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Black Horror Movie Hall of Fame

Noble Johnson

Noble Johnson (1881 - 1978)

Played all manner of races and ethnicities through over 50 years of Hollywood roles, including early horror classics like The Mummy, King Kong, Murders in the Rue Morgue, and The Ghost Breakers. He also founded the groundbreaking Lincoln Motion Picture Company, the first black film company, in 1916.

Kevin Peter Hall

Kevin Peter Hall (1955 - 1991)

Other than you "227" or "Misfits of Science" fans, you may not recognize his face, but he made a career of playing monsters -- thanks to his 7-foot-plus frame -- in films like Predator, Predator 2, Monster in the Closet, Prophecy, Without Warning, Mazes and Monsters, and Harry and the Hendersons. Not to be confused with Anthony Michael Hall, Philip Michael Thomas, or a tree.

Tony Todd

Tony Todd (1954 - )

Known mostly for his memorable lead role in the Candyman series, he's the hardest workin' man in horror, having been featured in some 20-plus genre films, including Wishmaster, Shadow: Dead Riot, the Final Destination movies, Minotaur, and the Night of the Living Dead remake.

LL Cool J

LL Cool J (1968 - )

Has displayed remarkable survivability for a black actor in horror movies -- namely, Deep Blue Sea, Halloween H20, and Mindhunters -- even more so for a rapper.

Wes Craven

Wes Craven (1939 - )

Responsible for such black-featured horror films as The People Under the Stairs, The Serpent and the Rainbow, and, for better or worse, Vampire in Brooklyn.

Ken Foree

Ken Foree (1946 - )

He became a horror icon for his role in the original Dawn of the Dead and has since been featured in about a dozen other horror films, including The Devil's Rejects, From Beyond, The Dentist, and Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III.

Duane Jones

Duane Jones (1936 - 1988)

Though not a prolific film actor, most of his movies were in the horror genre. The one he's most identified with, of course, is the classic Night of the Living Dead, which broke not only cinematic ground but social ground as well. Also notable is the atmospheric vampire flick Ganja and Hess.

Pam Grier

Pam Grier (1949 - )

Buxom beauty has been featured in at least a half-dozen horror films, including Ghosts of Mars, Bones, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Twilight People, and Scream, Blacula, Scream.

William Marshall

William Marshall (1924 - 2003)

His commanding performance helped make the role of Blacula synonymous with black horror movies, although he appeared in several other horror films, such as Abby, Curtains, and Sorceress.

Rosalind Cash

Rosalind Cash (1938 - 1995)

Impressive horror credits include The Omega Man, Tales from the Hood, Death Spa, The Offspring, and Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde.

Scatman Crothers

Scatman Crothers (1910 - 1986)

Long-time character actor provided one of the most memorable deaths in horror movie history in The Shining, setting a standard for heroic black death scenes. He also had major roles in Deadly Eyes and Twilight Zone: The Movie.

Ernest Dickerson

Ernest Dickerson (1952 - )

Director of black-featured horror films Bones and Demon Knight, he also helmed episodes of the TV shows Masters of Horror and Fear Itself, served as cinematographer on Def By Temptation, and was even a camera operator for the original Day of the Dead.

Mantan Moreland

Mantan Moreland (1901 - 1973)

A comedy icon, he played the loquacious, googly-eyed, panicky comic relief in a dozen or more horror films -- some mainstream, like King of the Zombies, Revenge of the Zombies, and The Strange Case of Dr. Rx, and some all-black, like Lucky Ghost and Mr. Washington Goes to Town. He may be best-known as sidekick Birmingham Brown of the popular Charlie Chan films of the 1940s (see Meeting at Midnight and The Scarlet Clue).

Full Moon Pictures

Full Moon Pictures

Quality aside, Full Moon -- through its urban division, Alchemy Entertainment/Big City Pictures -- released a glut of "urban horror" in the late '90s and early 21st century, almost single-handedly keeping the sub-genre alive. I'm still not sure how popular these films were or if there was much clamoring for them, but there had to be some demand if they kept making them. And the world is a better place for it (I think). Titles include Killjoy, Killjoy 2, Cryptz, Ragdoll, The Vault, and The Horrible Doctor Bones.

Marlene Clark

Marlene Clark (? - ?)

Perhaps the Blaxploitation era's horror queen, she appeared in Ganja and Hess, Lord Shango, Night of the Cobra Woman, Black Mamba, The Beast Must Die, and Beware! The Blob.

George Romero

George Romero (1939 - )

Features consistently strong black roles in hs movies, starting with the revolutionary role of Ben (Duane Jones) in Night of the Living Dead, but also including films like Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead, and The Crazies.

