It's time for black characters in horror movies to shine.
It's unfortunate, but horror movies are still predominantly white.
From the main casts all the way to the extras, practically every character in your average horror movie is white. Even when a horror movie is progressive in terms of plot or dialogue, the lack of racial diversity is impossible to ignore—especially if you're a person of color.
While representation in horror is still a work in progress, there are some great black characters who have graced our screens. Here's a list of some of the best Black characters in horror movies that are worth seeking out next time you're looking for a late night fright.
1. Rochelle (The Craft)
The 90s delivered some great horror movies, and even with factoring in its cheesy moments, The Craft is undoubtedly one of the best. The movie focuses on four young women who are also practicing witches. The only Black girl among the group is named Rochelle (Rachel True).
She's never played off as a stereotype (though her being the token black friend is bothersome), and she does as she pleases. Rochelle even manages to magically retaliate against a racist white girl in her Catholic prep school. Overall, she absolutely radiates 90s black girl magic, and that's a part of what makes her so great.
2. Chris Washington (Get Out)
Jordan Peele created a horror masterpiece with Get Out. The movie tackles racism and the most sinister ways it can manifest in "progressive" white settings, resulting in a truly unsettling experience for Black viewers.
Get Out centers around Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), whose white girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), takes him to meet her parents. While the plot sounds simplistic, there's so much more to unpack as the movie unfolds. Chris doesn't come across as a hero. He's a working photographer with a dog and a blunt-talking best friend—essentially just a regular Black man trying to make it in the world. Peele wrote him in a way that makes him ordinary but still interesting, which is something that more writers need to take notes from. Black characters don't need to be extraordinary to be valuable.
3. Lizzie (The Perfection)
Psychological horror movies tend to be very hit-or-miss, and Netflix's The Perfection is certainly a hit. It follows musical prodigies Charlotte (Allison Williams) and Lizzie (Logan Browning) exploring the dangerous repercussion behind the idea of perfection, especially as it pertains to the classical music world.
While Lizzie's very conventionally attractive, her presence as a Black girl in the movie is noticeable. She's existing in a music world where Black people aren't very well recognized and has to give it her all to be seen as the talent she is. Her character is another great example of how Black characters can be whatever they want; and Black actors don't need to be type-casted or be held to preconceived expectations.
4. Adelaide / Red (Us)
The movie is full of social metaphors that are heavily applicable to the real world, largely pointing out the privileges that come with being wealthy and the fear that America has of outsiders. While all of the Black characters in Us are memorable, Red and her doppelgänger Adelaide (both played by Lupita Nyong'o) are particularly stellar. Both characters are so immensely different yet captivating at the same time. It's incredible to watch one actress play two characters who will both stick with you after the end credits.
5. Kris Waterson (Black Christmas, 2019)
In the world of horror, it's usually best to ignore most of the remakes that get pumped out. But the second remake of Black Christmas might deserve a second look. Even with its flaws and occasionally corny execution of progressive statements, the cast does their best with the material they have to work.
The standout here is Kris Waterson (Aleyse Shannon), a politically outspoken college student who rarely slows down or considers potential consequences. She's a believably portrayed character; in fact, she resembles many passionate Black activists. Even in a movie full of unrealistic moments, Kris feels very real as a character. Ultimately, she helps turn an otherwise up-and-down movie into something surprisingly refreshing.
Outside of this list there are still other Black characters in horror movies that deserve recognition. Now, more than ever, it's important to highlight Black individuals; and in doing so, it's important to recognize that horror movies aren't just for white edgelords anymore. It's long past time for Black characters in horror movies to shine.