Black people originated the slang of bad meaning good, but that doesn’t mean they can’t also be bad meaning bad. They’ve played some of the more memorable baddies in horror history. Here are some of the baddest black villains to grace a horror movie screen. Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
The poster child for black horror movies, soulful vampire Blacula (AKA Mamuwalde) combines the ’70s virtues of swinging sex appeal and Afro-centrism (he was an African prince, after all), all wrapped up in a mack daddy cape. William Marshall’s booming voice can just as easily convince women to drop their panties as crap their pants. Supposedly, Jim Brown turned down the role, which was probably for the best.
2. Candyman, Candyman 1, 2, and 3
The James Brown of horror icons, Candyman is the hardest killin’ man in the ‘biz, appearing all over the world to kill anyone who says his name five times into a mirror. His favorite victim of choice, however, is the red-breasted white woman with golden plumage, a rare bird that can be found in the natural habitats of outlet malls and lynchings.
3. Jimmy Bones, Bones
The beauty of Jimmy Bones is that Snoop Dogg doesn’t appear on screen all that much, because really, as many roles as he continues to get, Snoop is no actor. The character itself, though — a black leather-clad, ’70s-era pimp, mack, and ne’er-do-well — is slick and worthy of horror film villainy. He’s a smooth and deadly spirit, like a 21st century J.D. from J.D.’s Revenge, but with more weed.
Darby Jones plays the prototypical pre-Romero zombie in both films. Although the name changes, the character remains the same: a towering, bug-eyed, barrel-chested menace who doesn’t care for munching on brains, unless of course his master commands it…which he doesn’t. Instead, he slinks around in the shadows, waiting to scoop up helpless white women and bring them back to his chamber…his chamber of love.
5. The Hitchhiker, Creepshow 2
You couldn’t ask for a more polite zombie than this hitchhiker, who repeats, “Thanks for the ride, lady” every time he’s run over in a car. And yet, the fact that he keeps coming back over and over again, each time with less skin and teeth and eyes, has got to be a bit discomforting to any driver. He’s harder to get rid of than herpes! And you don’t even get to have sex to catch what he’s got for you!
6. Baron Samedi, Sugar Hill
Baron Samedi is a traditional voodoo spirit that Don Pedro Colley gleefully portrays in this blaxploitation zombie film. This disturbingly laid-back dude is like a satanic version of the 7-Up guy (Geoffrey Holder, who coincidentally played Baron Samedi in the James Bond film Live and Let Die).
7. Belle, Fright Night Part 2
Belle or Bela? Is it a he? Is it a she? Who cares? It’s a vampire on roller skates! What could be more terrifying? Just don’t call him/her Tootie.
You remember near the end of Child’s Play when Chucky goes ape shit, shrieking and jumping all over Andy’s mom? This little dude is like that all the time. This possessed African doll is beyond Red Bull; he’s on Red Stampede. Don’t let the size fool you; he will cut you to pieces like a maxed-out credit card.
9. Brother Charles, Soul Vengeance
Really more of an anti-hero than a villain, Brother Charles overcomes his disturbing resemblance to Rudy Ray Moore to develop the ability to strangle people with his penis. God bless him.
10. Palo, The Believers
A man of few words, Sudanese black magic man Palo prefers to let his actions speak for him. For instance, when he puts a curse on your makeup kit that makes a pimple appear on your face when you wipe it with powder, and then the pimple grows larger and larger every day, and finally it erupts and spiders burst through your face and crawl all over you, he’s saying, “I don’t like you.”
11. Katrina, Vamp
Grace Jones is scary in her own right, but put vampire fangs on her and look out. The character Katrina is a stylish vampire strip club owner who wears a different Princess Amidala-type outfit in every scene. And she not only runs a strip club, but she also comes out and performs! Granted, it’s a sort of modern artsy, interpretive dance with no nudity whatsoever, but I dare you to complain to her.
12. Big Daddy, Land of the Dead
The smartest Romero zombie on record, Big Daddy makes Day of the Dead‘s Bub look like a cone-hat dunce. Like a great general, he leads the horde of undead into the stronghold of the living while developing an ability to use complex tools and, since he’s black, automatic weapons.
13. Dargent Peytraud, The Serpent and the Rainbow
This voodoo creep would turn his own mother into a zombie…but not before turning your mother into one. Veteran actor Zakes Mokae portrays the character with enough sleaze that he even permeates your dreams. I particularly hate the one where you’re in high school and you realize your pants are made of weasels.
14. Queen Akasha, Queen of the Damned
The late, great Aaliyah portrays Queen Akasha, the original vampire, thirsty for both blood and power, whose few scenes are highlights in this ridiculous music video disguised as a movie.
15. Private Mailer, 28 Days Later
When 28 Days Later came out, one of the major selling points of the trailer was the shot of Mailer’s angry red eyes peering through a window. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry! He’s like the Hulk on psychotropic drugs. Unlike Land of the Dead‘s Big Daddy, there’s no reasoning with Mailer. He’s all about ripping you to shreds, when he’s not puking blood all over your face. Moist towelette, please!
16. Mr. Simms, Tales from the Hood
Clarence “Link” Williamson III steals the show in Tales from the Hood as loony mortician Mr. Simms, who serves as the Crypt Keeper-esque narrator for the tales in this anthology, delivering the best line in the movie when he responds to the punk kids who want to know where “the shit” is: “Ah yes,” he says, ever proper, “the shit…”
17. The Doll, Black Devil Doll from Hell
On the surface, this doll is one of the least scary of this bunch of baddies…that is, until you’ve seen it in fully erect tongue mode. Shudder.
18. Blackenstein, Blackenstein
If Dracula and Dr. Jekyll could be adapted into the Blaxploitation genre, why not Frankenstein? Well, it can, but you might want to spend more than a welfare check to fund it. Still, what this bloated monster (Joe De Sue) lacks in acting skills, charisma and likability he makes up for in “rip-your-guts-out-edness”.