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How Jordan Peele Has Helped Redefine the Horror Genre

How Jordan Peele Has Helped Redefine the Horror Genre

by extreme hd iptv

Since the beginning of his career, Jordan Peele has been a comedian often seen alongside Keegan-Michael Key in the Comedy Central sketch series Key & Peele. When it was announced that he would be making his Hollywood debut as a director in a horror film, many were perplexed at the idea. However, that is until Peele’s first film, Get Out, which featured Daniel Kaluuya as the protagonist, was released in 2017. This psychological horror became such a hit that everyone was shocked at Peele’s talent outside comedy, and Get Out was nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Peele would win for Best Original Screenplay.

Peele went on to release two other horror films titled Us, which was released in 2019 with Lupita Nyong’o leading the film, and Nope, which was released in 2022 and which included Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer as the main characters. All three films became such hits that people could not stop talking about them. In less than a decade, Peele went on to become a highly-acclaimed auteur whose films are met with high expectations, as each time the filmmaker comes up with a phenomenal creation, it leaves the audience gobsmacked. The question is, why are Peele’s films so important, and why do they impact viewers so much? Let’s take a look.

The following article may contain minor spoilers

Bringing in the Black Lens

If one were to look at the horror films of the past, it can be easy to identify how the genre consists of predominantly white characters. While there have been other horror films with Black characters in the past, Peele’s films are quite different. Given that his films take place in the modern context, Peele attempts to use the Black characters to relate the film to the issues the Black community faces and has been facing for a long time.

Related: How A24 and Jordan Peele Changed Horror Cinema Forever

In Get Out we see the psychological horrors the protagonist, Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) goes through due to his being Black. He is only victimized because of his race, and White people see his body as something to control, own, and commodify. Similarly, in Us, the tethered is meant to be an allegory for the disproportion between those who have and those who do not. A certain group is given a class of privilege while the others are not and are meant to be seen as lower. In Nope, Peele looked to explore the often overlooked history between Black people and cinema while also making a monster movie where the survivor is a Black woman.

By bringing in the Black lens through his films, Peele attempts to fill a gap in the horror genre, and he has succeeded in doing that because his films take a realistic approach to “journeying deep into our twisted interiors” and portraying our internal fears.

Stepping Away from the Gendered Tropes

Generally, in horror films, we come across tropes like the femme fatale or the final girl, where either the woman is an untamable monster who has to be destroyed or the sole survivor who escapes the horrors simply because she is “pure” or “innocent”. This feeds the male gaze of the audience, and thus, two extremes of women are created. On the other hand, men in horror films fight, either as heroes or villains, and die as strong characters who are not scared at all. Peele takes the opportunity to break away from these norms.

In Get Out, it is the Black male character that survives, and it is the white female character that torments him. Even if Rose Armitage (Allison Williams) might fall into the trope of femme fatale, she is not your ordinary femme fatale as her cold, ruthless nature does not stem from your ordinary “wronged” character background. Us brings in two Black female characters as a villain and a “hero”. The plot twist at the end makes the viewer question who exactly is a “hero” in the horror genre.

Nope, on the other hand, takes a completely different turn by bringing in a non-human entity as a villain and introducing two Black characters as heroes. That film does feature a final girl, which highlights how rare it is for a final girl to be a Black woman. It might not seem like a big deal, but it is.

Connecting the Films to Social Issues

Peele has stated in the past that he wanted to use his films to expose the lie of a post-racial America and that is exactly what he does. Each one of Peele’s horror films comments on the society we live in. Get Out focuses on the Black body and how the White community attempts to take authority over it, which is also a nod to the slave history that prevailed in America. Us attempts to comment on the capitalistic society we live in and how segregation, even if indirect, tends to alienate people, in turn, creating an “us vs. them” dichotomy. Nope goes on to show how we, as consumers, tend to indulge in almost everything that surrounds us. This leads to the violation of rights and the abuse of one another, including innocent creatures.

