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Why Are We Acting Like Smart, Socially Conscious Horror is Something New?

The horror world, like the box office, is being completely dominated at the moment by Jordan Peele’s Get Out, one of the most critically acclaimed horror films of all time. Countless articles and think-pieces have been making their way around the net in the wake of last weekend’s release, and it’s been really great to see. Even sites and writers who don’t often talk horror can’t help but sing the praises of Get Out, which is without question one of the most impressive debut films we’ve ever seen.

Why is everyone so in love with the movie? Well, for starters, it’s a damn good movie. Go figure. It’s unique, it’s from a fresh perspective, and it’s boldly original, blending elements from the past into something entirely new and, more importantly, something with something to say. Get Out, you could say, is the perfect movie that was released at the perfect time, effectively exorcising some of the social demons that are rearing their ugly head perhaps now more than ever here in America. With his debut feature, Peele sets his sights on racism (particularly the liberal kind that wears a smiling, welcoming face), using the horror genre to tackle heavy subjects like slavery and the appropriation of black culture.

Writers who are admittedly much smarter than I have been digging deep into the layers of meaning behind Get Out all week long here on the net, so my intention isn’t to write another one of those pieces. It’s already been done, and it’s been done way better than I could ever do it. But on a related note, I have taken notice of something interesting that I would like to address.

Ever since Get Out was released, I’ve come across a handful of articles praising the film for being smart and socially conscious, two things that the #1 movie in America most definitely is. But that praise often comes at the expense of, well, the horror genre at large. While complimenting Get Out, many writers (most of whom seem to have been paying little attention to the genre over the years) have been giving the ole backhand to horror in the process, presenting this idea that horror movies never really had any depth or meaning in a pre-Get Out world. Several of these articles have pointed out how dumb horror movies tend to be, and they’ve pondered if Get Out will be paving the way for a new breed of horror film. How novel! GOOD horror movies?!

What’s so frustrating about these articles, as a longtime horror fan, is that social and political commentary has been an inherent aspect of the genre since the very beginning – much to the surprise, apparently, of many horror fans, who have been insisting in the wake of President Trump’s inauguration that politics and horror should be kept separate. The flaw in this way of thinking is that politics and horror have been intertwined from the start; in other words, Get Out isn’t the first of its kind, it’s merely the latest in a long line of great horror films with something important to say.

And Jordan Peele is well aware of that, naming Rosemary’s Baby as a huge influence on his film. Roman Polanski’s classic is, yes, a horror movie about a woman giving birth to the spawn of Satan, but more importantly, it’s an examination of patriarchal oppression of women and, particularly, of their bodies. Well would you look at that. Smart, politically-conscious horror way back in 1968!

Of course, the horror genre’s deepest roots are steeped in political subtext, dating back long before Rosemary gave birth to her baby. Universal’s Dracula, released in 1931, is at its core a film about immigration fears, with the title character himself being a European immigrant. Then there’s Night of the Living Dead, a film that (whether it was George Romero’s original intention or not) completely broke the mold and gave us a black hero fighting off a sea of white attackers – in the end, our black hero is perceived to be the villain by a white man, and he’s shot dead. Romero’s subsequent zombie films were very much intentionally loaded with social commentary; Dawn of the Dead was nothing if not a satire of consumer culture. So too was John Carpenter’s They Live, perhaps the most effective deconstruction of consumerism and media manipulation in cinema history.

The list goes on and on, but the point here is that most of our favorite horror movies, whether we initially even realized it or not, have more going on beneath the surface than above it. Subtext, whether directly on the nose or a bit less obvious, is what has always made great horror movies great – you can choose to explore it or ignore it, that’s your prerogative, but to outright deny it’s even there is to do a huge disservice to literally the entire history of the genre we all love so much. This is nothing new, and that’s true even if you’ve only been watching horror for the past 10 or 20 years.

Films like Saw and Hostel were labeled “torture porn” by the genre’s detractors, but the two franchises are not without their own social commentary. Hostel is a film about the rich literally buying the poor and doing with them whatever they please, and though Saw may be a franchise that’s all about blood, guts, and creative dismemberment, there’s a bit more going on than most will ever give it credit for. Saw VI, for example, addressed the problems with healthcare in America – it may be ham-fisted and probably didn’t resonate for most viewers, but it’s present in the material all the same.

And then there’s The Purge franchise, which has consistently made it a point to show how much the annual event favors the rich over the poor; more than anything, it’s a way for the rich to eradicate the poor. The futuristic concept, launched a full four years before Get Out, uses the horror genre to start those important discussions and make those observations about the real world we live in every day. And really, at the end of the day, that’s what both the horror and sci-fi genres have always been about.

While I agree that horror movies with something to say are on the rise at the moment, and will likely continue to become more prevalent in our current political climate (The Purge: Election Year, released last year, was already a direct response to what was coming), the reality is that horror has long been at the forefront of social and political change. Filmmakers like Jordan Peele understand that the freedom provided by the genre allows for those issues to be tackled – and really, what better way to tackle our collective societal fears than with the one genre that thrives on our… fears?

