The 16 Scariest Black Horror Story Characters
Everyone has seen the classic horror film where the token Black person — specifically the Black guy — dies first. But black characters aren’t always the victims in horror flicks, sometimes they are the villain or monster — usually in blaxploitation horror or urbanized horror films where the monster is getting revenge on those who wronged him or her.
Here we compiled a list of the 16 best Black horror story characters among African American cinema’s greatest vampires, monsters, ghosts, demons and Satan himself.
He’s the grandfather of Black movie monsters. “Blacula” started blaxploitation films’ diving into the horror genre with re-tellings of popular movie monsters with African-American themes — usually depicting the brutality of racism and struggles of living while black in America with terrifying twists. Many movies to come would try to copy the success of William Marshall’s Blacula. The horror flick is about an African prince in 1780 who is bitten and turned into a vampire, Blacula, by Dracula after he asked him for his help in stopping the slave trade. He awakens centuries later in the 1970s. He finds himself terrorizing LA and finding a woman who looks like the reincarnation of his wife.
In this campy re-telling of Frankenstein, a Vietnam veteran named Eddie (Joe De Sue) loses his limbs in war. A surgeon plans to give him new limbs, but his jealous assistant interrupts this process — injecting him with something that causes DNA altercation. He turns into a huge monster — out to find victims to eat every night. The film tried to copy the success of “Blacula,” but it couldn’t be replicated.
Ganja & Hess (1973)
Dr. Hess Green (Duane Jones, “Night of the Living Dead”) plays an archeologist who studies ancient African tribes. His mentally-unstable assistant George Meda (Bill Gunn) stabs him with a germ-infested dagger and he becomes a vampire and feeds off of Meda’s body. Meda’s wife Ganja (Marlene Clark) comes into town looking for her husband and she becomes a vampire too and re-marries Hess. The studio wanted to go in the “Blacula” direction, but Gunn made the film to focus on the power of addiction more than any other vampire film. “Ganja & Hess” was a critically-acclaimed success at Cannes and eventually was restored to original cut after it was panned by many White critics for being unconventional.
Abby (The Blackorxist) (1974)
“Abby” is considered a campy rip-off of “The Exorcist,” which was originally to be called “The Blackorxist.” The film is about a woman named Abby (Carol Speed) — a marriage counselor — who becomes possessed by a demon of sexuality. This happens after her father-in-law (William Marshall) — an exorcist — freed it in Africa. Now he must perform an African exorcism on her. The film’s producers were sued and the film was yanked from theaters thanks to Warner Bros. Very few prints of it exist today, but the film has re-emerged.
Sugar Hill (1974)
In this film, Sugar Hill‘s (Marki Key) boyfriend is murdered and she gets her revenge on the White gangsters terrorizing her neighborhood with the help of voodoo queen Mama Maitresse and The Dark Master Baron Zamedi in exchange for her soul. She’s given an army of zombies to provide gruesome deaths to the gangsters.
Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde (1976)
Dr. Pryde (Bernie Casey) is a scientist who creates a formula to save dying liver cells. He tests the formula on himself and creates an albino monstrous personality which turns him into a vampire. A police lieutenant then tries to bring in the dual-personality once he realizes who committed the murders. The film is a blaxploitation version of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”
J.D.’s Revenge (1976)
Yet another blaxploitation film, Isaac Hendrix (Glynn Turman) plays a law student who becomes possessed with a 1940’s gangster — J.D. Walker’s — ghost (David Mcknight). The gangster uses Hendrix’s body to get revenge on those who murder him and framed him for the death of his sister.
Geretta Geretta is a Black actress who acted in many Italian horror flicks. She played a prostitute named Rosemary who becomes a demon in 1985’s “Demons.” And she played a pretty darn scary one at that (simply judging by the pictures).The Italian film follows a group of people trapped in a West Berlin movie theater with vicious demons set out to kill and possess the humans one-by-one.
Three young men go to a strip club without, of course, knowing its a club where the strippers are vampires! This includes Queen Katrina (Grace Jones) who murders one of the boys and turns him into a vampire. The other two guys and the only waitress who is seemingly not a vampire are left to try and escape the wrath of the queen vampire and her town of vampire goons in this 1986 horror comedy.
