I wanted to include an editor’s pick so y’all, our beautiful viewers, can get to know us, your amazing editors. I also wanted to showcase our TV/Film/Theater picks because although it may feel like all you see are white stories or stories of the oppressor, our stories have been here for a while and are extremely diverse and expand over all genres. There is not one specific way to tell our stories and we deserve to be seen and heard. So here is a list of TV/Film/Theater made by beautiful BIPOC/multicultural/multiethnic artists to expand your mind, start a conversation, or even spark something in your soul. Each editors’ picks will be focused around a specific theme, this month’s theme is Horror.
— Maya Renee Castro (TV/Film/Theater Editor)
Maya Renee Castro (TV/Film/Theater Editor)
Film: Night of the Living Dead Dir. George A. Romero (1968)
Where to watch: HBO, HBOMax, Youtube, Amazon Prime, Shudder
Honorary Mentions: Sugar Hill, Tales From the Hood, Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight, Ringu, Ugetsu, Thirst, The Devil’s Backbone, The Blood Spattered Bride, The Vampire Lovers, Jennifer’s Body….. I could go on forever….
Let’s Talk about Night of the Living Dead!
Night of the Living Dead is a classic horror film. Released in 1968 and written, directed and shot by George A. Romero, this film stars Duane Jones and Judith O’Dea. Siblings, Barbara and Johnny go to visit their mother’s grave and encounter the undead corpse. Running from the undead, Barbara ends up in what seems to be an abandoned farmhouse. Soon we meet Ben who helps her and makes sure the farmhouse is secure. Barbara and Ben meet other survivors and the rest of the film follows all their stories as they are trapped in the farmhouse trying to fight off the undead.
Now Night of the Living Dead is a classic and well known horror film, so it seems like a pretty easy pick. However, I picked it because I rewatched it recently and what really struck me was that the lead character is a Black man. And I don’t mean that in a naive way, as if I didn’t know that the lead character was a Black man, but more in the way of how much of an impact that was at the time. I have seen this movie a handful of times, and just took it at face value as a zombie film that inspired many horror filmmakers. But with everything going on in the world, watching this movie again hit different. Horror movies have always been a vehicle to talk about “taboo” subjects and to empower the oppressed (episcally when it comes to the evolution of the final girl). However over the years I’ve seen a lot of horror movies, directed by non-BIPOC, kill off the Black character first, or toss them away and use them for stereotypical jokes. Yet this 1968 classic has a Black man take charge of the movie, help out people who would never help him out if the tables were turned, be the voice of reason, basically be the last survivor and be a strong character. The power of a great film is that it still holds up, and this film still holds up, not only as a film but as a comment on society’s racial tensions. It’s also a great horror movie for someone who isn’t really a horror movie fan. It’s not too scary but who knows, zombies might be coming for us…
Joana Meurkens (Art Director)
TV Show: Lovecraft Country, Showrunner: Misha Green
Where to Watch: (HBO/HBOMax)
Lovecraft Country is a new show on HBO starring Johnathan Majors, Jurnee Smollett, and a handful of other incredible Black actors. This show takes you on a mystical journey while exposing the deep rooted racism in America. Honestly you would think that the most terrifying thing on this show is flesh eating monsters, but no, it’s the cop around the corner who will kill you with more pep in his step than any fictional monster ever could. The cast in this show never gives up, it is just vulnerable performance after vulnerable performance. This series has also set in stone that Johnathan Majors is on his way to become one of the greatest actors of our time, and I feel lucky to get to watch him deliver such honest performances in literally every scene he is in. The horror/fantasy elements do get a bit campy, but honestly that is what this level of mysticism requires. The cinematography (especially in the pilot) elevates the story to new levels as it pays homage to classic Civil Rights Era photos. Honestly just watch it, I promise you’ll be entertained…
Citrine Ghraowi (Politics Editor)
Film: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night Dir. Ana Lily Amirpour (Iran, 2014)
Where to watch: Vudu
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a film directed by Ana Lily Amirpour (2014) that isn’t your typical bloody send you jumping out of your seat film, but instead one that highlights the terrifying feeling of loneliness. Set in a place where not a lot happens and where no one is ever content with their lives, Arash lives with his drug addicted father, Saeed. Arash soon meets a lonely beautiful vampire, who roams the streets at night on a skateboard, who soon forms a bond with him. Set in black and white, the cinematography of the film is beautiful, which will definitely be one of the many reasons you’ll fall in love with this film.