Get Out is one of the most important horror films of my lifetime, but what it isn’t is an example of horror finally smartening up, as some would lead you to believe. Rather, it’s yet another great example of what has always made horror the most interesting, important, and socially-relevant genre of them all. If you track the history of the genre, you’ll notice that the best horror always comes around when the world is experiencing political and/or social strife, and I assure you that nothing about that is a coincidence.

That’s just horror doing what horror does best. What it has ALWAYS done best.



  • Ocelot006 .

    More jizzing over Get Out’s ‘social commentary’ without actually discussing it. People seem to just be more excited by the term than actually discussing it. ‘Social commentary! Social commentary! Social commentary!’

    • Michael Huxel

      Well, gee. At the very beginning of the article it WAS mentioned that this wasn’t meant to dissect the movie, merely show how other movies over the years have done the same with their material as Peele did with his. Maybe read next time before complaining just to complain?

      • Abandoned_Being

        Noticing his last several comments on different articles. Complaining is all he does.

      • KSE1977

        In his defense he was pointing out that it was yet another article discussing the social commentary that exists in Get Out, without actually discussing it. Valid point. Still when they actually do have a well-written piece here, it sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.

    • Munchie

      So the sequel will be called Jizz Out, yeah?

  • Mace Elliott

    Jaws was great commentary about the eco system and boats. I’m really proud of myself for seeing this.

  • dukeblues

    Social commentary is up there with Social Justice Warrior. Who cares about either? Not me

    • Social commentary is in every single thing you have ever enjoyed. Odds are you just weren’t smart enough to notice, which isn’t surprising given your comment.

      • KSE1977

        Every single thing? This I would doubt, as some porn seems like porn for the sake of porn. Certainly in enough stuff that I see and read these days though 🙂 Not sure you needed to attack the guy

        • HarryWarden

          LOL, “porn seems like porn.”

  • Cappy Tally

    Well said. Too bad some folks have their heads too far up their asses to notice things like this, whether they’re journalists ignorant of the genre and its history or supposed fans of the genre who act like complete hypocrites. I see way too many “fans” of horror hating on new films that do this kind of thing (usually because the messages imparted don’t jive with their own political views) while excusing or ignoring classic favorites which engage in the exact same kind of discourse.

  • Samuel Finney

    good read

  • sailor monsoon

    …the list goes on and on…
    After you listed 2 films that are almost 50 years old.

    • Carlton Fisher

      The Purge films, the Saw franchise, and Hostel are almost 50 years old? My….how time flies.

      • sailor monsoon

        I’ll give you the first hostel but saw and purge are not smart social commentary

        • Carlton Fisher

          You said there were two films listed in the article and they were both almost 50 years old. I read the rest of the article for you.

          • sailor monsoon

            So 5 films in 50 years constitutes a list that goes on and on?

          • Carlton Fisher

            It’s an editorial. You want the entire list? If you feel there is no social relevance within horror films, then you just don’t see it, but that’s more your own issue than it is an issue with the industry.

          • sailor monsoon

            I’m not saying there’s not social relevance in horror film today or even in the past
            I’m just pointing out what a lazy job this article does in proving that fact

          • Carlton Fisher

            The article offered examples from three of the most popular franchises since the turn of the century. It isn’t meant to be an exhaustive think piece–it’s meant to be a simple editorial. If we were going to cover the issue in detail, it would be a book. Probably several volumes. Not an internet editorial.

  • PMD2

    For most the claim isn’t that socially conscious horror is new, but that it’s been missing from the genre for a long time, especially major studio horror. Peele said as much in interviews about the film.

  • Rafael Fernandez

    About “horror is the most…socially-relevant genre”. I think Sci-Fi does it better, but is less popular. Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, Idiocracy, etc…

    While I understand why Mr. Peele holds the worldview he does, I greatly disagree with it. But I’m looking forward to seeing a well-made piece of entertainment.

  • Charles Cumella

    I have to watch this thing, I do always appreciate a good horror movie with some depth to it. People do usually trash on Horror, and it’s not fair at all, obviously there are some brainless gorefests out there (which I love) but people other than horror fans must realize that there’s a deeper meaning to things that what’s on the surface. If they can believe dramatic or even comedic movies can have a meaningful subtext, why can’t horror?! People are too straight-foward sometimes and don’t get the message when it’s right in their face, they want it to be spelled out for them, but that takes away from the fun of movie making and viewing. Let’s hope more movies come out with something to say, especially now when the world needs it!

    • Creepshow

      Go…see…it! From what you said, you’ll definitely enjoy it.

    • J.Ryall

      no,the world doesnt need more politics leaking into entertainment.
      normal people are sick and tired of it.

      • REC03

        Based off the box office numbers apparently not.

        • J.Ryall

          implying that people(at least the majority) go to movie theaters to actually watch movies,yes,you’re correct.

      • Chris Mosher

        Speak for yourself, there’s more than enough “fun” movies coming from Marvel and Michael Bay.

