Sunday, May 13, 2007

Hey, Has Anybody Seen Lamarr?

I' ve found an interesting site,, which is dedicated to the presence of African-American characters in the horror genre. An unexpected but wholly engrossing read. For those who shy away from slasher and splatter movies, the well-being of the African-Americans in them is often a sign of whether the game is on or not. In short, the point at which you find your black friends dead would be a great time to flee the haunted amusement park where the sexy teens all died ten years ago tonight.

Is the idea of putting the minorities on the frontlines of the war against serial killers inherently racist? Sure. But it's a trend even self-aware horror movies embrace. Let's not forget that Black Beat- and Entertainment Weekly-savvy Jada Pinkett and Omar Epps were the first to go in Scream 2.

One the site's features is "Dying Young," an grisly photo gallery of various African-American characters during their final moments on screen. I've posted some of the tamer frames below. Be forewarned: It's probably not the most appropriate gallery to browse at work and definitely not for the faint of heart, just movies though they may be.


Being reminded of this trend raises a question in my little head, and I'm hoping the five of you who saw Grindhouse might be able to answer it. At the end of the first segment in Death Proof, when the main four girls die in the horrific automobile accident, did we see the crash kill Jungle Julia first? As rule-breaking a "slasher film" as Death Proof was, did Quentin Tarantino buy into this trend as well?


  1. I seem to remember the leg flying off first. But that was a long time ago and I had a few in me (beers).

  2. Anonymous5:24 PM

    I'm thinking it was actually the driver first. You know, the one we knew pretty much nothing about? I may be wrong, though. It has been awhile, though I wasn't buzzed at the time.

  3. I thought it was Rose McGowan's character that was the first to fly out of a car. At any rate, I think nowadays that the problem isn't so much that minorities are the first ones killed off, but rather they haven't been cast as the main character. You can only survive a slasher and most horror films if you are the protagonist or saved at the last minute by the protagonist.

  4. nope. rose mcgowan gets killed in mike's car, before the big accident. interest point about main characters. couldn't it be argued that julia and kim are the main characters in grindhouse?