So you think that it’s a cliche that the black guy always dies in a horror… THINK AGAIN! Don’t get me wrong though, a black guy dying in a horror movie is about as usual as teenagers having sex or dumb characters going back into the house. Regardless, these are the black characters who fought against all odds to break this cliché and survive to be scared another day. Let’s start with:
10. The Thing – Childs/Keith David
Let’s start this list off correctly with the horror classic, The Thing from 1982. Portrayed by Keith David, Child’s was U.S Outpost 31’s chief mechanic and is one of the final survivors of the movie. After R.J MacReady’s final confrontation with the giant alien parasite, Childs regroups with MacReady but they don’t know if they can trust if the other is human or not. They decide to wait out the blizzard for as long as they can as the film ends on a unresolved note.
I put this on the list because he was just as interesting as the rest of the cast and he was one of the first black characters to survive a horror movie back in the 80’s. Even though it’s not clear whether or not he’s human or not, he still appears at the end of the movie so it still counts.
9. Dawn of the Dead Remake – Officer Kenneth/Ving Rhames
Yes. I know. Technically we don’t know if the group of characters survive the movie after arriving at the island full of zombies but technically the character does survive until the actual end credits so it counts. Played by Ving Rhames, Officer Kenneth is a downright badass shotgun-wielding police officer who knows how to dispose of zombies. Officer Kenneth tries to lead the group as best he can while dealing with flesh-hungry zombies, territorial security guards, and a pregnant woman… Because that’s never not an annoying plot point. He’s cool, he kicks butt and he more than deserved to survive this decent remake of a classic.
8. Event Horizon – Cooper/Richard T. Jones
You’ll notice that most of the horror movies where the black character lives, the movie usually is either terrible or a sequel to a classic. In my opinion, Event Horizon is actually quite terrible and I can never understand the cult status it has garnered over the past few years. Event Horizon follows a group of astronauts and a scientist who investigate a mysterious ship where the crew has gone insane and practically disappeared without a trace. The movie might be terrible but Cooper is a kind of a fun goofy character who is loyal to his crew and wants to do anything to complete his mission.
Even when he’s blown out into deep space he knows how to keep his cool and lighten the mood by using his oxygen supply to propel him back to his crew. Even the horrifying blackness of space can't keep this homeboy in space down… And yes, that was a real thing, Google it.
7. Anaconda – Danny Rich/Ice Cube
I don’t care what anyone says or how many dumb family movies he does, I know Ice Cube can be a good actor. Go watch Boyz in the Hood if you don’t believe me. However, after his popularity from that film, he jumped on a film project that starred upcoming stars like Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson, Eric Stoltz and acting veteran Jon Voight. Unfortunately, that film project was the hilarious bomb, Anaconda. Ice Cube portrays the cameraman of a crew who are on a safari to find and capture a rare form of Anaconda that’s larger than life.
However, things don’t go as planned as Jon Voight’s silly character highjacks the film crew and becomes obsessed with capturing the animal. But that doesn’t stop Danny, along with Jennifer Lopez, from blowing the hell out of the Anaconda. You cannot deny the awesomeness of Ice Cube.
6. House on Haunted Hill Remake – Eddie Baker/Taye Diggs
I don’t care what anyone says, I love this movie. This movie actually managed to scare the crap out of me as a kid. Seriously, do you guys even remember the basement scene? Anyway, House on Haunted Hill follows six strangers who have been invited to a “event” at a mansion where a millionaire, Stephen Price, wanted to scare the crap out of some of his friends for fun. However, the strangers that arrive at the mansion are not the people Mr. Price invited and horror ensues.
One of the strangers invited was Eddie Baker who was incredibly likable and acted like a boy next door. He always wants to do right, help out others and try to save anybody who is in danger. It also helps that Taye Diggs is just a charming beautiful specimen of a man. It would have been a sin to kill off this character.