        I personally am tired of movies pandering to the lowest common denominator

        • J.Ryall

          now youre taking it too far.
          Marvel and Michael Bay related stuff are dumb,not funny.
          movies can be good and interesting without being political,that’s my point.

          • Chris Mosher

            You assume I don’t like Marvel or Michael Bay. I enjoy those movies but I also enjoy don’t want everything to be that way like we have right now. One or two socially minded horror films won’t the stop our current flood of uninspired blockbusters.

          • HarryWarden

            It could lead to changing a franchise. I, for one, don’t need nor want a socially conscious Friday the 13th movie.

          • Chris Mosher

            I can’t say i share your fears. I didn’t like the most recent 13th films and I don’t have much faith that the next film that has been in and out of production will any better.
            Honestly, I would be happy if we just laid Meyers, Voorhees and Kruger to bed for a few decades. I would much rather see completely new idea from Peele or someone else then another sequel.

      • Jada Maes

        What is your definition of “normal people”? Just out of curiosity.

        • J.Ryall

          those who don’t overthink and/or overreact entertainment products,in this context.

          • Jada Maes

            Nothing wrong with keeping the brain gears turning. We stop thinking, we stop being.

          • lucoca

            Ah, but he is right… Entertainment products exist only to entertain and nothing else. To distract “normal people” from this horrible reality they have created for themselves. I don’t think they want to do anything about it anyway, so why include it in their products. Everything should be reality-free.

          • Jada Maes

            Wasn’t that called The Matrix?

          • Creepshow

            Haha! Well played.

          • Politics are the #1 thing affecting everyone’s life, all of the time. If you want entertainment without politics, you have PLENTY of options, but movies made by people living in our world are going to be about things that affect people in our world. Why don’t you just stop being a child about it?

          • J.Ryall

            stop pretending you’re smart calling me a child

      • KSE1977

        Its a tight rope for sure. Folks are right in that politics and/or social commentary seems to exist in nearly all forms of media/entertainment. I accept this for what it is. I don’t mind stories from sites like this that get into these issues, when the topic fits, such as this. I do get annoyed when this site injects its politics into articles needlessly. Having said that, this is also my opinion and subjective.

        I have stopped going to some tech sites and video games sites as they decided to get all preachy and activist.

        • HarryWarden

          Tech sites are really guilty of this.

  • Fred Hopkins

    Movie was just ok to me. Predictable ending. Predictably left open for sequels in multiple directions. Nothing really ground breaking or refreshing in this movie.

    • Creepshow

      “Predictably left open for sequels in multiple directions”? You just made that up.

      • Fred Hopkins

        Would you like me to describe each possible sequel that could be made from this movie?

        • Creepshow

          Please no. Because then I’d have to hear more of your made up stuff. Don’t put the picture in people’s heads that this film is left wide open for sequels. It’s not.

          • Fred Hopkins

            Then you could never be a movie writer.

          • Creepshow

            Oh no! Now my dreams are smashed. : (

          • Fred Hopkins

            Oh I’m sure you dreams of getting smashed by male Hollywood stars are still intact.

          • Creepshow

            Good talk Freddy. Best of luck making sense in the future.

          • Fred Hopkins

            In other words smash mean sex and I am saying you prefer sex with male Hollywood stars. This is your dream.

          • Creepshow

            Stop making your dog eat peanut butter out of your ass.

          • Fred Hopkins

            How is that even possible? It seems you have given this a lot of thought. Tell us your other odd behaviors like wanting to smash male Hollywood stars.

          • ScriptGiverrrr

            Apparently wanting to have sex with other men is a major insult to this guy. He’s every cliche rolled up into one crusty sock.

  • Carlton Fisher

    The problem is not that horror is/has been stupid. The problem is that the people who declare it stupid either 1) don’t bother watching it and have no idea what they are talking about, or 2) are too stupid to figure out the intelligent social commentary that’s been there all along.

  • Istuzu

    Some great films of the last couple of years with something to say;
    Eat – excellent commentary on the way women are valued by their age and appearance and the effects. Excess flesh also fits here nicely.
    Starry Eyes – trying to be a woman in an male dominated industry.
    Found- impacts of domestic violence
    Even Human Centipede 2 has the subtext of what can happen to abused and neglected people.
    Horror is the vehicle, not the message….

  • Jeremie Jayzik

    Fuck the haters. This is a GOOD article.

  • Roberto Rojas Balarezo

    what about green room, white supremacist against liberals, doesn´t come more political than that

    • Creepshow

      There was no political message or point trying to be made in Green Room. The setting just happened to be a skinhead bar.

  • Joe Smith

    Totally agree with this article! I also thought it was a good movie but it would be nowhere near a list of my favorite horror movies.

  • Jada Maes

    For some reason the mainstream critics and audiences take issue with the notion of brutal honesty in art. The political messages in horror are usually front and center (if wearing a fright mask and black robes for effect). Ironically, they don’t seem to appreciate subtlety either; Scream became a runaway hit because filmgoers hadn’t really been scared in a while, not because of its dissection of slasher flicks in general, and thus turned into what it was making fun of.

