As a horror fan and also an African-American woman, I've been thinking lately about the lack of diversity in the world of horror and thriller movies. With television making so much progress as far as diversity, it made me wonder why Hollywood is so slow to follow suit. Then, in one day, I saw a trailer for three films (two thrillers and one horror) and it made me wonder if horror and thriller films are on their way to becoming more diverse. While the three trailers may seem like an instant "yes," the answer is not nearly that simple.
Hope For A More Diverse Future
I'm confident that just like television, the world of horror and thriller cinema will grow more diverse. The lack of diversity in horror movies were so bad at one time that there was running joke that anytime a black man or woman was seen in a horror film, you knew they would die first. Black people always were the first to die in horror movies. Although it become a joke in the black community, it also was turn off to the African-American community that actually loved horror films. It was not until the late '90s — in horror films like Deep Blue Sea — where a black man could be the hero and live throughout the entire film.
Last year, there were two thrillers released at the box office with an all African-American cast. This year there are at least three horror/thriller films that feature black stars. This is encouraging for the fight of diversity because in years past there were zero horror/ thriller films featuring people of color, so we are definitely moving in the right direction.
Change Is Moving Too Slowly
Just because we have three diverse horror/thrillers released in one year does not mean we've won the fight for diversity just yet. With TV producing dozens and dozens of top-rated television shows for the last couple of years now, three movies just isn't cutting it. It took a while for TV to wake up and see that shows with diverse casts did just as well as shows with all white-casts, but once they did, they started producing shows at rocket speed.
Hollywood is moving way too slow when it comes to diversification. Ethnic people love horror/thrillers, we just want to see more people that look like us on the big screen!
Ethnic Horror/Thriller Films DO Rank No. 1 At The Box Office
I can see some readers questioning this article by asking, "Well do these ethnic movies actually do well?" Actually, they do amazingly well! Last year, No Good Deed and The Perfect Guy both debuted at No. 1 in the box office. This proves black audiences do go to the movies to support black films and I'm sure white audiences went to see these movie too. I've been seeing the upcoming thriller Kidnapped starring Halle Berry all over my timeline. Ever since her role in the intense thriller The Call, audiences have been looking forward to seeing actress Halle Berry in such an intense roll again.
Another film whose trailer recently dropped was When The Bough Breaks, starring popular actors Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall. It appears to be a slightly erotic thriller featuring an all-black cast.
The trailer that caught my eye the most was Cell starring Samuel L. Jackson, it's an adaption of a horror book written by Stephen King. It looks extremely scary and although the reviews are mixed, I'm hopeful it will be a decent horror film. This is the only film out of the three that will get a limited release followed by a DVD one. The other two films will be opening in theaters nation wide.
So yes, the world of horror and thrillers is slowly becoming more diverse, but it could be a lot better. I'm not only saying that black actors deserve screen time, but Latinos, Asians, Native Americans and many other ethnic groups deserve representation as well.
The solution to the diversification problem is simple: Hire more ethnic actors, producers, writers and directors to make more ethnic films and audiences will pay to go see it! Cinema is much like the real world — it's nothing without the electric feel of diversification.