2017.
“Before then, a lot of people didn’t even know there was such thing as black horror. There weren’t a whole lot of authors that people had heard of, or many movies with black stars. If you saw a black people in a horror movie, that meant they were probably going to be the first to die. That became a joke or stereotype,” Due said.
Due says what’s great about black horror is not only that it represents black people, but it can also offer different perspectives or points of view.
“It’s coming from a slightly different direction. The characters have slightly different problems and preoccupations, like for example, in “Get Out” racism is the monster, but there are others where it’s not about race and the monster is what’s inside your home,” Due said.
Due won the American Book Award for her novel The Living Blood. She is also known as a film historian with expertise in black horror.
Her newest novel, The Reformatory, will be released late next month.