Written by Cat Wilson of catthewilson.com
Today’s pick is actually going to be a longer post about women of color in horror movies. We looked hard for movies with women of color in lead roles that where in empowering. Unfortunately, there was very little to choose from. Breaking In had a great premise, a black mother protecting her kids but the plot and dialog was clumsy. Even though Gabrielle Union gave a fantastic performance it was frustrating that the rest of the movie didn’t match her. But why are there so few movies horror and otherwise with women of color? Where is the Get Out for black women?
Unfortunately, when looking back for strong women of color characters in past films, they are often in the role of the “other": such as Lisa Bonet as the Voodoo Succubus/Victim in Angel Heart or Aaliyah in Queen of the Damned.
While films have been slowly more inclusive starting with Rachel True in The Craft, Naomie Harris’ fantastic role in 28 Days Later (a movie that also passes the Bechdel Test. Just saying.), recently Tessa Thompson and Gina Rodriguez in Annihilation and Li Bingbing in The Meg. Often women of color are co-stars to a white actors.
When there is a black woman lead film it tends to be torn apart by critics. Just look at Rotten Tomatoes: Breaking In 20%, Alexa Woods in Alien vs. Predator 20%, and Gothika 14%. There is an notable exception of Sennia Nanua playing Melanie in The Girl with All the Gifts, however she is a girl and not a woman.
We had a theory and to test it we watched Gothika, which will be our review for tomorrow. Because spoiler alert, it’s not a bad movie. It’s not Get Out but it’s on par with What Lies Beneath which has a 46% Rotten Tomato rating. Even Roger Ebert gave Gothika 3 out of 4 stars and amazon.com rates it as 4.3 out of 5. So why all the hate on Rotten Tomatoes… because the majority of the reviewers are either white or male. BlackHorrorMovies.com gave this film a 2.7 out of 5 but although the reviewer isn’t named they opened their review with “Halle Berry is hot. And at one point in my life, that would’ve been enough. (I actually bought Swordfish for about 20 seconds’ worth of boob.)” So yeah there might be some male bias here.
To close, we are on the hunt for a fantastic art house film that have black women in the lead and received accolades at Sundance… Does anyone know where we can watch Hair Wolf??