Photo: Lionsgate

Horror Movies In Which Black Characters Make It To The End

Women rarely survive in horror films. Members of the fairer sex usually lack the physical strength to overthrow violent criminals and psychopaths. Black people have even slimmer chances of surviving the masked villains in scary movies, though. They just can't surmount the evil odds. While it's possible to outsmart some movie murderers, people of color rarely do. This horror movie trope is pretty notorious now.

In addition to not making it to the closing credits, Black characters are almost always killed before everyone else. They may be just as witty as their onscreen counterparts, but characters of color always face Jason Vorhees's angry blade first. Why? Because the horror genre is historically whitewashed and Black actors rarely receive leading roles. People in horror films tend to die in order of importance; minor personas are knocked off immediately. Consequently, lack actors with small roles die first, if they're even in the film at all.

In recent years, however, the genre has made great strides. Black horror movies like Get Out are taking monumental stands against racism, but there's still a long way to go. Maybe new film producers will start a trope that's more progressive.

Photo: Lionsgate

  • Who: Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya)

    Threat: On a weekend visit to his white girlfriend Rose's (Allison Williams) family home, Chris finds it very peculiar that the family only has Black help. In fact, all the Black people he meets act very strangely. Things aren't what they seem.

    What He Was Up Against: Rose's parents, a neurosurgeon and a psychiatrist, have been hypnotizing Black people. The doctors lock their victims in a mental state where bodily control is impossible. Rose's father transplants the brains of older, disabled white people into healthy Black individuals that are stuck in the sunken place. These stolen corpses are sold to the highest bidder.

    How He Made It: Despite the insanity of his situation, Chris figures out the conspiracy. After being captured, the hero blocks the doctors' hypnotic commands by plugging his ears and battling anyone who stands between an escape.

    Who He Outlived: He thwarts Rose's family and is rescued by his friend Rod Williams (Lil Rel Howery).

    • Released: 2017
    • Directed by: Jordan Peele

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  • Saw VI
    Photo: Lionsgate / Amazon

    Who: Simone (Tanedra Howard)

    Threat: Jigsaw is back with his heinous murder traps.

    What She Was Up Against: Simone has to atone for lending people credit they can't afford in one of Jigsaw's famed murder traps. She wakes up in a room with her coworker, both of them are strapped into spiked helmets. The person who puts the most flesh on a scale will survive.  

    How She Made It: Simone cuts off her arm and slaps it on the scale in record time. Her coworker isn't willing to make a sacrifice that big, so the woman wins.

    Who He Outlived: She outlives her coworker and the leagues of other people Jigsaw traps.

    • Released: 2009
    • Directed by: Kevin Greutert

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  • Who: Freddie Harris (Busta Ryhmes)

    Threat: Everyone's clock is ticking, but this cast spends a night in the killer's childhood home. Needless to say, it's not a pleasant experience.

    What He Was Up Against: Freddie must face Michael Myers, one of the most prolific slasher film serial killers.

    How He Made It: Freddie beats Michael Myers to a pulp then electrocutes him, leaving the body to burn in a garage fire.

    Who He Outlived: Michael Myers claims the lives of 11 people in Halloween Resurrection, including Nora Winston (Tyra Banks). The victims are beheaded, crushed, knifed and impaled, but Freddie defeats the beast.

    • Released: 2002
    • Directed by: Rick Rosenthal
  • Who: Dr. Miranda Gray (Halle Berry)

    Threat: Miranda Gray is a psychiatrist at a women's mental hospital. One day she wakes up as a patient in the same institution. Additionally, Gray finds out that her husband has been brutally murdered and that she's the main suspect. Unfortunately, she can't remember a single thing.

    What She Was Up Against: Her husband (Charles S. Dutton) and Sheriff Ryan (John Carroll Lynch) have secretly been torturing and killing women at Willow's Creek hospital; Gray has to find out about their heinous acts before it's too late. A ghost has also possessed her body.

    How She Made It: It turns out that the ghost is actually really helpful, even though the dead girl is responsible for the death of Gray's husband. The ghost, who has been victimized by the two men, helps Gray escape the mental institution. Gray is able to kill Ryan with help from her spirit friend.

    Who She Outlived: Gray outlives her homicidal husband, Sheriff Ryan, and all the girls that were abused by the aforementioned men.

    • Released: 2003
    • Directed by: Mathieu Kassovitz

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  • Who: Sherman "Preacher" Dudley (LL Cool J)

    Threat: Killer sharks escape at an underwater research facility where Preacher works, and they're hungry. Researchers fear that these hyper-intelligent sharks will escape to the open ocean and cause immeasurable damage.

    What He Was Up Against: Preacher must survive sharks that are genetically engineered to be super smart. The animals manipulate researchers into accidentally flooding the lab in the first place.

    How He Made It: Preacher actually kills one shark during an explosion. The final shark is killed with a harpoon that Preacher attaches to a battery. 

    Who He Outlived: Preacher and researcher Carter Blake (Thomas Jane) outlive every other person at the facility. Even Samuel L. Jackson's character dies midway through the film.

    • Released: 1999
    • Directed by: Renny Harlin

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  • Who: Childs (Keith David)

    Threat: Norwegian scientists accidentally awaken a parasitic alien that has been buried in the ice for thousands of years. It's up to employees at an Antarctic research station to destroy the being.

    What He Was Up Against: The alien can perfectly imitate other lifeforms by absorbing them. No one can be trusted as a fellow teammate can easily be an alien in disguise. Surprisingly (and maybe because the movie doesn't follow racist tropes), no one suspects the Black guy unnecessarily. Childs is also in charge of keeping watch while the remaining crew administers tests; he's isolated but somehow he survives. At one point, he even takes out the alien with a flamethrower.

    How He Made It: Childs totally misses the explosion that destroys just about everything and everyone because he wanders off into the snow.

    Who He Outlived: He outlives everyone except MacReady (Kurt Russel), who also survives until the end credits. It's assumed that both men eventually die of exposure if they haven't already been infected by the parasitic alien.

    • Released: 1982
    • Directed by: John Carpenter

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