    • KSE1977

      An interesting point. I am not certain how you prove or disprove it at this point, but I never looked at it in that way. I came for the scares and appreciated the dissection at the same time. Then again I was appreciably younger when I saw it.

      • Jada Maes

        We’re lucky there’s always folks who can appreciate the kills but still look at the gears turning under the surface 🙂

  • The_Gentleman

    It’s partly the genre’s fault. For every Get Out or NOTLD we get 10 Bye Bye Mans or needless reboots/sequels. When you send out that much utter nonsense into the world, and even worse when horror fans eat it up, you’re bound to get looked down on. The good stuff is few and far between. I’m a far more discerning horror fan than most so I’m more critical. Besides, real fans of cinema, as well as critics and students, know the classics and what they mean. The recognize the social content. Get Out is getting praise because it’s the first big, wide release in a while that has something to say. The Conjuring 2 was a hit, too, but was as empty as a bucket. Good points made in the article but nothing to get defensive about, really. Just enjoy the moment because Logan is coming.

    • Interesting you mention The Bye Bye Man as it explores similar racial territory as Get Out.

      • HarryWarden

        It did?

        • There’s a lot going on above and below the surface of that film about how white people view black bodies.

  • Jack Derwent

    Going to take a wild guess and say it’s because the commentary in ‘Get Out’ is clear even before you see the movie and it came out right when race was an incredibly hot topic in America. And because most of the critics making comments like that are probably ignorant that films like ‘The Babadook’ exist.

  • Southernholiday

    Because the social commentary is neither smart (the film itself maybe) nor socially conscious. It’s not even a risky topic. The director has nothing to lose because this subject is totally acceptable. Make a movie with the reverse subject matter then you will have accurate, risky social commentary.

    • What are you saying here, exactly? That white people are systematically oppressed by black people? Where? When? How? No that would not be accurate commentary. It would be pandering to a fantasy you apparently live in.

      • KSE1977

        Pretty sure he is saying that if you reversed the concept it would have been more edgy. To an extent I suppose he is right. It is not a matter of white people being systemically oppressed, but rather that so many in society already see things the way that they were portrayed in the movie. So mixing it up would have been a little edgier and stirred the pot more. While certainly what was presented will make some uncomfortable, others see what they already see reflected to some extent in our society.

        In 2017, I would argue that the subject matter is not necessarily edgy or new. Certainly relevant and surprising in that it hasn’t been done in this way before. I think it is also great to see more diverse voices in horror making movies that appeal to all audiences.

      • Southernholiday

        There is no systematic oppression of blacks by white people. It may have been the case 60 years ago, but it is not today. Also have you looked at all the attacks by blacks on whites, and how major media outlets do all they can to place the blame somewhere else? When you have major institutions covering for black criminality that’s..Wait for it…Institutional.

        As for white supremacists taking control, who are the groups storming the streets attacking regular people on their way to work? It’s Antifa and similar groups who are violent, anti-white, rioters, not the Alt-Right or the klan.

        • Blade4693

          ” There is no systematic oppression of blacks by white people. It may have been the case 60 years ago, but it is not today. ”

          So the residual effects of all those years of systematic oppression just magically vanished in a mere 60 years? Be honest, you know that is not true.

          • Southernholiday

            Yes considering the systematic oppression wasn’t constant, the opportunities available today and the fact that it’s been at least a half a century. I would bring out the personal responsibility angle, but I have a feeling we differ greatly on ideas of inherent guilt.

          • HarryWarden

            Not to mention all the benefits one gets just for being black or another “minority” such as cheaper college education, preferential hiring practices, the list goes on.

        • Kabukiman2337

          “There is no systematic oppression of blacks by white people. It may have been the case 60 years ago, but it is not today.”

          Thanks for saying that first so that I don’t have to bother with the rest of your post, seeing as you have no connection to reality.

        • 60 years ago? Segregation only fully ended fifty years ago, interracial marriage legalized a few years after that, and the most common age of our politicians in congress is 50-64 years with many older than that. Our country is run by people who grew up still remembering these things, still affected by them, still fighting over them. You are utterly deluded if you think society is already past it.

          Everything else you talk about is alt-right conspiracy theory. You have been pumped full of neoconservative kool aid with their hand right up your ass it would seem, since objective, factual research disagrees with your every last statement.

          Anti fascist protests aren’t even as violent as goddamn sports fan rallies when they lose…or even when they win.

          And how else do you stop fascism, exactly? Fascism by definition is pro-violence, it exists to oppress and harm people. There is no peaceful defense against it. There can never be.

          • Southernholiday

            Dude you are all mixed up. Am I Alt-Right, or a neoconservative puppet? I ask this because there is a huge difference, and the fact that you can confuse these two shows how little you know on the topic. Nothing you have presented provides any evidence of systematic oppression. So senators from the civil rights era haven’t changed and are either fighting for Civil Rights, which may actually be the case for John Lewis, or are guilty or racism because they are from that era? That’s an insane theory on your part.

