Girls Trip writer Tracy Oliver recently announced she was writing and directing a horror movie based on the novel Survive the Night, to be produced by Pharrell. But according to a recent interview, Oliver says it took awhile to even get the ball rolling on the film since apparently male film executives don’t think black women care about horror movies.
In an interview with Rookie magazine (which I used to write for) writer Tayler Montague asks Oliver to elaborate on some crazy things she’s heard executives say in pitch meetings, Oliver says:
So, I sold a horror movie. I’ve always loved the horror/thriller genre...As you know, there are not a lot of Black people in that space. Jordan Peele broke through in a major way with Get Out, which I love was inspired by. I’d already said prior to Get Out coming out, when people would ask what I’d want to do next–this sounds random because people don’t think of Black women and horror–but I was like, I want to do a horror movie, and not only do I want to do a horror movie, but I want it to be with Black women. So people were like, “That’s an interesting combination.” One of the execs who passed on it, his issue with it was: “Do Black women watch horror movies?”...He was just like, “I don’t think that happens.”
*Cue the sound of an inflating balloon.* Yes, dudes, black women watch horror movies! And clearly they also want to make them, considering Oliver’s pitch. But if you’re thinking that Get Out may open the doors for an era of horror movies that tackle race, Hollywood might be playing the “well, we’ve already done that” card according to Oliver:
Even with Get Out, he was like, “Well Get Out is different.” That’s always the thing people say when something does well, that it’s the exception. I know that not to be true, but the justification that everybody gives is that Get Out is the exception, or Girls Trip is the exception, instead of it proving that Black people do watch horror, or that Black women can be in big comedies.
2017 was an incredible year for horror movies at the box office between Get Out, It, and Happy Death Day, so I won’t be surprised if studios continue to invest in horror in 2018. But while I’m looking forward to Oliver’s new movie (a slasher that takes place at an underground music festival) I hope that in the future, more studios can actually get behind scary movies that break the white final girl mold.
Correction: A previous version of this post spelled Tayler Montague as Taylor Montague. Jezebel regrets the error.