I’ve been busy all summer long and never got a chance to post, but it’s Back To School time for the kiddos, and in honor of that, I’m doing a Back To Scares blogging event!
On today’s agenda: The Dirty Dozen: 12 Most Memorable Black Horror Movie Characters
Horror cinema would benefit from more black characters. We don’t see it enough. The following is my list of the most MEMORABLE black horror movie characters. Not all are lead characters (some had very little screen time but stole the show). This isn’t about Best Acted Roles or even Best Characters. These are the most memorable… because there is just something about the character that makes us connect with them, remember them…
Some of you will argue genre: “Scary Movie is a comedy” and “Seven is a crime thriller.” Look, just sit back and let me entertain you, okay?
There’s an Honorable Mentions section at the bottom. I’ll let you in on a little secret: This is my way of keeping the “Dirty Dozen” theme without actually narrowing it down to 12! So tough! And you know what? There’s actually more in the Honorable Mentions section than on the list! LOL.
So here we go….
Fool – People Under The Stairs
When young Fool (Brandon Adams) breaks into the home of his family’s greedy and uncaring landlords, he discovers a disturbing scenario where incestuous adults have mutilated a number of boys and kept them imprisoned under their stairs.
Peter Washington – Dawn of the Dead
Peter Washington is a member of Philadelphia’s SWAT when the walking dead crisis has reached critical condition. He saves the life of a fellow SWAT member of another squad, and he is offered a ride out of Philly and so joins the party that ends up at the notorious Monroeville Hyper-Mall. And that’s only where the drama begins!
Jeryline – Demon Knight
Demon Knight is a feature-length film presented by the HBO series Tales from the Crypt, and features scenes with the Crypt Keeper, but what really drives the plot forward is the strong and beautiful character Jeryline, played by Jada Pinkett Smith. A must-see, if you haven’t.
Detective Lt. William Somerset – Seven
What more do I need to say? Morgan Freeman is amazing in every role he plays, but the sheer intensity of the plot in Seven kicks his acting up another notch. This is such an engrossing film, and – like I said in my intro – you can argue that Seven is a “crime-thriller” all you want. This movie scared the shit out of me. I say horror!
Lance Shroeder – House on Haunted Hill 1999
A millionaire with theatrical tendencies invites a number of people to stay in a vast creepy building that used to be an insane asylum. Lance Shroeder, played by Taye Diggs, is one of the unfortunate crew to accept this invitation. He’s so darn likeable, guys, you just have to root for him the whole time. Gotta love this character.
Maximillian – Vampire in Brooklyn
Maximillian is the only survivor from a race of vampires on a Caribbean Island, and he must find a mate to keep the bloodline from ending. Horror comedy at its finest. Directed by Wes Craven and starring Eddie Murphy, this is definitely a memorable character.
Sara Tidwell – Bag of Bones
I know a lot of people did not enjoy the film adaptation of Stephen King’s 1998 novel Bag of Bones. It was a two-part miniseries, which appeared on regular TV. Maybe I’m lucky I hadn’t read the book, because I really enjoyed it. Sara Tidwell is a vivacious singer and a lost soul who does not get much screen time, but she stuck in my mind long after the credits rolled. Actress Anika Noni Rose was hauntingly gorgeous in this role.
I love Tony Todd, and you’ll see him twice more in the Honorable Mentions. His portrayal of Candyman is horrifying, with a genuinely creepy voice that invades your mind like the sweetest of poisons. For real. You’ll almost want to call upon the Candyman yourself, though you know it’s a bad idea. There’s something so alluring and so revolting at the same time about this character…. malicious to the core but with such a sad backstory.
Russell Franklin – Deep Blue Sea
On an island research facility, a scientist is harvesting the brain tissue of DNA-altered sharks as a possible cure for Alzheimer’s disease. When the facility’s backers send executive Russell Franklin (Samuel L. Jackson) to investigate the experiments, a routine procedure goes awry and sharks start attacking the researchers. As you can imagine, Russell snaps and screams, “Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfuckin’ sharks on this motherfuckin’ island!” Oh wait… nevermind, nevermind. That was a different movie… 🙂
Brenda Meeks – Scary Movie 1, 2, 3, and 4
Brenda Meeks cracks me up. She’s the only character who kept me coming back to the Scary Movie sequels. Watching her fight Samara from The Ring in #3 had me rolling, some of her one-liners in #4 were even funnier, and really… she had me from the start in #1. Brenda Meeks is lively and sweet, and she is anything but “meek” if you light her fuse.
Chris Washington – Get Out
Chris Washington is a young photographer in an interracial relationship, and when it comes time to meet his girlfriend’s family, he is hesitant. He worries that her parents won’t accept him. He’s in love, so he agrees to the trip anyway, and while staying at his girlfriend’s family home, he discovers things are much worse than he feared. The character of Chris played on the heartstrings of audiences worldwide. We really felt for him.
Andre – Dawn of the Dead 2004
From the moment we meet Andre, we understand he has a lot to protect. His girlfriend’s belly is swollen, and he’s nervous to protect the child inside. That’s easier said than done in a post-apocalyptic world full of zombies and untrustworthy humans, but he is determined. There’s one scene in particular that is unforgettable.
One thing I love about the horror community (or maybe any community of artists such as writers, filmmakers, and visual artists) is the mutual support of each other’s work I often witness on social media. A simple share, retweet, repost, pin, FWD, or tag might introduce a new fan to a new artist, and for me… that’s what the Internet is all about, man!
So anyway, tonight I’m posting a short horror film I hadn’t seen yet. I thought some of you might have missed this one, too. Many thanks to Dane John Cobain of the Forsaken Horror Hooligans group for sharing it. (And if you haven’t heard of the hooligans, get ready. We’re coming!)