            I hate to break it to you, but the so called fascist aren’t the violent ones. The violent ones are the Marxist, anti-fascists who tend to show up and incite violence even when their object of scorn is the furthest thing from a fascist. Try again, snowflake.

  • aFriendlyAgenda

    “Even sites and writers who don’t often talk horror can’t help but sing the praises of Get Out,”

    The same people who dont like Sci-Fi or car flicks but couldn’t stop gushing over fury road?

    “particularly the liberal kind that wears a smiling, welcoming face”

    The type who would be too smugly arrogant to notice that the movie is about them?

    It sounds interesting, I’d like to see it
    More diversity in hollywood would be a beautiful thing

    But I want to see diversity through their own eyes, not after its been vetted and approved through the eyes of White liberals

  • Lady Bathory

    Very interesting article! And true as far as I’m concerned. The horror genre and its fans aren’t being taken seriously at all and no one who’s unfamiliar with horror can imagine the genre contributing anything to social or political discourse.
    I mean how many times have you guys heard “Ah yeah..horror films, he?! Do you have violent fantasies you have to realise through the protagonists?” I have countless times.

    For me, horror implies social commentary more than ANY other genre, which can also be attributed to its many sub-genres. The problem is that (and Trump made me hate that term but I have to use it here) mainstream media and critics usually have no clue about horror films and don’t give them a chance. The examples mentioned in this article are bursting with social and political issues and commentary, but only horror fans know this.

    What I like about Get Out is, while the general direction was kinda obvious, it wasn’t advertised like “If you don’t like this film, you’re racist!” (*cough* Ghostbusters…) but simply as a new, innovative horror film. It’s really funny how people who have been giving horror films and fans a hard time now act as if they discovered a whole new genre xD like “Believe me, this HORROR or however you call it will be big some day” xD

  • James Allard

    “It should not be a secret, but apparently is, that as an officially despised and generally low-budget phenomenon, the horror film is free to be politically subversive, psychologically daring, and artistically outrageous.” – Bruce Kawin

    Required reading:

    Good article. Maybe some of the critiques posted here by the staff can lean more towards that…

    • Mark Doubt

      so much THIS ^^^

  • Prince Of Darkness

    Whether this film is good or bad, some of us like to watch horror movies just to unwind and escape reality. If I want to see an unfairly persecuted, forever victimized by whitey, can’t ever get a break in life, black man story I’ll watch any media news show. Just as I’m sure American Horror Story fans were really sitting around saying that they really wish to see this election thing play out again with a Ryan Murphy gay camp spin. George Romeros Night of the Living Dead did touch upon racism in a clever and creative way, but the real horror show was seeing hundreds of black kids riot and flash mob Monroeville Mall where his Dawn of the Dead was filmed a year or two ago. fantasy vs reality – which is the real horror show?

    • HarryWarden

      Yup, this pandered to the liberal media hence its unwarranted critical reception/RottenTomatoes score.

  • ArmitageX

    THANK YOU!!!

  • Chris Risdal

    I don’t think its so much that it’s a new thing, but an increasingly rare thing for horror. I’m not one to be so picky with the genre don’t get me wrong. I love me some splatter as much as cerebral but I wish more horror like this would reach theaters rather than ‘Saw: Legacy’ and even ‘Friday the 13th’ as much of a fan as I am.

  • Chance LeBoeuf

    Well, the only ones acting like this concept is new and refreshing are people who apparently have been living under a rock most of their lives because social issues and entertainment have always gone hand in hand.

    However, Get Out is getting praise for not only being a good horror movie, but doing its commentary right and focusing on something that not many films ever touch upon. See, the film industry actually kinda likes making movies about this stuff, but Get Out is the first I’ve seen to plant its flag in a more socially relevant, and often overlooked aspect of it that most people don’t consider.

  • Nicolas Jauvin-O’Rourke

    Saying Hostel is about the rich controlling the poor and that it’s a commentary on our society is a clear example of people like you digging and finding symbolism where there isn’t any. Hostel is about sadistic people paying to see people killed and tortured. It’s not social commentary, it’s a horror movie. I haven’t seen Get Out so I can’t comment on it, but it seems like you’re digging for things that aren’t there. There have been way more shitty horror movies recently than good ones honestly

    • Db

      No. It’s literally about rich people buying other people to do whatever they want with them. It’s actually exactly what happens in the movie. It’s not like you have to stretch anything to see the symbolism.

    • wzard999

      I would argue that symbolism exists anywhere one constructs it; and it’s particularly prominent within creative arts where subjectivity is a such a heavily weighted category of dissection. You see, it’s all a matter of perception. In this particular case, however, the ‘hive mind’ – which happens to be so predisposed with the gamut of pigmentation in human skin (race, ethnicity, nationality, category here, etc.) – simply associates one heavily weighted external influence with another (movie), spawning a generally consensual perception of some symbolic feature in the process. In other words, the context or environment within which any piece of art is released has an immense affect on the digestion of the said piece. And if we could release “Get Out” in a vacuum that is totally devoid of social constructs, then perhaps one might associate the movie with astrophysics instead, finding symbolism in the relationship between traveling light upon a theater screen and traveling light within the cosmos. Then again, just ask a child – who’s probably more concerned with ice cream flavors – what he or she thinks of the movie.

