Horror Noire: A history of black voices in the horror genre

From Get Out to Candyman to Blacula, black filmmakers have been an integral and vital voice in the horror genre since the birth of cinema and in Shudder’s first documentary feature, Horror Noire, they have gathered together a group of talented individuals to discuss their experiences with the horror genre at large.

Shudder has debuted plenty of feature films and original series in the few years it’s been around but now the horror streaming service is branching out into new territory with their first exclusive documentary film titled Horror Noire.

The film will address the long history of how black people have been characterized within the horror genre specifically and explore how their voices have shaped, and continue to shape, characters, story, and the entirety of the genre itself.

Horror Noire will feature more than 20 black filmmakers, authors, directors, producers, and actors to discuss their past experiences working within the genre and their hopes for the future of horror as a new form begins to take shape concurrent with our evolving culture climate.

When discussing the effects black filmmakers have had on the genre, it is impossible to ignore the far-reaching influence of Jordan Peele’s break-out hit, Get Out. Peele (who took home a well-deserved Academy Award for his screenplay) is among the list of talented individuals being interviewed. He will discuss his experience both with Get Out and his upcoming film Us (which is set to release in March of this year).

Shudder exclusive Horror Noire Poster – Courtesy of Shudder/Sean Redlitz

The concept of the documentary originated with Dr. Robin R. Means Coleman, who penned the critically acclaimed book of the same name. Coleman speaks about the taboo nature of horror and how it allows for exploration of controversial and subversive content more so than other genres. Horror creates an experimental space for ingenues, newcomers, and specifically black artists to challenge preconceived notions presented by less exploratory genres.

The following is a complete list of all Horror Noire interviewees:

  • Ashlee Blackwell Creator, GraveyardShiftSisters.com
  • Ernest Dickerson Director, Bones (2001), Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995)
  • Jordan Peele Writer/ Director, Get Out (2017), Us (2019)
  • Keith David Actor, The Thing (1982)
  • Kelly Jo Minter Actor, The People Under the Stairs (1991)
  • Ken Foree Actor, Dawn of the Dead (2004)
  • Ken Sagoes Actor, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)
  • Loretta Devine Actor, Urban Legend (1998)
  • Mark H. Harris Creator, BlackHorrorMovies.com
  • Meosha Bean Filmmaker
  • Miguel A. Nuñez Actor, Friday the 13th : A New Beginning (1985)
  • Monica Suriyage Filmmaker
  • Paula Jai Parker Actor, Tales from the Hood (1995)
  • Rachel True Actor, The Craft (1996)
  • Richard Lawson Actor, Scream Blacula Scream (1973)
  • Robin R. Means Coleman, PhD Author/ Educator
  • Rusty Cundieff Co-Writer/ Director, Tales from the Hood (1995)
  • Tananarive Due Author/ Educator
  • Tina Mabry Writer/ Director, Mississippi Damned (2009)
  • Tony Todd Actor, Candyman (1992)
  • William Crain Director, Blacula (1972)

“There are messages of humanity and survival that Black storytellers and performers have been expressing in horror since the genre’s beginning,” said Ashlee Blackwell, a producer and co-writer of Horror Noire as well as the founder and managing editor of Graveyard Shift Sisters, a website dedicated to the topic of Black women in horror. “It’s been an exciting journey to work with a team to bring this once hidden history to life and out of the shadows.”

Xavier Burgin is the director of the documentary. Burgin has previously worked on countless shorts and several television series. Phil Nobile Jr., the editor-in-chief of Fangoria, is one of the films executive producers alongside Kelly Ryan (Stage 3 Productions), Dr. Robin R. Means Coleman, and Tananarive Due. Ashlee Blackwell and Danielle Burrows co-wrote Horror Noire and also produced.

Next: Short horror films featuring women

I can’t think of a more timely concept for a documentary film and I look forward to Shudder’s continued expansion into new territory as their streaming video service continues to grow.

Horror Noire will begin streaming exclusively on Shudder beginning Thursday, February 7th.

Are you a fan of any of the filmmakers listed above? Which movies from these creators do you love the most? Let us know in the comments below!

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