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Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror Quick View A Fine Doc Grade: C+

Source: IMDB


Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror is a documentary that tells the history of African Americans in horror. We see the history of not only African American horror films, but African American’s in roles that played some empowering significant change for the future in film, as it inspired many African Americans with simple small roles. We see the struggles and triumphs, as decades go by, progression for African Americans getting their fair chance being in films and creating films. This documentary was recommended by Jay from Red Letter Media, knowing he has particular good taste in films, I decided to check this out. Also I was interested to learn about this particular topic, I love to see not only highlights of older films, but to see the beauty in progression when it comes to life. This documentary was average to me, could’ve been better. I enjoyed whenever past actors, film makers, or just those into this significant part of horror were sit down on a theater chair, discussing film in a theater, it was pretty cool. Learning the history of these roles and films was also fascinating to me, I mean you see the beauty in the struggle and triumph as it results to progression... A beautiful thing to watch. You also discover in the highlights of these films, you discover older films you’ve never heard of before, as now you can have a few recommendations to look forward to in the future. Especially this one film that was praised in Cannes, but didn’t get the proper release in the states, I’m really looking forward into watching that soon. I like how though these African American’s were in roles, where they’re likely going to be killed off in the role they’re playing in, that they saw the bright sides in things moving forward. To them being in a film meant the world to them, sure they would’ve liked a better role, but heck their contributing in not only a motion picture project, but they are contributing change for the better moving forward. When it comes to modern day society, human beings tend to stretch, as they try to find problems within every single little thing in existence, more than often the problems they find are over exaggerated, it’s a big problem in today’s society. Some of these interviewers over exaggerate for the good and for the bad. The bad comes in past iconic films, when most viewers would watch a film and see nothing really problematic with it, but these interviewers... Oh boy, they do some serious stretching here. Finding problems that aren’t there, with films like Poltergeist, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and even classics like Halloween and The Shining which I found both claims to be so absurd. A good example for over exaggerated good, comes with an audience experience with Get Out. An audience member was sitting with a Caucasian man, as this man was rooting for Chris in Get Out... I have no idea why this was such a big ordeal. When a normal film goer, regardless of any race, sees a solid protagonist, more than likely they will root on this protagonist regardless of race... It’s common sense, plus it was 2017, this was not made in the 60’s. I didn’t care for the finale for two reasons. One it felt like a tribute to Jordan Peele as it features a commercial advertisement for his sophomore film US. Also the final conclusion was pretty disappointing, I was hoping for an empowering conclusion yet it ends with an ignorant stereotype insult towards a race. The conclusion should’ve consist of the people whom are in this documentary, extremely excited for what’s to come for African Americans in not only film, but in horror, as the possibilities are endless. Like we as a society have progressed so much, when it come to African Americans in film, now moving forward the opportunities for young African Americans whom are interested in becoming an actor/film maker, is less of a fear to take on today, as they can go forward with their dreams. Like I should’ve ended this documentary, feeling excited and pumped. But instead I feel disappointment, as it ends with a shady insult towards a race, as I had my hands on my head, thinking “What the hell was that?!” Just felt uninspired and just completely mean, none of the words in this conclusion felt like it didn’t do anything but anger an audience member of this race, that was very disappointing. Despite that, this documentary is helpful and has taught me a significant amount when it comes to the history of film, so I believe it does it’s purpose of being created well. Just wish it ended on a high note, where it felt empowering and inspiring. Overall, Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror was fine. If you’d like to check this one out, it’s on the streaming service Shudder. -Mitch Smietana

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