    • Warbaby

      From an interview with Eli Roth (

      What about Hostel?

      E.R.: Look, I just want to scare you. But maybe you watch it a
      second time and you see that all the stuff the American backpackers are
      saying about Amsterdam hookers in the beginning of the movie could be
      said about the Americans at the
      end. That this slaughterhouse they end up in is a demented version of
      Amsterdam’s brothels and the movie’s really about exploitation.

      Is that why it’s so scary?

      E.R.: I was really just thinking about how terrifying those Al Qaeda videos are—that idea that no matter what you say, they’re still going to torture and kill you. And I thought, Wouldn’t it be more terrifying if it wasn’t a political act
      but a sexual act? Like those Americans paying for a hooker in Amsterdam.
      Now, if you want to argue that the writer and director of the movie doesn’t know what he put in his own fucking movie, have at it… But, It’s not difficult to see the turnabout in the movie itself. I don’t see how he could have spoon-fed you the commentary any more than he did.

      Just because it flew over your head doesn’t mean it wasn’t there.

  • John Master

    This movie is not smart, nor is it socially conscious. Its mainstream propaganda. Portraying white people as evil slave owners. If we were still in Jim Crowe days this would be a daring venture. There’s nothing daring about this in 2017. Black people dominate pop culture. Sports, Tv, movies, music, so this is kind of stupid to pretend white people are still oppressing black people in modern times.

    • HarryWarden

      Not to mention one was just president for as long as one can be president yet they’re apparently still “opressed.” What a bunch of horseshit

      • Mark Doubt

        I think the key word there is “one”. There has been ONE Black President of the United States of America, in all of its “rich” history.

        Meanwhile, young black men are still routinely shot dead by police, black women hounded and stalked online for nothing more than having an opinion, 27% of all African American men, women and children live below the poverty line compared to 9.9% of their white counterparts (and 45% of all black children, compared to 14.5% of white children).

        To suggest that there is parity between ethnic demographics in the US (or anywhere else for that matter) is a prime example of another word you used – horseshit.

        • John Master

          Statistically more white people are killed by police on average than black people are. Look it up if you don’t believe it. Black people are killed too yes, but the reason you hear about it more is because everytime it happens there’s a riot or a calling for more dead cops. I am white and I grew up poor below the poverty line but once I became an adult I got my act together and got a job and worked my way up. I am doing ok now because I worked for it. Jobs are available out there for young black men, maybe someone can explain to me why they choose to stay in the ghetto and join gangs. We all have a choice at the end of the day.

        • Southernholiday

          “Meanwhile, young black men are still routinely shot dead by police, black women hounded and stalked online for nothing more than having an opinion, 27% of all African American men, women and children live below the poverty line compared to 9.9% of their white counterparts (and 45% of all black children, compared to 14.5% of white children).”

          You conveniently left out black on black violence (it’s far more threatening to blacks than police violence or imaginary, racist, white towns trying to abduct or kill black people), black on white crime, and the black crime rate in general. In short nothing you said provides any evidence of actual racism. A lack of parity in outcome doesn’t mean it is caused by racism. In other words you are the one spewing horseshit.

        • F. This

          There is a problem, and it does need to be addressed, about the degradation of African American families. I fully agree with you on that front but most white people are not to blame for it.

        • Prince Of Darkness

          The biggest threat to black men are not police officers or racist white people, it’s other black males.

      • John Master

        Yes, and millions of white people voted for him. Both times, so the whole unfair bs is getting old.

      • F. This

        Politic on horror forms is disheartening but…More so, what about the hundreds of thousands of Union Soldiers (mostly comprised of white men…mostly. I had to make the newt reference and I’m not sorry about it!) who died freeing the slaves?!?

    • redeyedjedi410

      ??????? Last name Master too lol

      • John Master

        Is my name offensive lol. I didn’t pick it, came with birth.

        • redeyedjedi410

          Just a funny coincidence lol.

          I think you missed the point of the movie. It was speaking on the fact that black people CAN be such a big part of this country’s culture yet we’re still treated like commodities, oddities and second class citizens. It was about how black culture is thriving in white america while black people themselves rarely ever can because of the racism that still exist, just in different tones and forms. The fact that you hopped to “sports…pop culture…etc.” clearly shows the problem. We get shit on for our culture unless some white people appropriate it and then it’s the bees knees while we’re sitting over here like “…but we’ve BEEN doing that and you’ve BEEN shitting on us for it…” The average person will never be an athlete, musician or politician, so saying “but look at those black people” doesn’t show anything. It’s not really progress, race issues have been stuck in a loop. Jim Crow just changed his name and image.

