Good Reads, Lifestyle

Good Reads Challenge Book Review: The Black Guy Dies First: Black Horror Cinema from Fodder to Oscar

What’s up, “fam”..Welcome back to the blog.

“If you aren’t the lead …you bleed” –Robin Means Coleman

Hello friends, and how are you? I hope you’re doing well, getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, eating some good food, focusing on your mental health, and giving yourself grace.

Moving through my Good Reads Challenge list, I’m reviewing The Black Guy Dies First: Black Horror Cinema from Fodder to Oscar.  I was excited about adding this book to my list (last year).  I knew I wouldn’t have time to get to it then, but I made this title a priority for 2024, and it was well worth the wait.

The Review

Title | The Black Guy Dies First: Black Horror Cinema from Fodder to Oscar
Author(s) | Robin R. Means Coleman, Mark Harris
Format | Audible
Pages/Hours | 336 pages, 9 hours and 30 minutes
Published  | February, 2023
Publisher | S & S/Saga Press
Genre |  Historical, Horror, Nonfiction, Race, Pop Culture
GR Rating | 4.07
Purchase | Amazon


The Black Guy Dies First explores the Black journey in modern horror cinema, from the fodder epitomized by Spider Baby to the Oscar-winning cinematic heights of Get Out and beyond. This eye-opening book delves into the themes, tropes, and traits that have come to characterize Black roles in horror since 1968, a year in which race made national headlines in iconic moments from the enactment of the 1968 Civil Rights Act and Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in April. This timely book is a must-read for cinema and horror fans alike.

My Rating (5.0 ⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Quote from The Black Guy Dies First
“maybe it’s a subconscious association of zombies with voodoo, but whatever the reason, zombie movies seem to feature Black heroes more frequently than other horror subgenres.”

The Black Guy Dies First is a BIG book of stats regarding Black people in the horror genre. There are lists upon lists, and like with most things, art imitates life when it comes to what we fear, our environment, and human nature. (Movies being the art.)

This book is broken down into several chapters with witty titles like The Magical Negro, The Sacrificial Negro; and Just Voodoo It! (Which was hilarious). The various chapters give you the breakdown and who, what, where, when, and why of Black people in the horror movie genre.

Quote from The Black Guy Dies First
“The ’80s are known as the Greed Decade, then for Black people in horror, it was the Bleed Decade, with almost every major Black character in a major studio horror movie biting the bullet… or the axe… or the machete… or the impossibly sharp ceiling fan.”.

George Romero (as we know) set the bar for the zombie sub-genre with his iconic film Night of the Living Dead, but what some people may or may not know is that the lead role was not written for a Black man. Romero has gone on record to say that Duane Jones (Ben) got the role because he was the best actor. (Nuff said)

Several references were made regarding Jordan Peele because he set the stage for a new horror movie style and how Black people are viewed and represented. It’s been said by several studios that Black movies don’t bring in the numbers (money), but we know that’s BS because of Get Out, Us, The First Purge, etc. This book would name those movies and how much money they made at the box office.

Another sub-genre this book discusses is “Woke Horror,” a name that studios gave movies that dealt with deeper issues plaguing our communities. This horror style would allow other movies to follow them with eye-opening messages.

Quote from The Black Guy Dies First
“The Magical Negro is one of several “positive” Black stereotypes born out of the growing expectation that there should be SOME Black character included in a film.”

The story also goes on to discuss Women directors, the LBGTQ community, Queer Noir, and the Black final girl, which are all unrepresented in several film genres across the board.

Horror movies are about resilience, and the Black character never gives up, no matter our circumstances. The book quotes (I’m elaborating) …We show up movie after movie to suffer the same fate, bat in hand and ready to kick ass and take names by any means necessary.

I LOVED this book, and I’m buying hard copies for my friends.

Quote from The Black Guy Dies First
“You never want to be invited to the Voodoo cookout, which translates to … human sacrifice.”

Good Read Challenge Progress

What Moves the Dead (read)
Leslie F*cking Jones (read)
The Cousins (read)
September House (read)
The Echo Wife (read)
Her Lost Soul (ARC: read)
The Black Girl Survives This One (ARC: read)
The Bad Ones (ARC: read)
The Eleven (ARC: read)
The Black Guy Dies First: Black Horror Cinema from Fodder to Oscar (read)
Kill The Boy Band (read)
I Need You to Read This (ARC: reading)
Murder Your Employer: The McMasters Guide to Homicide (reading)

For my full Good Reads Challenge list ..check out this post.  For all the other posted reviews, check my page. For the podcast of this review, check out my Spotify.

Thanks so much for visiting the blog today.  Don’t forget to follow and subscribe, as I appreciate the support. — Peace

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