This 8 minute movie was written by Matt Sears. It was produced and directed by Matt Sears and Tim Knight, and it was based on the two sentence horror story: A girl heard her mom yell her name from downstairs, so she got up and started to head down. As she got to the stairs, her mom pulled her into her room and said “I heard that, too.”
Don’t. Look. Away.
Today’s topic is The Dirty Dozen, twelve of the most disturbing moments in horror. The selections in my countdown are based on two things: scares that made me jump or shift uncomfortably in my seat and scenes that stuck with me long after the credits had rolled. WARNING: IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN A TON OF HORROR MOVIES, THIS LIST MIGHT BE A *SPOILER OVERLOAD* FOR YOU. I can’t make this list without including some spoilers. You’ve been warned. Now onto the countdown….
#12: Candyman – chest full of bees
In this dark urban nightmare, main character Helen tries to uncover the truth behind the legend of Candyman. A hundred years ago, a young black man was tortured for his love of a white woman. His hand was hacked off with a rusty saw before he was covered in honey and thrown to the bees. Slowly and miserably, he died. Now, if you look into the mirror and say his name five times, you’re dead meat. Or so the story goes. But what’s really going on? Helen wants to find out. Soon she finds herself in a game of cat and mouse and discovers exactly what Candyman’s got beneath that wicked trench coat.
#11: The Amityville Horror – dead guy in the bathroom
Remakes are widely criticized (and often by myself!), but when it comes to tired, old movies I never cared for in the first place (i.e the original 1979 Amityville Horror), I’m all for a revamp. I thought this one was well done, and there was a particular scene that made me jump an inch from my couch cushion. The little boy needs to pee in the middle of the night, and… and… BAM! DEAD GUY IN THE BATHROOM!
#10: The Haunting – whose hand was I holding?
Certain classics hold a place in my heart, and this 1963 film is one of them, not to mention that it’s based on a novel by one of my favorite authors, Shirley Jackson. In this scene, Eleanor begins to hear frightening voices, wicked laughter, and crying children through the walls at night. She holds her friend’s hand for comfort as this goes on for a few minutes. When she can’t take it any longer, she screams, the lights come on, and she’s shocked with the realization that there is no one beside her holding her hand as she’d thought.
#9: Hostel – holy shit… her eye!
I’ve only watched this scene twice. That was enough. The Hostel movies are a bit much for me because I get so darn MAD at the bad guys. What a bunch of sickos, eh? The cherry on top was the scene in which a pretty young female loses her eye. Sure, it’s fake as hell and the puss (yellow slime?) wouldn’t really ooze from that wound, but this knowledge doesn’t stop the bile from rising as you watch it. Sometimes corny gore is still quite effective. It’s like a Dead Alive moment for me, and I love it. I’ve included a rather tame picture of the “after” wound here, as I don’t want anyone tossing their cookies.
#8: The Wicker Man – those bitches!
What else can be said about those evil bitches at the end of The Wicker Man? Yikes!
#7: The Sentinel – man in the bedroom
In this 1977 film, a young woman’s apartment is the gateway to Hell. That being said, I’ll be honest: the movie tends to drag on in parts and might not hold every horror fan’s attention, but some of the imagery, like the old, dead, mostly naked man power-walking across her dark bedroom, simply cannot be beat.
#6: Mirrors – that moment when a relaxing bath turns brutal
I think what makes this scene in Mirrors so creepy is the loss of self-control. The victim becomes a puppet to herself, or rather, to her evil reflection in the mirror. She is forced to grab her own jaw and yank and yank until…
#5: The Devil’s Rejects – I am the devil, and I’m here to do the devil’s work
Few modern horror movie scenes compare to the intensity in this one. Every time I view it, I am forced to picture myself on the other end of this murdering psycho’s wrath and wonder… what could I do to escape him? How does a person summon dignity and hope in the face of a killer as vicious and uncaring as Otis Driftwood?
#4: Night Of The Living Dead (1990) – opening scenes
Hey, looky there. Bill Moseley has back-to-back roles on my countdown, as he plays the annoying brother in the graveyard scene of this cult remake. But this time it’s not Mr. Moseley who brings the terror to life, but the freshly risen zombies who begin to shamble on scene, attacking him and running our heroine’s car into a tree. From there, all the fun begins.
#3: Insidious – the red demon appears
I don’t even want to spoil this one by saying where or when the demon pops up. Rest assured, it scared the crap out of me when it did!
#2: Juon – the ghost’s descent down the staircase
Listen to me, Americans… FORGET THE GRUDGE. The Grudge SUCKS compared to Takashi Shimizu’s original Japanese version, Juon. There are so many wonderful scares in this movie, but the piece de resistance is the bloody woman on the staircase. Her broken, sketchy movements and relentless eye contact seemed to go on FOREVER the first time I saw this scene. Brilliant.
#1: Pet Sematary – meet Zelda
Over the years, I have made jokes about forming a Zelda support group for all the people who were under 14 when they first saw Pet Sematary. I’m not sure if the imagery of Zelda has the same scarring effect on the fully developed adult brain as it does on the adolescent brain, but one thing is for sure (and I’m not exaggerating here), I’ve met at least twenty people who suffered from crippling Zelda fear during childhood. If you’re one of them *HUGS* you’re not alone. You’re not alone.
So there you have it. My Dirty Dozen Top Twelve Horror Movie Moments. Feel free to share yours in the comments below or contact me personally. I might do a reader-submitted version of this blog if I get enough feedback! Thanks for reading! Keep it ghastly!