Halloween is my second favorite holiday after Thanksgiving (I’m fat on the inside lol). I love the colors, even my first pair of Jordans were orange and black. I love the weather (sweaters! cardigans! blazers!) I love the candy (Reese's is the best thing on the planet), and I love the horror. Yes, I love horror. I like being scared BY MOVIES. You scare me in real life you might get punched. But Halloween supports all of this; it allows us to frolic in our fear and face the frightening. Despite the belief that Halloween is demonic or that it encourages dangerous behavior, Halloween is a great time for people to get a little scared, have a little fun, and run amok. (AMOK AMOK AMOK AMOK!).
Speaking of Hocus Pocus, you can't talk about Halloween without mentioning what makes Halloween Halloween. Sure, everybody loves Hocus Pocus (and for good reason), but with the 13 Nights of Halloween, the 31 Days of Halloween, the Chiller countdowns, and all the other great Halloween movies and Halloween themed episodes there is PLENTY of programming that makes Halloween a great time to watch TV. For me and my house though, there are three movies that will be watched every year. Don’t Look Under the Bed, The People Under the Stairs, and Tales from the Hood are all classic movies that hold a special place in my freaky creepy little heart. Take Don’t Look Under the Bed for example. The scariest DCOM (no seriously. They banned this movie because it was so scary) is horror for kids, so Little Me loved watching the Boogie Person (that will make sense once you see the (great) movie) and its hijinks. Then there was The People Under the Stairs, which was about this incestuous rich white “couple” who owned all the houses in the hood and practiced crazy white people shit on the people unfortunate enough to be deemed their children (just for clarification purposes, the “dad” walking around like this was a regular occurrence. Tell me that aint some crazy shit). Both of these movies had kid protagonists and explored some pretty heavy subject matter for my young mind, but neither of them compared to Tales From the Hood.
For those of you who don’t know, Tales from the Hood is an anthology film which, unlike many of the other films here, was actually made by Black people. It shows too, because each of the four parts of this movie deals with issues that still affect Black communities today, from police brutality to gang culture. No spoilers, but Tales From the Hood really dug deep into what is horrifying, and the fact that the creators cared enough to make it for an audience that usually gets the shaft (no pun intended) in horror makes it even better. Let’s face it, when it comes to horror movies Black folks don’t fare so well (neither do many people of color, but priorities). Tales From the Hood didn’t always have us being better off, but at least we were able to see ourselves on screen for more than 10 seconds. There’s a reason I’m so invested in these films, and really any Black people in horror; it’s because Horror is one of the many branches/genres of Black Speculative Fiction. Yeah, we’re still on this stuff.
It’s no coincidence that Horror is a genre of speculative fiction and that October is Black Speculative Fiction Month. Black folks have faced horrific stuff in our past that other folks (and even most of us) can’t even imagine, but yet when it comes time to make a horror movie or story we’re the first ones to go. It makes no sense, especially when you think about the fact that most of this stuff we wouldn’t be a part of in the first place. Maybe that’s part of the reason why we’re not in horror movies, because no one knows what to do with a cautious and logical Black person in them. Now this might not seem like a bad thing in your mind. I mean who wants to be a part of this stuff? But...we should. There are things we can learn from these movies, from the silly fun stuff to the serious societal lessons these movies allow the people within them (and the viewer) to face their fears, learn from them, grow from them, and cope with them. For Black people especially, a group of people for whom our horrors continue to haunt us everyday, this is vital. That’s why I love watching horror movies with Black characters, and that’s why I’m so excited by the idea of more of them being made.
Take the new movie Get Out. It’s a movie created by a Black man in an interracial relationship (it’s Jordan Peele in case you didn’t know) about the terrifying nature of said relationship. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Oh Marcus you just don’t want people to be in interracial relationships! You’re reverse racisming (whatever that is)!” Its WAY deeper than that. This movie tells a story from a Black man’s point of view about how scary and dangerous it is to be surrounded by whiteness, especially in this day and age. The truth of the matter is that shit is scary. You never know who is a neo-Nazi and who is a Klansman in training, so it’s scary to know that literally one wrong move could end your life. It’s amazing that films are being made that speak to this very real horror, ones that terrify us to the bone and don’t trivialize what is scary by putting people into situations that no sane person would ever be in. Get Out is one of those movies that allows Black people to get the same growth that other people have been getting from horror movies since the dawn of the film industry, and for that I am grateful.
I’m grateful that Horror is a genre that can teach so many lessons and I’m grateful that Black folks are finally being recognized and appreciated in it. I’m grateful that Horror, like Science Fiction and Fantasy, is genre fiction that can still have a message and be studied. I’m grateful that I can be one of those people studying it, and I’m grateful that there is a time of year set aside for me to do just that. So you see, Halloween is my favorite not just because of the good shows and the candy, but because it encourages people to face some fears, survive some horrors, and most of all have a little fun. It might not seem like much to you, but this is one of my favorite times of year. This is a holiday that anyone and everyone should enjoy. This…is Halloween.
How do you feel about Halloween? What are some of your favorite Halloween movies, TV episodes and specials? Be sure to leave any questions, comments, and concerns you have below and don't forget to like, share, and subscribe!