Def by Temptation (1990)
In “Def by Temptation,” men meet who they think is the perfect woman, a temptress played by Cynthia Bond, but she turns out to be a demonic vampire who feeds on the blood of men silly enough to be temped by her. The evil succubus fed off of Black men, but a would-be minster, an aspiring actor and a supernatural-fighting cop get in the demonic vampire’s way. Brothers out there — watch out for demonic vampires posing as beautiful, seductive women. Then again, if an evil succubus existed so many of you would be screwed.
Like many of the movie monsters on the list, he’s absolutely scary, but a very sympathetic villain. The son of slaves, Candyman had his hand chopped off and replaced with a hook, had honey rubbed in all over his body and was stunned to death by bees as White bystanders watched him die in agony for falling in love with a White woman. His ghost kills those who dare say his name five times. It’s definitely one of the greatest “cult” horror flicks with a mainstream presence. And Candyman is not only the scariest, but the most popular Black horror film murderous monster. “Be my victim” still gives moviegoers the chills.
Tales from the Hood (1995)
In “Tales From the Hood,” funeral director (Clarence Williams III) tells three drug dealers about four stories of horror with African-American themes of race, brutality and racism while he trapped them in his funeral home.
The first story (“Rough Cop Revelation”) is about police brutality and racial profiling. A young Black officer, Clarence Smith, (Anthony Griffith) watches as three White officers beat and shot the heroine into a civil rights councilman Martin Moorehouse (Tom Wright). They set up his death, but he comes back as zombie with the help of the drunken-ex-cop Smith and exact vengeance on the racist cops.
The second story, “Boys Do Get Bruised,” is about a boy (Brandon Hammond) who draws monstrous pictures of his mother’s boyfriend (David Alan Grier). The man turned out to be abusive — beating the boy and his mother until his teacher (Rusty Cundieff) helped fight him off. And the boy tears up the pictures he drew of the monstrous man to destroy him.
The third story (KKK Comeuppance) is about ex-KKK member and southern senator (Cobin Bernsen) being protested by Jewish and African-American groups. His headquarters is at a slave plantation house. One protester warns that the plantation is haunted by a hoodoo witch and her animated dolls with the souls of tortured slaves, who, in fact, go on to torture the former klansman.
The three drug dealers realize the fourth story is about a gang member they shot dead, and the funeral director reveals himself as the devil and explains that some of the gang member’s boys killed them in retaliation. He revealed their bodies in caskets and confirming they weren’t in a funeral home after all, but hell.
Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)
Maximillian (Eddie Murphy) arrives on shipping doc in Brooklyn with the hopes of finding the Dhampir daughter of a vampire who came from the Caribbean in order to live under the full moon with her. She turns out to be Detective Rita Veder (Angela Bassett). He hunts her, seduces her and awakens the vampire in her — all the while terrorizing Brooklyn in this horror-comedy.
In 1979, Jimmy Bones (Snoop Dogg) was a numbers runner and well-respected by the neighborhood before he was gunned down by a drug dealer and corrupt cop. His spirit inhabits his brownstone and he’s manifested as a black dog. Now in 2001, four teens (including siblings) want to renovate his brownstone as a nightclub. One of those teens encounter Jones’ ex-lover (Pam Grier) and her daughter (Bianca Lawson). The teens and their father find Jones’ body in the basement and bury the remains and decide to open the club. Big mistake! Jones comes back, haunts and murders anyone who gets in his way of getting his revenge.
Crazy as Hell (2002)
Meet Satan! Or at least that is what this Black man (Eriq La Salle) calls himself when he arrives at Sedah State Mental Hospital. Crazy as hell, right? “Crazy as Hell” is a suspense horror film starring not only La Salle, but Michael Beach as the hot-shot Dr. Ty Adams who tries to treat “Satan.” Doing so, Dr. Adams finally starts to question his own perceptions while the “Lord of Darkness” drives the famed psychiatrist crazy — trying to get him to see “the truth.”
Queen of the Damned (2002)
“Queen of the Damned” was released six months after her death and is dedicated to her memory. In the movie, Aaliayh plays the first ever vampire, Queen Akasha. She’s awakened by Lestat’s (Stuart Townsend) music and begins terrorizing other vampires and makes Lestat her king. But the other ancient vampires want her gone in order to save the human race from their demise.