          • John Master

            I am a bit confused by what you said about black culture is thriving but black people are still held down by racism. Shouldn’t that show that black people are getting a fair shake? I know there are still individual cases of racism that exist in the world. It exists on all sides both black and white. But as far as institutional racism I don’t see it. We have affirmative action to basically shut down any kind of bs like that. If someone can show me statistics for institutional racism I will stand along side you and fight racism but I haven’t been able to find anything like that. I only used sports, pop, culture, and music as an example. I wasn’t shitting on it or trying to make it sound bad. I see no problem at all with it. In fact it helps support my claim so thumbs up. I see the term white privilege thrown around a lot these days but here’s the text book definition of privilege. “A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people” What right, advantage, or immunity do white people have that other races don’t? I certainly didn’t have any privilege when I grew up with nothing except the clothes on my back. That’s why this shit bugs me.

          • redeyedjedi410

            I meant that black culture is thriving yet black people are rarely the ones ever profiting from the exploitation of it. Hip-Hop, for example, wouldn’t exist without black people because it was birthed from our culture and some collective experiences. But today, hip-hop is the one of the most influential and profitable genres of music yet you still have black people that can’t get jobs because of their name or hair. You still have people doubting someones capability, status, intelligence etc. simply because of the way they look. You have hip-hop artist being used to push products, lifestyles and agendas that are not birthed from black culture or black people. The fact that rappers can be attacked for their violent subject matter yet the main people who listen to the music are white shows this. The fact that fashion magazines have complimented black attributes/styles when they’re on someone who’s not black but condemn those same features when they’re on a person of color shows this.

            And the whole thing about looking for statistics is cool, but the way that racism has progressed makes it look like it doesn’t exist in the first place. But the prison industrial complex that puts mainly oppressed, poor people of color in jail is just a modern slave system. The same laws that exist for, apparently, ALL Americans are constantly manipulated in ways that benefit those in power (rich, white folks) and fuck over nearly everyone else, but ESPECIALLY poor, black folks. Hell, if we do the SAME EXACT CRIME and the SAME EXACT COP shows up we’ll still be treated differently depending on the color of our skin, the location, and our wealth/status. But systems are in place that constantly limit my location, wealth and status simply BECAUSE of my skin color.

            This country was built off of racism, genocide and manipulating the masses to put power and money in the hands of few. They’ve just found more modern ways to keep all that shit going. Institutional racism is still around, I can’t make you see it if you’re convinced it doesn’t exist though. I’m just saying, as a person of color, who knows many people of color, I can assure you, things are not all “fair” despite the fact that it may look that way from the outside.

            Don’t get me wrong, I wish things were actually as good as the appear to be, but when there are still people trying to bury the past and say it doesn’t have any effect on the present it’s almost impossible to actually progress.

            You really want to help fight racism? Acknowledge it exist. Don’t take it as “they’re all complaining when last time I checked slavery was over and we just had a black president.” The shit is very much alive, and if you can’t see it, it’s because you don’t want to, or you are actively pushing it (it doesn’t seem like you are though).

          • John Master

            That works both ways when it comes to appearance trying to get a job. If I a white guy goes in for a job interview with hair down to his ass then there’s a likely chance he isn’t getting the job. It works both ways. I understand 100% what you mean about hip hop being pushed as an agenda to promote a certain culture of violence and so fourth. Rappers who try to promote living a good lifestyle without violence generally get ignored or pushed to the side. The thing about poor black people being in prison is yea there are a lot, but you can’t tell me that they are all innocent man. I can accept that yea there are probably some people in there who are there unjustified. But not all are innocent, crimes were committed. I have been harassed by the cops too man, its not just black people who get harassed. Racism was a big factor a long time ago, but we had the civil war and thousands of white men fought and died to free the slaves. That’s also a big part of history. That never gets brought up though. Also I never said racism didn’t exist, I said earlier that it does exist in individual cases, but institutionally speaking black people aren’t denied any rights based on just being black is what I am saying. We live in an ugly world I realize that. If a black guy goes walking through an all white town I don’t doubt that he is going to get some funny looks. But that argument works the same way on the other side. If a white guy goes strolling through a black neighborhood he probably isn’t going to feel safe. I guess in closing what I think about movies like this is its designed to stir up controversy between black and white people. The powers that be are afraid of unity. There’s no money to be made and nothing for them to gain if we unite and drop the labels of black man and white man. I am rambling a bit but thanks for keeping the conversation civil and not getting into name calling, I hate when people do that.

          • redeyedjedi410

            The hair thing, I get what you’re saying. But in the same token, you can change your hair, gender and basically your entire appearance these days but you cant change your skin color. And of course there are guilty people in prison, but some of the laws that put them there are meant to do just that. There are some laws that do nothing to protect people, which is what people are taught they’re for in the first place. I agree with some of what you’re saying man. I never have the “us vs. them” mentality (unless us = the 99% or whatever you want to call us), but if you think a movie or anything alone is the cause of it you’re missing the point. The whole cause is white supremacy and it’s continuing effects on all of us. Ignoring that wont help, and these type of things aren’t meant to stir up controversy (some stuff is, I’ll admit) but just bring awareness to the situation because in the end, no movie, song, poem or any damn thing is going to change how shit is, WE have to do it ourselves, collectively. If we understand it, we can take steps to doing so, but a lot of people don’t like looking into it because, like you said, it’s a ugly, ugly world and subject.