Of course, these are not the only issues explored in these films. All three of Peele’s horrors heavily focus on the horror of being human in the present society. It takes out our deepest, darkest emotions and projects them onto us, reminding us that we are flawed creatures.

Self-Reflection for the Viewers

At the end of each horror film by Peele, the viewers are left with a heavy mind and feeling. In fact, one might find themselves researching different topics which were brought out in the films. Interestingly, Peele’s most recent horror film, Nope, acted as a prank on his fans as he uses the film to reflect on our unhealthy relationship with “art” and how we expect the creators to go to extreme lengths to meet our expectations. The film leaves the viewer thinking about their own consumption habits.

Similarly, Us and Get Out leave the viewer to reflect on their internalized ideologies of race, gender, and religion. Each of these films leaves a lasting impact on the viewers, which is not something a horror film can easily achieve. The social commentary that’s embedded in his films also invites viewers to give thought beyond a simple horror premise. Without well-designed characters, it would simply be impossible, so Peele does his very best to create arcs that not only feel believable but draw the viewer’s attention almost inevitably.

Peele Has Elevated Other Horror Voices

Jordan Peele has become one of the most in-demand directors working today. While he has tended to craft his own films, like Steven Spielberg before him, he has used his incredible influence and clout to raise the voices up of other filmmakers and creatives. He produced Nia DaCosta’s 2021 remake of Candyman, and while many outlets incorrectly would call it “Jordan Peele’s Candy Man” instead of Nia DaCosta, Peele backed the filmmaker, and audiences were awarded one of the best horror remakes.

Peele’s short-lived remake of The Twilight Zone saw him step in front of the camera as the series host and also producer. He brought in a talented group of directors for each episode, including Ana Lily Aripour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night), J.D. Dillard (Slight), Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (Loki), Oz Perkins (Gretel & Hansel), Craig William Macneill (Lizzie) to name a few. He also served as the producer of HBO’s critically acclaimed, Lovecraft Country.

The upcoming Monkey Man is not a horror film, but Peele acquired the film from Netflix thinking the movie deserved a big screen treatment and brought it to Universal. The movie marks Dev Patel’s directorial debut. Peele did return to his comedy roots when he backed Adamma Ebo’s feature film debut, Honk for Jesus, Save Your Soul, which was adapted from Ebo’s short film of the same name. Peele is clearly a director who is looking to elevate voices that could help shape the future of Hollywood.

The Auteur Nobody Expected Peele to Be

With only three films on his behalf, not everyone would say Peele was able to make a dent in the industry, but it’s actually the contrary. Get Out was his most traditional film, but right from the start, he began to put together a cinematic identity, an auteurship in the field of horror that modern filmmakers don’t usually go for. When you see a Peele joint, you know he’s behind the film. It’s not only a visual language but his screenwriting style.

Peele also makes sure to prove what his influences were. Us is a great example of this. The first shot with the VHS tapes calling for an easter egg hunt, the resemblances with The Shining in some shots, the connection with The Lost Boys. The dude knows his horror films, and he will make sure you realize that. His creative control is absolute, and each film that goes by, confirms he will keep showing what makes him an important horror director: he knows how to make scary films, but he also saw plenty throughout his life, so he knows what to do and what not to.

Related: Why the 2020s Will Be the Best Decade For Horror Ever

Modern horror is making a point and making other genres crumble because it’s seen its popularity massively grow in the last five years. Jordan Peele is one of the reasons why, and he will continue to do so. He’s one of the most authentic filmmakers out there; his vision isn’t ever compromised, and let’s face it, studios trust the hell out of him. Nope was a big budget with enough pop culture winks to make connoisseurs smirk, and it brought aliens into the mix. It was a risky project that left everyone smiling because of Peele’s unique approach to the genre.

So, if horror is a fan-based genre, what’s better than making your audiences smile with every horror film you make? Making a good horror film is a notable feat, but making three excellent horror films is absolute proof that you have the ability to redefine the most popular genre of all.

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