The First Power (1990)

I ran through several reasons in my mind why I felt compelled to include Mykelti “Bubba Gump” Williamson’s role in The First Power on this site — his status as the doomed partner of the heroic cop (Lou Diamond Phillips), or maybe his nervous superstition in the face of the hero’s hard-boiled skepticism — but who am I kidding? This is all about what may be the most ignoble death scene ever foisted upon a black character in a horror movie.

How does Williamson meet his maker, you ask? A chainsaw-wielding maniac? A vat of industrial-strength acid? Or perhaps a slow-motion factory warehouse explosion? No, the perpetrator in question here is a horse. A friggin’ hay-chewing, will-be-shot-if-it-pulls-a-hamstring horse. In the movie, a Satanic killer (Jeff Kober) comes back from the dead seeking vengeance on those who sent him to the electric chair. He lures our heroes to a crowded town square with the plan of eliminating them…by horse and buggy…while wearing a sombrero. Ole!

Of course, Williamson is the only one of the three (including leading lady Tracy Griffith) to get hit, but he doesn’t merely get run over; the horse actually stops, raises his hooves with a “hi-yo Silver,” and stomps on his chest over and over and over. I swear, for a second, it even does the moonwalk. Did I mention that the bad guy’s wearing a sombrero? Maybe if The First Power wasn’t filled with cool stunts — people flying and jumping off of rooftops, cars somersaulting in mid-air, axes to the skull — this scene wouldn’t have stood out like, um, a Satanist on a horse and buggy.

Across the crowded urban savanna, a predator lurks.
It makes its move.
It notices an unsuspecting prey separated from its pack: the black-skinned sidekick.
The sidekick senses danger, but only has time to let out a brief call of distress before the beast pounces…
“Oh lawdy!”
The sidekick is defenseless.
The attack is swift…
…and painful.
This one’s gonna hurt.
The sidekick’s herd reacts in slow-motion disbelief.
But it’s too late. The sidekick knows his place in the food chain.
Undeterred, the herd gives chase in a 1986 Oldsmobile. The circle of life continues.

What do you think?