Friday, December 15, 2017

Tag: classics

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a harrowing horror classic that has no doubt been dissected (no pun intended) a million times since its release, but there's one aspect that doesn't seem to get discussed very much: A FREAKIN’ BLACK GUY SAVES THE DAY. For a black person to be...
I Walked with a Zombie horror movie poster
One of the more high-minded zombie films you'll find, I Walked with a Zombie is as much (melo)drama as it is horror. There's not a hint of the humor that was to propel the spoof Zombies on Broadway two years later, nor the explicit brain-munching that was to propel,...
King Kong (1933) horror movie poster
The prototypical "wilds of Africa" horror film (although Skull Island isn't supposed to be in Africa), King Kong features wild, black natives (led by chief Noble Johnson) jumping around and going "ooga booga," kidnapping white women, worshiping Kong and proceeding to get stepped on by the monster from aforementioned...
Mantan Moreland in Lucky Ghost movie poster
An all-black horror comedy starring Mantan Moreland and sometimes partner (and straight man) F.E. Miller, Lucky Ghost is amusing low-brow fare that exploits the more base, stereotypical elements of old-time black life (chicken thievin', gamblin', runnin' from ghosteses) for laughs -- sort of like the BET of its day....
Meeting at Midnight Charlie Chan movie poster
This Charlie Chan outing (Battle of the racial stereotypes!) isn't really horror, but Mantan Moreland's role is limited -- even in light of the time period -- to being spooked at the mere prospect of there being ghosts...which there weren't. Too bad, because the gag gets old quickly, with...
Midnight Menace horror movie poster
Midnight Menace is a 24-minute all-black musical showcase for Lollypop Jones, who apparently was a vaudeville singer and dancer back in the '40s. Unfortunately for us, he wasn't an actor. Jones stars as himself, a performer who shows up for a gig and goes to his dressing room (he...
Mighty Joe Young movie poster
Mighty Joe Young is basically "King Kong lite", from its tone (decidedly lighter) to the size of its gorilla (decidedly smaller) to the role of its black cast (decidedly less important). Like King Kong, the role of the black people in Mighty Joe Young is peripheral -- natives sharing...
Boris Karloff in The Mummy (1932) horror movie poster
Typically ancillary early black roles pepper this horror classic. Black slaves bury Egyptian mummy dude Im-Ho-Tep (the distinctly non-Egyptian Boris Karloff) alive, then are speared to death so that they can’t reveal where he’s buried. Noble Johnson is “The Nubian,” the mummy’s obedient servant whose skull cap makes him...
George Romero's Night of the Living Dead horror movie poster
The movie that changed zombie lore forever, Night of the Living Dead is a classic not only of horror in general, but of black horror in particular. Supposedly, the racial commentary that can be read into the film was never intended, as the role of Ben wasn't written for a...
The Scarlet Clue Charlie Chan movie poster
Like Meeting at Midnight, this is a Charlie Chan mystery that's marginally horrific, with its masked killer plot line (not to mention the Caucasian Asian speaking pidgin English and his bug-eyed, scaredy-cat black manservant). Somehow, I find Mantan's being scared of a tangible killer here more acceptable than his...
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