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Horror Noire

Horror Noire

Blacks in American Horror Films from the 1890s to Present

Robin R. Means Coleman
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From King Kong to Candyman, the boundary-pushing genre of horror film has always been a site for provocative explorations of race in American popular culture. This book offers a comprehensive chronological survey of Black horror from the 1890s to present day.

In this second edition, Robin R. Means Coleman expands upon the history of notable characterizations of Blackness in horror cinema, with new chapters spanning the 1960s, 2000s, and 2010s to the present, and examines key levels of Black participation on screen and behind the camera. The book addresses a full range of Black horror films, including mainstream Hollywood fare, art-house films, Blaxploitation films, and U.S. hip-hop culture-inspired Nollywood films. This new edition also explores the resurgence of the Black horror genre in the last decade, examining the success of Jordan Peele's films Get Out (2017) and Us (2019), smaller independent films such as The House Invictus (2018), and Nia DaCosta's sequel to Candyman (2021). Means Coleman argues that horror offers a unique representational space for Black people to challenge negative or racist portrayals, and to portray greater diversity within the concept of Blackness itself.

This book is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand how fears and anxieties about race and race relations are made manifest, and often challenged, on the silver screen.


Table of Contents:

  1. The Birth of the Black Boogeyman: Pre-1930s
  2. Jungle Fever--A Horror Romance: 1930s
  3. Horrifying Goons and Minstrel Coons: 1940s
  4. Black Invisibility, White Science: 1950s
  5. A Night with Ben: 1960s
  6. Scream, Whitey, Scream--Retribution, Enduring Women, and Carnality: 1970s
  7. We Always Die First--Invisibility, Racial Red-Lining, and Self-Sacrifice: 1980s
  8. Black is Back! Retribution and the Urban Terrain: 1990s
  9. Growing Painz: 2000s
  10. Representation, Recognition, and Renaissance: 2010s to present
  11. Conclusion: Black Horror Today and Tomorrow


Robin R. Means Coleman is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies and in the Center for AfroAmerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan. Her previous books include African Americans and the Black Situation Comedy: Situating Racial Humor and the edited collection Say It Loud! African Americans, Media and Identity, both published by Routledge, and most recently the co-edited volume Fight the Power! The Spike Lee Reader.


  • Publisher: ‎Routledge (Nov 11, 2022)
  • Language: ‎English
  • Paperback: ‎296 pages
  • ISBN-10: ‎0415880203
  • ISBN-13: ‎9780415880206
  • Item Weight: ‎0.776 ounces
  • Dimensions: ‎6 x 0.67 x 9 inches
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