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The Black Guy Dies First
Black Horror Cinema from Fodder to Oscar
Table of Contents
About The Book
A definitive and surprising exploration of the history of Black horror films, after the rising success of Get Out, Candyman, and Lovecraft Country from creators behind the acclaimed documentary, Horror Noire.
The Black Guy Dies First explores the Black journey in modern horror cinema, from the fodder epitomized by Spider Baby to the Oscar-winning cinematic heights of Get Out and beyond. This eye-opening book delves into the themes, tropes, and traits that have come to characterize Black roles in horror since 1968, a year in which race made national headlines in iconic moments from the enactment of the 1968 Civil Rights Act and Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in April. This timely book is a must-read for cinema and horror fans alike.
Types of Black Horror Movie Deaths
Anyone who habitually roots for Black characters to survive horror movies is used to disappointment. Sometimes the best you can do is hope that the inevitable death is a good one: one that’s memorable, integral to the plot, and/or worthy of martyrdom instead of ridicule. Not all deaths are created equal, after all. Here’s the range of what you can expect, from best to worst.
Heroic Death to Save the World
If you’re gonna go out, it may as well be a death of Black Jesus–level sacrificial proportions, like using your blood to cure a global pandemic or blowing up the comments section of YouTube.
FUNERAL: 21-gun salute; casket filled with glazed donuts for the afterlife; Wiz Khalifa performs “See You Again”
Heroic Death to Save the White “Hero”
This sort of devotion to the White star might seem a bit Uncle Tom-ish to some, but within the context of the movie, it’s as prominent a death as a Black supporting character can get.
FUNERAL: 21–Nerf gun salute; Charlie Puth performs “See You Again”; White hero adopts your children
You were this close to being the hero; you made it to the final showdown with the Big Bad, but it turns out you were the sidekick all along. Bummer.
FUNERAL: Eulogy given by either Oprah Winfrey or Gayle King, whoever is more available and cost-effective
Creative Body Count Death
Sure, in the big scheme of things, your death amounted to little more than padding the movie’s body count, but at least the way the killer turned your intestines into balloon animals looked cool.
FUNERAL: Held during Sunday brunch at Red Lobster; Tyler Perry booked for a five-minute appearance as Madea
Pedestrian Body Count Death
A regular ol’ knife to the gut? Really, doesn’t anyone take pride in homicide anymore?
FUNERAL: Held during Thursday early bird dinner at Hooters; Lance Crouther booked for a five-minute appearance as Pootie Tang
Opening Scene Death
“The Black Guy Dies First,” indeed. Way to beat a dead horse.
FUNERAL: Pallbearers are one-half of Milli Vanilli, two-thirds of Bell Biv DeVoe, and all the Baha Men
If a horror movie character dies in a forest, but there are no cameras around, does it even matter?
FUNERAL: Your body’s orifices may or may not be used to smuggle cocaine through Customs; life insurance paid out in Spam sandwiches
You’re so inconsequential, you don’t even get a name—just one of dozens of people who get stepped on by Godzilla or gnawed on by zombies.
FUNERAL: Involuntary cremation via Silly String and a Bic lighter; ashes snorted by Jeff Bezos in order to attain immortality
- Publisher: Gallery/Saga Press (February 7, 2023)
- Length: 336 pages
- ISBN13: 9781982186531
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