Saturday, May 4, 2019

Movie Myths: The Black Guy Dies First

I'm not one to fact-check jokes, but I've seen this one making the rounds again, relating to horror movies, and presented as serious social commentary.  A while back I even saw a university study trying to prove the point - it was pretty fundamentally flawed, as it counted how many Black character dies, not in what order.

Thanks to the power of the internet, mainly YouTube and Horrorpedia, this is pretty easy to check.  Of these major horror franchises:

  • Alien
  • Child's Play
  • Friday the 13th
  • Halloween
  • Nightmare on Elm Street
  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The only film to have a Black character to die first is Nightmare on Elm Street 4, and he was a survivor from part 3.  More Black guys are "final girls" than first kills - off the top of my head, Elm Street 3, Chainsaw 3, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, and Child's Play 3.

If there was the same racial distribution as the US population, we'd expect to see around six Black characters die first.  Not that I'm defending horror movie casting decisions - the only thing worse than the undercasting of Black actors is the result when they actually are cast.

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