Today is all about ghouls, goblins and psycho killers hell-bent on gruesomely claiming the lives of innocent victims as some sort of revenge plot in a slasher film — OK, the day is more about dressing like them, but you get the idea.
An unfortunate trend in these aforementioned horror movies though seems to be that Black people simply can’t catch a break. On top of being undercast as a token character of color in the first place, we’re also usually the ones to be killed off first. However, there are some standout examples that broke the mold and gave Black people everywhere hope that, if a killer doll ever came through snatching souls, we too could survive to see the ending credits.
Whether it took karate moves learned from kung fu flicks, a dream world that gives you superpowers, a trusty pocketknife stashed in your back pocket or just knowing how to outrun the killer until the end, these 10 Black horror movie survivors showed us all the ways you can outsmart the likes of killers like Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, Chucky, a fisherman with a hook or the handful of other deranged murderers in the scary movie genre.
For those in the festive spirit, this list can also help you with any last-minute Halloween costume ideas or in choosing a horror movie marathon to dedicate the day to if you plan on staying in. Either option is a valid choice, but be sure to remember a few survival tips as you watch because, well, you just never know — it’s crazy out here!
From surviving soul sisters like Brandy and Jada Pinkett-Smith to hip-hop horror heroes like Ice Cube and Busta Rhymes, take a look at 10 characters that showed us that Black people actually have a chance at making it to the sequel in scary movies — SPOILERS AHEAD:
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1. KEN SAGOES, ‘A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS’ (1987)
Our guy Kincaid gave Freddy Krueger the business in Elm Street 3, cementing himself as one of the pioneers for Black survivors in horror films. Unfortunately, his fate wasn’t so lucky when he returned for Elm Street 4.
2. JEREMY SILVERS, ‘CHILD’S PLAY 3’ (1991)
Young Tyler actually saves the day against Chucky’s latest plot to become human again, using a key tool from his his military school background to help longtime protagonist Andy land one final cut.
3. JADA PINKETT-SMITH, ‘TALES FROM THE CRYPT: DEMON KNIGHT’ (1995)
If anyone could make being covered in blood look desirable, hands down ’90s Jada is the right woman for the job. Putting someone else’s blood in your mouth, well, let’s leave that to her character Jeryline.
4. ICE CUBE, ‘ANACONDA’ (1997)
Danny came with both an axe and a fire to ultimately save what was left of his documentary crew. Let that be a lesson of what to pack along if you ever choose to venture off into the Amazon infested with overgrown green anacondas.
5. BRANDY, ‘I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER’ (1998)
Karla not only managed to survive a slash to the gut, but also did a good job at keeping her micro braids intact along the way. Get em, queen!
6. LL COOL J, ‘DEEP BLUE SEA’ (1999)
Preacher could talk to birds, shoot harpoons from a distance, created the explosion that sent the killer shark flying into pieces and saved up enough breath in the end to perform a rap during the closing credits. Quite possibly the greatest Black survivor of them all!
7. BUSTA RHYMES, ‘HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION’ (2002)
We’ll save our opinion on the way Freddie actually took out an unexplainably strong Michael Myers, but it sure made for a comedic fight if not for anything.
8. LUPITA NYONG’O, ‘US’ (2019)
Playing both the victim and the villain, Lupita made sure that she’d be surviving on one side of the scary movie spectrum. It adds even more a creep factor when you learn that she stayed in character as Adelaide/Red even between scenes.
9. CHRIS ROCK, ‘SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW’ (2021)
Although his pops wasn’t so lucky, the survival of Detective Zeke definitely set him up to make it to the sequel and continue the trend of Black survivors into the future.
10. TONY TODD, THE ‘CANDYMAN’ SERIES (1992 – 2021)
Hey, we didn’t say the survivor had to be a victim! Candyman has proven to be a pioneer in the horror genre as the sole Black killer and the most consistent; Tony Todd has stuck with the role for the past three decades, and we expect him to be the melanated murderer for years to come as well.