Executive Producer Of 'Horror Noire' Documentary Shares 3 Must-See Black Horror Films Tananarive Due is an executive producer on the new Shudder documentary, Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror. She gives NPR's Scott Simon her recommendations for films featured in the documentary.
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Executive Producer Of 'Horror Noire' Documentary Shares 3 Must-See Black Horror Films

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Executive Producer Of 'Horror Noire' Documentary Shares 3 Must-See Black Horror Films

Executive Producer Of 'Horror Noire' Documentary Shares 3 Must-See Black Horror Films

Executive Producer Of 'Horror Noire' Documentary Shares 3 Must-See Black Horror Films

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Tananarive Due is an executive producer on the new Shudder documentary, Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror. She gives NPR's Scott Simon her recommendations for films featured in the documentary.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Horror films are not for everybody. There's usually blood, gore, fear. Tananarive Due is a writer who says that she became a fan of horror because her mother was - not a horror but a fan.

TANANARIVE DUE: You know, she was watching "Creature Features" on Saturday afternoons, "The Mummy..."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE MUMMY")

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Is it dead or alive?

DUE: "The Fly..."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE FLY")

VINCENT PRICE: The fly is on its way.

DUE: "The Mole People."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE MOLE PEOPLE")

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: The blood-lusting mole people storming from their subterranean caverns.

SIMON: Ms. Due is African-American. And she noticed that she rarely saw African-Americans in horror films unless they were something to be feared or in a very particular role.

DUE: You are the comic relief. You're the first to die, the idea of someone who's a spiritual guide who doesn't really have their own life. They only exist to give you wisdom as the white protagonist.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) You, too, have a purpose, Mia - to protect your family...

SIMON: There are exceptions, including horror films by black directors - 1972's "Blacula" to 2017's blockbuster "Get Out" from Jordan Peele. A new documentary, Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror," touches on those films and more. Tananarive Due is an executive producer.

DUE: If you look through history, you'll see, oh, but there are also other filmmakers who didn't get Jordan Peele's level of success who have also been grappling with using horror as a way to reflect our real life horrors back at us kind of through a funhouse mirror and engage with them.

SIMON: We asked to Tananarive Due to give us three movies from the documentary that she considers films you must watch.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DUE: "Ganja and Hess" from 1973 is this very thoughtful, well shot, well acted film - an art film almost really - starring Duane Jones fighting this blood addiction.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "GANJA AND HESS")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As character) He's a victim.

(SOUNDBITE OF SIRENS)

UNIDENTIED ACTOR #2: (As character) He's addicted to blood.

DUE: And it's about the connection to Africa and African mythology and the blood and the addiction and class and all these issues. And it's just such a hidden gem because for years, it was literally hidden in a vault. But now "Ganja and Hess" is back out in its original form. And viewers can see it for themselves.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "TALES FROM THE HOOD")

DUE: So for a lot of people who might not have ever heard of a black horror film before "Get Out," a lot of people will say, oh, yes. I remember "Tales From the Hood." That was Rusty Cundieff's film from 1995.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "TALES FROM THE HOOD")

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: Now your most terrifying nightmare and your most frightening reality are about to meet on the streets.

(SOUNDBITE OF GUNSHOTS)

DUE: It's using the supernatural not to be as the evil in the film but the supernatural as the force of good. So the film touches on police brutality. It has to do with a racist politician whose slogan is an original American isn't it about time? And there are so many themes that just echo things that we're hearing about today. But the only difference is that we don't have the voodoo dolls in real life to exact vengeance.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "TALES FROM THE HOOD")

DUE: The final recommendation, in some ways you might consider it a drama - "Eve's Bayou."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "EVE'S BAYOU")

DUE: And it's a very difficult story about a father who's having several affairs. His young daughter is well aware of the affairs. It's kind of an open secret in this all black community. And it's what happens sort of when she discovers what he's up to. There are gentle touches of the supernatural and references to voodoo.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "EVE'S BAYOU")

JURNEE SMOLLETT-BELL: (As Eve Batiste) How do you kill someone with voodoo? Do you just wish real hard that they were dead? Or do you have to do something special?

DUE: And then the rage that it brings and builds up in her is a kind of a loss of innocence. But the heart of the horror in "Eve's Bayou" is happening in the home in the bosom of the family.

SIMON: Three black horror film recommendations from Tananarive Due. She's an executive producer of the new horror documentary "Horror Noire." You can see it on the streaming service Shutter.

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