Coolio

Coolio (1963 - )

Yes, Coolio. Quality aside, he's carved a niche for himself in a number of cheesy, straight-to-video horror flicks, sometimes as a bad guy, sometimes as a good guy, always as a gangsta. Westside! Credits include: The Convent, Red Water, Pterodactyl, Dracula 3000, and Leprechaun in the Hood.

 

Willie Best

Willie Best (1913 - 1962)

Also known as Sleep 'n' Eat, Best played the shuffling, lethargic stereotype popularized by Stepin Fetchit. Unlike Fetchit, Best was featured in a number of horror and mystery films, including The Ghost Breakers, The Monster Walks, The Face of Marble, Whispering Ghosts, The Hidden Hand, and Laurel & Hardy's A-Haunting We Will Go. He even played Chattanooga Brown, the cousin to Mantan's Birmingham Brown, in a couple of Charlie Chan films.

Charles S. Dutton

Charles S. Dutton (1951 - )

Need a black man to die in your horror movie? Dutton's your man! He's bitten the big one in Secret Window, Gothika, Alien 3, and Mimic (the latter two of which he used to hone his patented "sacrifice myself to save the white hero" technique). How he survived Cat's Eye and Eye See You is anyone's guess.

Miguel A. Nunez, Jr. (1964 - )

Though his deaths haven't been as high-profile as Charles Dutton's, Miguel "Juwanna Mann" Nunez can get snuffed with the best of 'em. He's bitten the dust in five horror movies -- Return of the Living Dead, Friday the 13th Part V, Hood Rat, Shadowzone, and Carnosaur 2 -- but had the luck of the Irish making it through Leprechaun in Space unscathed.

Creep FX

The horror division of urban specialist Maverick Entertainment, Creep FX took over where Full Moon's Alchemy/Big CIty left off, pumping out direct-to-video urban horror films like Dream Home, Street Tales of Terror, The Evil One, The Dawn, Woods of Evil, Fright Club, and Voodoo Curse: The Giddeh.

William Crain (1949 - )

Crain kick-started Blaxploitation horror when, at age 23, he directed the legendary Blacula and followed it up four years later with the underrated Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde. Sadly, he's done little directing since the '80s, when he helmed TV shows like "The Dukes of Hazzard", "Matt Houston", and (eesh) "Designing Women".

Ernie Hudson (1945 - )

Although he's generally known as "the black guy from Ghostbusters", Ernie Hudson has built up a substantial horror presence outside of that franchise. For instance, he's played "the black guy from Leviathan", "the black guy in The Crow", and "one of the black guys from Congo", not to mention "a black guy in Shark Attack, or so I've heard, since I've never seen it".

David Jean Thomas (? - ?)

Primarily a B-movie character actor, David Jean Thomas might elicit comments like "Hey, it's that guy!" from people who've seen him in popular fare like Fight Club, Nutty Professor II, and The Flinstones in Viva Rock Vegas, but he's made quite a living appearing in at least 10 direct-to-video or cable horror films, including Voodoo Moon, Exorcism, Asylum of the Damned, and The Mummy's Kiss. Yes, he's that guy.

James Tucker (1962 - )

One of the few black directors to make a living helming non-black ("urban") horror, Tucker has been behind the camera for low-budget fare like Skinned Alive, Pink Eye, Addiction and Aunt Rose.

The Friday the 13th series

The infamous Friday the 13th films take their place in the Black Horror Movie Hall of Fame as the embodiment of the horror cliche that the black guy always dies. This series almost single-handedly made that generalization a reality by killing more black people than the Bloods and the Crips combined. In the 11 movies (including Freddy vs. Jason), a whopping 15 out of 18 black characters end up stabbed, decapitated, or otherwise f@#ked up. The other three apparently belong to the union.

S. Torriano Berry (1958 - )

A little-known pioneer in black horror, this Howard University professor not only directed the early "urban horror" entry The Embalmer in 1996, but he and Chester Norvell Turner were practically the only directors to provide all-black horror in the '80s. He created an African-American Twilight Zone-y horror/sci fi anthology in the middle of the decade called The Black Beyond that began as a film school thesis and continued after graduation to include five stories: "In the Hole," "Deathly Realities," "The Coming of the Saturnites," "The Connection," and "Money'll Eat You Up." He even served as cinematographer on the black Troma film Bugged.

Chester Norvell Turner (? - ?)

A real man of mystery (if he even is a man...?), Chester Norvell Turner shall forever live in cult movie infamy for his 1984 taste-optional opus Black Devil Doll From Hell. Beyond the camp of that film and his Tales From the Quadead Zone, Turner was actually an important figure in the grand scheme of black horror, as he was responsible for the only (as far as I can tell) African-American horror feature films during the span between the Blaxploitation '70s and the "urban horror" '90s. So, thank you Chester Norvell Turner, wherever your crazy ass is.

 

More to come...



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