Tayo Omisore (Poetry Editor)
Where to Watch: Youtube
We’re switching it up and sliding a music video into the editor’s pick this month! EXACTLY SIX YEARS AGO TODAY, the world was given the visual treatment for “Telegraph Ave” by Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino, aka Simba if we’re being chaotic). The 4th single leading up to his 2013 magnus opus Because the Internet was directed by acclaimed filmmaker and longtime collaborator Hiro Murai and oddly enough fits snugly into this issue’s Horror theme. In a world that reeks of smoke and nobody with enough water feeling responsible for the fire, I am nostalgic for the simple horrors Glover and Murai explore in “Telegraph Ave”: Aliens and Commitment. Like most horror films, it makes no sense for me to over explain the plot so I’ll leave the video here and you can tell me your thoughts on instagram @thatstayo. I’m serious, I’m so lonely and would like to talk about BTI again pretty please.
Stephanie Eyocko (Food Editor)
Film: Get Out Dir. Jordan Peele (2017)
Where to watch: Since Get Out isn’t streaming on Netflix or Hulu, your best bet is to rent the film on Prime Video for $3.99.
Jordan Peele’s directorial debut is one that cannot be replicated. Mr. Peele managed to unapologetically discuss a topic– that should not be but remains “divisive”–race. ‘Get Out.’ tells the story of a young black man, Chris Washington, visiting his significant other, Rose Armitage, a white woman. At first hand, everything seems normal, that is until, his personal anxieties about staying in the middle of nowhere with white people hold true: his life was in danger. It’s funny, cringy, dark, and most importantly–timely.
Carolina Meurkens (Editor-in-Chief)
TV Show: Black Mirror Season 4. Episode 6. Black Museum Dir. Colm McCarthy
Where to watch: Netflix
I am not the biggest fan of horror; actually I am such a scaredy cat it’s embarrassing, Harry Potter gives me the chills. But I will occasionally indulge in a Black Mirror episode, after extensively reading the plot to prepare myself. The last episode of Season 4 is perhaps the most memorable episode on the show. It follows Nish (Letitia Wright), a young British tourist traveling across the U.S when she stops at the Black Museum, an archive of crime related artifacts (and Easter Eggs of past Black Mirror episodes). Rolo Haynes oversees the museum and takes Nish on a tour of the artifacts, detailing his victims of medical experiments gone wrong. Rolo stops at the main attraction, a hologram of Clayton Leigh who was found guilty of murder. Before dying, Clayton agrees to have his consciousness transferred over to Rolo’s experiment, hoping the profits will help his family. A hologram of Clayton in an electric chair stands in the museum, in which people can pay to torture him at varying degrees. In a twist of events, we discover that Nish is actually Clayton’s daughter and has come to end her father’s suffering once and for all. The episode draws on the long history of Black suffering, of wrongfully convicted victims of death row and victims of non-consensual medical experiments. If you haven’t seen this episode yet, it’s a must see, if only to see Nish successfully free her father’s consciousness from eternal suffering and avenge Black death on mainstream television.
Gina-Sophia Zamudio (Social Media Manager)
Film: Pan’s Labyrinth Dir. Guillermo Del Toro (2006)
Where to watch: Netflix
This film is pure genius and has been one of my favorites since I was a little girl. Pan’s Labyrinth is a true introduction into the dark fantasy world of director, Guillermo Del Toro. Ofelia, the story’s protagonist, is a young girl growing up during the violent period after the Spanish Civil War. Her mother falls in love with a brutal Spanish army captain and Ofelia is forced to uproot her life and move to the country where her new stepfather lives, all whilst her pregnant mother becomes increasingly ill. Struggling to adjust to her new life, Ofelia’s imagination begins to run wild as reality and fantasy begin to intertwine. One day she discovers a labyrinth and a mysterious faun creature in the woods. The dark fairy tale unfolds from there. Pan’s Labyrinth is a terrifyingly visual wondrous masterpiece and is Del Toro’s most provocative accomplishment to date. It’s a beautiful modern-day fable for the ages and one that will permanently live in the hearts of all who see it.