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“If you wish to see strange things, I have the power to show them to you.”

4 images of horror films featuring lead actors of color, in order as follows: Abby, The Alchemist Cookbook, Thirst, and Da Sweet Blood of Jesus.


It's October 3rd. The leaves are changing, the wind is blowing, and...nothing about my daily routine has really changed. For all of my goth/alt babes, you know that our lives, whether it comes to how we decorate our homes or adorn our bodies, don't really change as we cruise into fall. I was wearing black and listening to Bauhaus in July, and I'll be doing the same this October. If anything, this period gives me the opportunity to buy carts of home decor, eat my weight in pumpkin-flavored treats (my inner white girl can sniff out a PSL release date), and begin my Halloween costume that I always forget to finish on time. I'm thinking undead mermaid this year...but I digress.

It's an unspoken rule that the second the clock strikes midnight on October 1st, it's time to start planning your horror flick binges. Bloggers have started releasing their top 10 lists, Freeform just announced its annual 31 Nights of Halloween programming block, and fellow horror connoisseurs lovers are posting their 1-movie-a-day calendars. For me, October is when I try to watch all of the eerie, eclectic films I can find. Sure, catching Rosemary's Baby for the 5th time is always fun, but who doesn't love to be terrified in a new way? I know that the kid in Insidious is going to run out of the armoire and I know that Carrie White's hand is going to burst out of the ground. Wouldn't it be nice to feel some brand-new chills and have your mind blown away by some spine-tingling films that are clever, visually stunning, AND feature actors of color as leads? Of course it would!

Horror, and all of its subgenres, is overwhelmingly white. We know this, and I don't have to wax poetic about horror and its racist past because (1) it's already been written about and (2) it's been written about by critics and academics much more eloquent and concise than I. Many creators have begun to tackle this issue with their own love letters to the genre (see: Get Out, Candyman, Lovecraft Country, Attack the Block, Train to Busan, etc.), but they're are all pretty well-known. Here, we're going deeper and darker, just in time for Halloween.

Here are 4 lesser-known horror films featuring poc leads, personally recommended by yours truly. Your October just got 10x better.

*Note: I'm admittedly pretty pretentious, so trust me when I say that all of these films stand as legitimately GOOD films, whether you're ranking them alongside other popular horror classics or popular classics in general.

(1) ABBY

Release date: 1974
Director: William Girdler
Genre: Blaxploitation horror
Where to watch: YouTube

IMDb synopsis: "Living with her pious pastor husband, and her equally religious mother, the polite Christian marriage counselor, Abby, is about to have a close encounter with the supernatural, when her archaeologist father-in-law, Bishop Garnet Williams, inadvertently unleashes an ancient spirit. Now, possessed with an unholy Nigerian deity, Abby becomes a violent, obscene, and sexually obsessed vessel of raw evil and nothing can stop her, or the entity that commands her. Can Williams expel the demon inside her?"

For fans of: Blacula, The Exorcist


Release date: 2016
Director: Joel Potrykus
Genre: Dark dramedy, psychological horror
Where to watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime

IMDb synopsis: "Suffering from delusions of fortune, a young hermit hides out in the forest hoping to crack an ancient mystery, but pays a price for his mania."

For fans of: A Dark Song, Creep


Release date: 2009
Director: Park Chan-wook
Genre: Drama, supernatural horror
Where to watch: Amazon Prime

IMDb synopsis: "Sang-hyun, a priest working for a hospital, selflessly volunteers for a secret vaccine development project intended to eradicate a deadly virus. However, the virus eventually takes over the priest. He nearly dies, but makes a miraculous recovery by an accidental transfusion of vampire blood. He realizes his sole reason for living: the pleasures of the flesh."

For fans of: Let the Right One In, The Handmaiden

*This is a remake of the 1973 film, Ganja & Hess.

Release date: 2014
Director: Spike Lee
Genre: Drama, supernatural horror
Where to watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime

IMDb synopsis: "Dr. Hess Green becomes cursed by a mysterious ancient African artifact and is overwhelmed with a newfound thirst for blood. He however is not a vampire. Soon after his transformation he enters into a dangerous romance with Ganja Hightower that questions the very nature of love, addiction, sex, and status."

For fans of: Interview with the Vampire, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

These all deserve a permanent spot in your Halloween movie marathons, but there's always room for more! Have any suggestions? Send them via the Contact page and they could be added to the list. Remember to stay safe and continue to practice social distancing throughout this beautiful month of October.