9 Iconic Black Characters In Horror Movie History

9 Iconic Black Characters In Horror Movie History

Throughout the course of history, the Horror genre has been a staple in every form of major media. In modern times, horror has drastically developed and re-crafted the true meaning of the word in various ways. With the overall growth of the petrifying genre has come growth in numerous areas of representation within the films. As any fan knows, the greatest part of enjoying any form of content is being able to see yourself within the realms of escapism, and horror is no different.

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Within the last 30 years, the presence of African Americans in horror related films has surged substantially. As an already welcomed edition, it proves that Black people have an importance in any space they feel like preoccupying. To make matters even greater, the long-standing trope of “Black people are killed first” in slasher films has vastly disappeared, and been replaced with phenomenal writing and directorial vision from the likes of those such as Jordan Peele. The future of horror when it pertains to representing Black people throughout it is a bright one, and what that possible future has in store is exciting to ponder.


Portrayed by the late, great Aaliyah in her final role, Queen of the Damned’s Akasha has become a cult horror icon. Known as one of the first vampires ever, Akasha initially possessed good intentions that drastically formed into the need for a darker power.

Based off of the same titled novel The Queen of the Damned of The Vampire Chronicles by author Anne Rice, the film has gone on to be mainly remembered for Aaliyah’s embodiment of the villainous character and what potential her acting career could have had if she had not tragically passed away at only 22 years old.


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Anyone who has a Twitter account (or really any form of social media) has seen a meme or two of the hilarious Brenda Meeks from the Scary Movie franchise. Regina Hall’s portrayal of the wickedly funny Brenda has become a pop culture staple, and rightfully so.

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A long tenured character within the spoofed Scary Movie films, Brenda’s character is a colorfully parodied mix of various iconic Scream characters throughout the series. Hall’s stand out portrayal of Brenda as Cindy’s (Anna Faris) second in command buddy has stood the test of time as one of the funniest and relatable characters ever.


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Rapper and actor LL Cool J’s journey into the horror genre was spectacular across the board. Before his crossover from the microphone to the big screen, a rapper in a scary movie was unheard of, and LL did more than hold his own alongside some of the greatest.

As the sensitive and resilient cook Preach in Deep Blue Sea, and the poetry writing police officer in Halloween: H20, LL Cool J has gone down in history as one of the few Black male characters to survive a horror film in two different subsets of the genre. In retrospect, the rapper’s presence in horror films later opened the door for others to come through, with rappers Busta Rhymes and Tyga later appearing in future slasher related media.

Chris Washington

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Jordan Peele’s directorial debut with Get Out sparked a cultural movement and is widely regarded as one of the most creative and haunting pieces of horror of the last decade. Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) makes an ill-fated trip to meet the parents of his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) that ends horrifyingly.

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Through the eyes of Chris Washington, viewers are afforded the unfortunate opportunity to see Chris openly preyed upon by his white counterparts for a chance to live through his body. The film not only covers each aspect of what comes with a horror film, but digs deep into racism and the fetishization of Black culture.

Karla Wilson

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R&B legend Brandy’s rise in the 1990s was a pivotal moment for Black women throughout entertainment and Black culture. Landing the role of Cinderella, her own TV show Moesha, and even having her own Barbie doll, Brandy has been a major factor in representation throughout her career.

In the sequel slasher film I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, Brandy cemented her “Final Girl” status as Karla Wilson by surviving the looming threat of the film’s fish-hooked assailant, proving once again of the true talent and remarkable appeal the singer-actress possesses.


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Tony Todd is a legend. With that obvious fact stated, the cult classic Candyman films are beyond legend. Consistently ranked on horror lists as one of the greatest characters of all time, Candyman is the story of an African American artist murdered for being romantically involved with a white woman.

RELATED: How Tony Todd’s Voice Turned ‘Candyman’ Into Modern Day ‘Dracula’

His ghost is summoned when his name is mentioned three times in a mirror, and the rest is history. Tony Todd as Candyman became the first African American character to be immortalized on film as a main antagonist of a horror film. Many sequels and a remake followed the original, but most would be hard-pressed to ever put anything over Todd’s iconic portrayal of the ghoulish entity.



Jordan Peele’s spectacular eye for the eerie and unnerving came to a head in the film Us. Lupita Nyong’o’s portrayal as Adelaide Wilson and her tethered equal Red is terrifyingly brilliant and brings a chill to even the most casual horror enjoyer. With a plot twist that plays with your mind to the overall frightening visuals, Us pushes you to re-watch out of fear and intrigue to see just what you may have missed the first round.

Nyong’o’s prowess in this role is more than evident, and we’re hopeful to see her touch down in another shuddersome feature film in the near future.


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Marvel’sBlade isn’t seemingly seen as horror by some due to the superhero aspects, but it deserves its place within the space itself. Wesley Snipes in the titular role of Blade is one of the most recognized characters throughout Marvel’s universe, and sparked a movement in bringing the superhero franchise to cinema.

Born as a vampire-human hybrid, Blade is the vampire hunting martial artist that is able to exist without the hindering confines of what comes with being a vampire. Created in 1973’s comic The Tomb of Dracula by Marv Wolfman, Blade is also one of the first Black characters to be introduced into Marvel, cementing his legacy as one of the greatest.


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Duane Jones as Ben in the groundbreaking 1968 film Night of the Living Dead was monumental, and without his portrayal, there might not have been the structure and platform for African Americans within horror. As a hero in the film, the character Ben marked the first time in history that a Black actor was cast in a horror-related starring role. Jones portrayed Ben with the utmost dignity and natural class, showcasing that Black actors were beyond the stereotypes saddled onto them at the time.

The influential character Ben was later reprised by fellow legend Tony Todd in the 1990 version, and Duane Jones’s namesake was honored in the hit series The Walking Dead as a character portrayed by actor Adrian Kali.

NEXT:Must Watch Horror Movies From Black Directors

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