            I agree, we need to unite but I think the only way we can is by truly looking at what’s happened, what’s going on and not being afraid to challenge and change it at every turn possible. Get Out was just a film that took how it really feels being black in certain situations and parts of this country and exaggerated it into a fantastic thriller. My bad for rambling too, but it was a good, civil debate thankfully lol.

          • John Master

            Also white people don’t shit on black culture. If anything they embrace it. Anytime I ride by teenage white kids they are blaring rap music in their cars. That’s all the tv stations like MTV play is rap or hip hop. I don’t know how much more you want black culture embraced. Its already embraced full capacity. Give me an example of how you are being held down?

  • Mark Doubt

    Get Out is a smart and daring movie, offering a mainstream voice to subjugated and threatened minorities at a time when they seem to need it more than ever. That it also dares to offend liberal white sensibilities by pointing a finger at those who consider themselves to be so progressive while still recycling and propagating the same stereotypes that can be as harmful as any bullet…I say bravo to the film and to Jordan Peele for that.

    The idea that it is such a surprise to mainstream media that horror might produce such a thing as a smart social commentary…well, that’s kind of a running joke, isn’t it? That horror actually does this year in, year out, and every time it does, it’s as though it never happened before. But one of the reasons horror can do this, time and again, is that it doesn’t get the same attention and pressure of other genres. If it did, we would never have been able to enjoy such delights as the Val Lewton produced macabre melodramas of the 1940s, the refreshingly matter-of-fact depiction of an LGBT character in Robert Wise’s 1963 The Haunting, or the commentary on white settlers invading and desecrating Australia depicted in Long Weekend, Walkabout and Picnic at Hanging Rock in the 1970s.

    I tend to be happy that the horror genre isn’t routinely celebrated and ‘recognised’ in the mainstream, because it allows the genre’s creatives to continue to push the boundaries of social commentary in film further and further without having Big Brother producers telling them NO. If things weren’t this way, every horror film released would be Insidious or The Conjuring (and no, I have no problem with either film, I use them only as mainstream examples to illustrate a point). This ultimately benefits us, the horror community, and the wider world when it does get to see a movie that makes it think.

    A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
    Under the Shadow
    Get Out

    Just three, independently produced genre films in the last 3-4 years that have not only been fantastically well-received but have set minds and tongues into motion for all the right reasons. The articel writer correctly mentions the Purge movies (although I for one think their message is a fairly shallow one, not fully realized), and older films such as Night of the Living Dead. In recent years we’ve also had the New French Extremity movement offering a philosophical commentary alongside buckets of blood and gore…hell, even neo-slasher All The Boys Love Mandy Lane can be read as a parable for the pointless chase of “The American Dream”.

    Those of us that love our genre know this. We understand and appreciate the gems of filmmaking and all their layers that come our way. That some break through to garner mainstream attention is great. And of course, for every Get Out or Under the Shadow we have a million Paranormal Activity movies, Insidious sequels and generic remakes, so in a way, the mainstream is correct in its assumptions that a lot of horror has no real social value.

    My advice? Let sleeping dogs lie. That way, we get to have our cake and eat it.

  • F. This

    “but more importantly, it’s an examination of patriarchal oppression of women and, particularly, of their bodies.”…you know is was directed by a guy who hard raped a 14 year old girl, then fled the country to escape prison, right?

    • Jeff

      I recently rewatched this movie in preparation for XX and was struck by it in a completely different direction than the first time I watched it. Yes, he is a terrible person who destroyed a young woman’s life (I am not about to be a rape apologist here a la Whoopi Goldberg). However, it doesn’t deny Rosemary’s Baby its power and what it is saying. Whether Polanski agrees with the movie’s message or not, it’s still (its staying power actually doesn’t come from it’s most “horror” elements) an important piece of cinema about how easily/horrifically society can gaslight a woman and more importantly how easily the entire structure of that society from Rosemary to everyone else can not only allow that to happen but also work to maintain those mechanisms.

  • Jeff

    Well this article sure brought out a bunch of negativity didn’t it? It must be exhausting to be this angry and defensive every time you come across an article you disagree with.

    And to everyone that says that blacks are no longer discriminated against and have every single opportunity afforded to whites, I’m not going to quote any statistics at you, but just because we no longer have laws that specifically spell out race segregation as a matter of law, we still have many laws in place and structures in place that specifically target groups of people (whether they be blacks, poor whites, etc) with all the same precision as spelling it out. The power structure is still in place to maintain the status quo of the 1950s whether you have it literally spelled out or not.

    Lastly, for people that claim that blacks have achieved equality to whites in every way such that they have no problems and anyone complaining is ridiculous, just look at your own visceral reactions to the subject even being brought up and tell me that’s still true. Equality/preventing discrimination isn’t a zero sum game. Nobody is taking anything from you except the people who want you to mindlessly dislike others based on the others’ perceived benefits.

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