8 Best Horror Movies from Black Directors

8 Best Horror Movies from Black Directors

This might truly be the golden age for horror movies-specifically horror movies by Black creators. 

Black people have been underrepresented in the genre of horror. They are not valued much on screen; neither are they given importance as a director.  But the success of films like Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” (2017) and “Us” (2019) and Xavier Burgin’s documentary “Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror” (2019) have helped shine a spotlight on some of the high points of the genre.

As more horror movies are queued up to be released like Nia DaCosta’s highly anticipated “Candyman” remake, etc; we have listed out some of the best horror movies that are created by black directors. 


8 Best Horror Movies from Black Directors

1. Blacula

Blacula by William Craine (1972) created a wave of Black-created horror movies in the 1970s.

In the movie, Marshall played the role of an African prince named Mamuwalde. He has turned into a vampire against his will by Count Dracula and locked in a coffin for nearly 200 years. When he emerges, he is transported to Los Angeles in the 1970s. 

 The film saw a great success at the box-office and also won the award for best horror film at the Saturn Awards. There was a rush to create a sequel, “Scream Blacula Scream” (1973), and was an inspiration to a wave of Black horror movies in the 1970s.


2.Ganja and Hess (1973) 

This was a remake by director Bill Gunn’s from his original cut in 2018. Ganja and Hess (alternately cut and renamed “Blood Couple”) was written and directed by playwright, actor, and novelist Bill Gunn and starred Duane Jones and Marlene Clark.

The film revolves around a Black vampire couple; Ganja Meda (Clark) and Dr. Hess Green (Jones). Hess, a wealthy anthropologist becomes immortal when his assistant stabs him with an ancient blade. When he wakes up with a thirst for blood, he meets his now-former assistant’s widowed wife, Ganja. 

In the original film, Gunn used vampires to narrate a story on drug addiction. But “Ganja and Hess” was recut after premiering at Cannes Film Festival, and the version that was released in theaters played up the sensual scenes of the film.

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3. Tales from the Hood (1995) 

Rusty Cundieff’s “Tales from the Hood” is a cult classic now, although it wasn’t an instant success in the 1990s when it was originally made. The movie is a horror-comedy anthology directed by Rusty Cundieff and co-written by Cundieff and Darin Scott.

The story is about three men and their visit to a mortuary in search of drugs. They meet a quirky mortician named Mr. Simms (Clarence Williams III) who tells them four stories about the recently deceased.  Each story deals with social issues of racism, police brutality, domestic abuse, and gang violence. The film was marketed poorly and was filmed in a studio that just “didn’t get it” according to Cundieff. This is why the film did not do that well at the box office in 1995.


4. Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight (1995)

The film was directed by Ernest R. Dickerson and was the first feature film in the HBO franchise. Starring Jada Pinkett Smith, William Sadler, and Billy Zane, “Demon Knight” is a horror film that has now become a cult classic. The film was not received well on its initial release though.

The film is about a town in New Mexico that is caught in the middle of a hellish battle between The Collector (Zane) and Frank Brayker (Sadler), the keeper of an ancient key with the power to start the apocalypse.

This was the first feature film “Tales from the Crypt” banner by HBO and is remembered as one of the first (and still one of the few) horror movies to have a Black “final girl.”


5. Eve’s Bayou (1997)

A film by Kasi Lemmons. Eve’s Bayou is preserved in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. The film is officially listed online as a drama, but it still earns a place on any horror movie list.

The film starring Lisa Nicole Carson, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Lynn Whitfield, and Samuel L. Jackson. The story is about a 10-year-old girl named Eve Batiste (Smollett-Bell) and her family in 1960s Louisiana. The adultery, voodoo, and other elements come second to the well-acted family drama.


6. Bones (2001)

Dickerson’s 2001 horror flick, Bones had a thematic and aesthetic nod to the blaxploitation era. The film starred Snoop Dogg as the silky-haired Jimmy Bones, a neighborhood legend who was murdered in 1979 and returns to exact his revenge. The film also featured Clifton Powell, Pam Grier, and Khalil Kain.


7. Get Out (2017) 

This movie by Peele’s was nominated for four Oscars. It was Peele’s directorial debut and is a critic favorite with a 98% score on Rotten Tomatoes. 

The film is about an interracial couple, Chris and Rose (Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams). They visit Rose’s family for the first time. The story begins as an awkward encounter with a well-off white family escalates into something more sinister.

No wonder, The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including best picture, and Peele won for best original screenplay.

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8. Us (2019) 

This is another masterpiece, a critically acclaimed horror movie from Peele.

The bar was set high with ‘Get Out’ by Peele and hence the pressure was on for his second film, “Us.”

The film stars Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, and Evan Alex. the story is about a family on vacation as they are confronted by doppelgängers and, ultimately, the matriarch’s past.

The debate is always on about which of Peele’s films is best, but both were critical and financial successes, and both require several viewings to unpack all of their references and themes.


This list must have left enough chills down the spine. The stories are mind-blowing and the direction has made a mark as these are few of the finest directors of the industry. Hold on to a friend, grab some pillows, and get ready to watch these films one after the other!

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