10 Best Horror Films With Black Lead Actors, According To IMDb

Jordan Peele’s nope opened on July 22nd and anticipation has been incredibly high for the young filmmaker’s third outing. Aside from making incredible blockbuster films in a genre that often is firmly dipped in the indie sphere, Peele has also given a voice to outstanding Black actors.

The horror genre was once often a gateway for budding filmmakers to get their movies made and was also sometimes more welcoming to Black voices than other parts of Hollywood. But now audiences are getting horror movies made by exceptional directors who master the genre, like Jordan Peele, featuring a roster of A-list talent who also speak to the Black American experience within their roles, all while providing the scares horror fans crave.


10 Tales From The Hood (1995) – 6.4

Stream On Starz

Tales From The Hooda horror anthology produced by Spike Lee, is a send-up of the famous Tales From The Crypt series. Not only is the cast mainly Black, but the focus of each of the stories is based on problems that affect the Black community.

Related: The 10 Scariest Horror Movies Set In Schools According To Ranker

Clarence Williams III serves as the funeral director who is not as he initially seems to be, telling the wraparound story and narrating the short films within. It’s a film with important and nuanced concepts involving police brutality, complicity, and racism, and it doesn’t sacrifice the scare factor for a mature story.

9 His House (2020) – 6.5

Stream On Netflix

His House premiered on Netflix in 2020 without much lead-up, with an unknown director and a mostly unknown cast. But the story is a slow-burn, claustrophobic thriller that explores issues not often portrayed on screen.

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The family in this film are immigrants from South Sudan who must learn to adjust to their government assigned housing in England. This is not the point of view most American Netflix subscribers are used to seeing, and the look into this difficult life is the backdrop for a terrifying haunted-house film.

8 Attack The Block (2011) – 6.6

Stream On Starz

before he was in Star Wars, John Boyega was in this movie leading a rag-tag group of English trouble-makers in a fight for their life against alien-invaders. This sci-fi/comedy/horror/adventure offers something for every viewer and is an action-packed adventure from start to finish.

It’s stylish and retro and a young John Boyega shows an incredible amount of charisma from a relatively inexperienced actor forced to go through a change from a low-level gangster to a true hero. Attack The Block gives everything from original, neon creature designs to South London/Patois slang that audiences will be repeating for weeks afterward.

7 Candy Man (1992) – 6.7

Available To Buy On Amazon Prime

2021 brought a sequel candy man to the 1992 original, and while it was a good movie in its own right, it was always going to be difficult to compare to the first. candy man is a ghost story with the origins of the specter being steeped firmly in America’s past.

The horror film mainstay, Tony Todd, is the eponymous Candyman, a former slave unjustly murdered for a crime he didn’t commit. The rage the villain shows throughout the movie is both heartbreaking and terrifying at the same time. It’s an apt representation of how violence begets more violence and racist acts have far reaching consequences.

6 Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight (1995) – 6.7

Available To Buy On Amazon Prime

Demon Knight is the rare film with both a Black director at the helm and a Black, female protagonist in Jada Pinkett Smith. Pinkett Smith’s character plays a version of the heroine from Buffy The Vampire Slayer and is a tough-as-nails demon hunter who is a delight to watch.

This made-for-HBO Tales From The Crypt spinoff was panned upon release, with much of the scorn heaped upon its direct-to-video nature. But in recent years, critics have been reappraising the film as a cult classic and underrated ’90s flick.

5 US (2019) – 6.8

Available To Buy On Apple TV

Jordan Peele’s second movie us was a sign that the director was here to stay in the public consciousness and he once again helmed his film with a rising Black star in Lupita Nyong’o. This mysterious tale of doppelgangers is both frightening and thought-provoking about how Americans view class, race, and opportunity.

Related: 10 Best Social Commentary Horror Movies Like Jordan Peele’s Nope

The nuclear family at the core of the film is Black, and while there are symbolic references to the plight of these families in America, they’re also any other nuclear family. What’s more, each of the cast members pulls double duty, playing both a “normal” character and the feral, silent “other” version of themselves.

4 Blade (1998) – 7.1

Stream On HBO Max

Before there was the MCU, there was blade and Wesley Snipes. Unlike the other superhero films of the ’90s, particularly the Batman series, Blade was a much darker hero with a much more mature film series about the day-walking vampire.

The original Marvel character underwent a redesign after this film to be based more on the Wesley Snipes iteration. Before, Blade was much more an everyman, but Snipes turned him into a cool, wry anti-hero who is the toughest character in the room, even if that room is occupied by vampires. Snipes went on to make two more films in the series that were both box office successes.

3 Eve’s Bayou (1997) – 7.2

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Eve’s Bayou is not an outright horror movie, but its Southern Gothic aesthetic gives the film an aura of mystery and uncertainty. It has an all-star cast led by Samuel L. Jackson and Lynn Whitfield, as well as an outstanding child performance by Jurnee Smollett, who would go on to star in Lovecraft Country.

Themes of memory and observation are stitched throughout the film as well as mysticism and voodoo to haunt the corners of the screen. The characters are privileged in a world where most Black families are disadvantaged, but that privilege does not protect them from doubt and distrust.

2 Get Out (2017) – 7.7

Available To Buy On Apple TV

Jordan Peele’s Get Out was the blockbuster hit of 2017. The film stars Daniel Kaluuya in his breakout performance as the Black boyfriend brought into a white family who have a very particular interest in him beyond making him feel welcome.

Get Out was loved by critics and audiences alike upon release. The story brought to light a certain kind of relationship that most American moviegoing audiences had never seen or even considered on the big screen. It’s a celebration of strength and intelligence, while also being a completely unsettling and frightening film.

1 Night Of The Living Dead (1968) – 7.8

Stream On HBO Max

Night of the Living Dead came out in 1968 on a shoestring budget and was directed by the completely unknown George Romero. Not only did the film go on to become the first modern zombie flick, but it is also considered the grandfather of the horror-film industry. Every horror film that has come afterward likely owes a debt to Romero’s movie.

And to star in his movie, Romero selected Duane Jones. This was the first time a Black actor was cast as the star of a horror film and one of the few times it had happened in any film, marking an evolutionary step in how Hollywood saw Black talent.

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