5. 28 Days Later – Selena/Namomi Harris
As soon as we were introduced to this chick in 28 days later, she is kicking zombie butt like it’s nobody’s business and she even manages to save the life of the film’s main hero played by Cilian Murphy. 28 days later follows a man named Jim who awakens from a coma, unaware of what’s happened to the world. While in a bad situation, he is saved by two survivors, one of them Selena. What I do enjoy about Selena is that she is a no-nonsense leader type of character that doesn’t allow feelings to get in the way of survival or doing to right thing.
Even though she does become a bit a damsel in distress by the end of the film, she still managed to survive 28 days after the infestation and even a bunch of crazy horny soldiers. That more than earns her a spot on this list.
4. Deep Blue Sea – Preacher/LL Cool J
Deep Blue Sea is an interestingly odd film where a group of scientists manage to improve the brain power of some sharks that makes them more deadly predators. Don’t you just love it when SyFy’s movie of the week gets a budget. However, LL Cool J plays the cook of the ship who literally refuses to die in a horror film. Gets cornered in a kitchen with a super smart shark; makes it out, gets trapped in a stove while it’s cooking him; uses a hand axe to break out, a shark is chomping on his legs and he stabs it in the freaking eye with a cross.
He spends most of the movie surviving on his own with his pet parrot sidekick but when he’s attacked and his feathery buddy is eaten, he blows the hell out of the shark. All before saying his epic line, “You ate my bird”. Martin Brody would be so proud.
3. Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight – Jeryline/Jada Pinkett Smith
Ah, this was the early days of Jada, before the Smith years. Tales from the Crypt Keeper: Demon Knight follows a demon knight who is constantly on the run from a powerful evil demon known only as the Collector. When the demon knight comes across a boarding house, he meets a bunch of supporting players in a horror movie including the asshole, the slut, the authority figure and of course the black person. That black character is none other than Jeryline, played by Jada Pinkett Smith, who plays a convict who’s working at the boarding house on a work release. Not only does this character survive the film, she manages to kill the mighty Billy Zane demon and become the new Demon Knight. Oh, and she manages to be the sole survivor of the entire film. That definitely deserves a spot on the list.
2. AVP: Alien vs. Predator – Alexa Woods/Sanaa Lathan
While not a perfect film, I understand what they were trying to do with this crossover and it wasn’t terrible, it was just mostly a bit of a bore. However, one of the coolest things in this movie is that the character of Alexa Woods forms an alliance with a Predator to take down a swarm of Xenomorphs. You can’t deny that it’s pretty awesome to see a human character connect with a Predator, rather than fight them, and team up to blow up pyramids and fight a Xenomorph Queen.
The movie even ends with a horde of Predators landing to retrieve the their dead soldier, who dies during the fight with the Alien Queen, and they give Alexa one of their spear weapons in recognition of her skills as a warrior. If the greatest predators in the universe consider you a great warrior, then you definitely deserve a spot on my list.
1. People under the stairs – Fool/Brandon Quintin Adams
You don’t kill Fool, you can’t kill Fool. Trapped in a house with two psychotic deranged slumlords who hide a huge secret in their basement won’t stop this fool. People under the stairs follows a child named Poindexter “Fool” Williams who breaks into the home of two strange and child obsessed slumlords with two other burglars to get revenge for evicting his family. Things don’t go as planned when the two burglars are killed in the process and Fool finds himself trapped in the house’s walls avoiding the man-hungry dogs and the crazy gun-toting man of the house. While stuck in the house, he learns the terrible truths of the mysterious people in the basement and the couple’s “daughter”.
Against all the odds, Fool, a black child character in a horror movie, manages to defeat the evil deranged slumlords and save the lives of dozens of prisoners and the damsel in distress while surviving a horror movie. If you ever get a chance to check this movie out, I highly recommend it. It’s one of the late Wes Craven’s better and more intense horror films and Poindexter “Fool” Williams well earns his place at the top of my list.