Whether you’re a horror movie fanatic or you are the type who keeps your hands glued over your eyes during a whole film, scary movies are sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. But why the one lone Black actor always gotta be the first to get killed off? While that’s usually the case in most movies, there are in fact a few where Black characters not only survived to the end, but ended up being the hero.
Here are 10 movies where Black people were still alive when the credits rolled:
Deep Blue Sea (1999)
Samuel L. Jackson and LL Cool J represent for us in this science fiction thriller. A team of scientists try to discover a cure for Alzheimer’s by experimenting with shark brain tissue. In testing on the animals, the team ends up making the sharks faster and smarter. Most figured Sam Jackson and Uncle L would be the first to go. They were partially correct. Samuel L. Jackson gets bodied by the largest shark early on in the film, but LL manages to come through in the clutch to kill the last predator.
House on Haunted Hill (1999)
A remake of the 1959 classic starring horror movie vet Vincent Price, House on Haunted Hill centers around a rich couple entangled in a marriage that’s falling apart in front of the viewers’ eyes. With deep pockets in tow, the couple rent an abandoned insane asylum for a Halloween party. The hosts offer a milli to whoever can stay in the abandoned psychiatric hospital for the night. And like any good thriller, the hosts and guests have no idea the asylum is haunted. Like that family friend we’ve all got, a young Taye Diggs—with hair—pops up at the most inopportune to time to join in on the fun. But the joke’s on him when he discovers he’s being chased by the spirits of the asylum because his ancestors were the reason behind the place closing in the 1930s. He finesses his way out of getting killed by telling the spirits he’s not really related to his ancestors because he was adopted. The CGI wasn’t amazing, but alas, it was the ’90s.
13 Ghosts (2001)
Tony Shaloub, most known for his talented role as a detective with bad OCD, plays the nephew of a ghost hunter in this remake of the original 1960 film. Shaloub’s uncle dies, and suddenly he hits a major lick when he inherits his uncle’s mansion. He moves in with his two kids and the nanny, played by Rah Digga. It turns out his uncle had 12 ghosts held captive in the basement, and shit hits the fan when all the spirits are accidentally unleashed. Then they find out the whole thing was a ruse to get Shaloub in the house to become the 13th ghost, ergo the title. While Rah Digga, the first lady of Flipmode Squad does play the stereotypical role of the help, she does manage to survive.
Is Jennifer Lopez Black? No, but a non-white person surviving in a horror film is a win for us all. Lopez plays a leader of a National Geographic film crew heading to the Amazon Rainforest to capture the life of the land’s natives. Ice Cube—out here dressed like it’s NWA’s heyday—serves as her cameraman. The crew is kidnapped by a snake hunter on a mission to kill the biggest anaconda on record. By the end, Lopez and Cube are the only surviving members of the film crew. They kill the snake hunter and the anaconda by blowing up a smoke stack where the snake was caught after devouring the snake hunter. Cube’s furrowed brow screw face makes several appearances making this a cult classic.
Nia Long’s gorgeous self has a supporting role in the supernatural horror movie. She survives because most of the scary and unexplained things happen to her friend, Patricia Arquette. Arquette plays an atheist who is tortured by spirits. Her wounds are those of Jesus. She gets puncture wounds through her hands, mysterious whip lashings on her back, and bleeds from her head, indicating she wore a crown of thorns. Nia’s character does the smart thing and loves and cares for her friend when she has to, but also keeps her at a distance.
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)
In the sequel to the slasher horror, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Brandy plays Jennifer Love Hewitt’s college roommate. Brandy wins an all-expenses-paid vacation to the Bahamas for the Fourth of July weekend and invites the rest of the squad to join her. The trouble is it’s hurricane season on the tropical island, and the crew begins to get stalked by the fisherman that Hewitt’s friends killed in the prequel. Brandy does her best cliché scream queen performance. She runs inconceivably slow, trips and falls, but miraculously never dies. Great job, B Rocka.
In supernatural thriller, Gothika, Oscar winner Halle Berry’s is a psychiatrist in a women’s hospital who one day wakes up and realizes she’s a patient being accused of murdering her husband. Berry becomes close with her former patient, Penelope Cruz, who warns Berry of a ghost in their presence. Come to find out, the ghost Cruz was talking about inhabited Berry’s body to kill her husband because he knew there was corruption going on in the mental hospital. The ghost helps the women escape the asylum and figure out how they ended up there. Cruz and Berry eventually make it out of the hospital alive and start a new life as friends.
Snakes on a Plane (2006)
Good ole Samuel L. Jackson appears again on this list, only this time he survives. As FBI Agent Neville Flynn, Jackson must protect a federal witness and save an airplane overrun by snakes in an attempt to kill said federal witness. Needless to say, he’s a busy man.The first two people to get killed are a couple of earning their Mile High Club membership and other soon follow suit. Sam Jackson manages to make it to the end and gives us the infamous line, “I’m tired of these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!”—which has endless replay value.
When A Stranger Calls (1979)
You probably thought Black people didn’t start surviving horror movies until we entered a “post-racial” America. But back in the late ‘70s, Super Fly’s own Ron O’Neal survived the film in a small role as the former partner to the private eye determined to catch the killer of his two kids. O’Neal gives his former partner some advice, helps in minor ways, but mostly keeps his distance. Call this grasping at straws if you want to, but a Black man surviving a horror film, a blaxploitation actor at that, in 1979 is a huge feat.
The Thing (1982)
Harlem’s own Keith David stars as a minor hero in the unfolding of the its events in cult classic The Thing. The film is about an alien who takes over different organisms’ bodies and imitates them. An Alaskan malamute wandered somewhere it shouldn’t have, and a helicopter was trying to shoot the dog. After a grenade is inadvertently set off and the dog survives, a team of National Science institute researchers adopt the animal. When The Thing embodies the dog, Keith David burns it to death with a flamethrower and the subsequent autopsy reveals what type of creature their fighting. That is until The Thing starts taking over human bodies and causes paranoia within the group of researchers. Welp.