Len is a writer who lives in Brooklyn, New York, and has had a fascination with games and media that has lasted a lifetime.
You Know the Drill
Anyone who enjoys horror movies knows the drill: the black guy dies first. Whether the result of subtle racism or simply color blind casting for minor characters, a person of color in a slasher flick has the life expectancy of a census taker in the Appalachians. However, things do change: sometimes, just sometimes, the black guy survives the horror movie.
The best way to survive a horror movie, of course, is to be the biggest name in the film. Once studio execs realized that an African-American actor could actually headline a film, you saw some bigger names in horror movies.
So, without any further ado, here is a list of movies where the black guy survives the slasher, evades the monsters, and manages not to run off to have sex in the forest.
Ice Cube in Anaconda
Sure, Ice Cube might be cuddling up to middle America nowadays by appearing in run-of-the-mill family comedies where he learns valuable lessons about love and laughter, but once upon a time he was a much more intimidating figure. That's why it was so surprising he survived Anaconda, a movie about a giant Amazon snake with a taste for flesh.
Not only was this a horror movie where the black guy survived, but the Latin-flavored Miss Jennifer Lopez managed to make it out in one piece too. To have two minority characters survive a horror movie is rare, so cheers to Anaconda, a B-movie that surprises us all the way to the end.
Ken Sagoes in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
I won't say that Dream Warriors is the best Nightmare on Elm Street Movie (that honor belongs to New Nightmare), but it was certainly one of the most badass. In this sequel, the victims turn the tables on Freddy and join together to fight him in their dreams. In the dream realm, they're able to use super powers, not unlike a blood-soaked version of the X-Men.
One of the Dream Warriors is Roland. When fighting Freddy in dreams, he has super strength. In a shocking twist (especially for the 80s), Roland not only fights Freddy but survives the experience. This is one of the earliest examples I can recall of a black dude surviving a horror film.
Don't get too excited, though: he shows up again in the A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 and is promptly killed off.
Richard T. Jones in Event Horizon
Despite starring Lawrence Fishburn, there's only one black guy who survives this horror movie and his name ain't Morpheus. Richard T. Jones, playing comic relief Cooper actually manages to make it in and out of this Hellraiser inspired sci-fi in one piece. Of course, to do it, he had to spend half the film adrift in space and uninvolved in the horror occurring on the abandoned spaceship.
Like many scary movies, Event Horizon ends with the implication that the killing is not over and our survivors are probably about to be chopped to pieces. But he made it until the end and we don't see anything bad happen to him, so we're gonna give Event Horizon a pass.
Busta Rhymes in Halloween: Resurrection
Well, this movie tried. Most Halloween fans would probably prefer to just forget this one happened, but history is history right? In this one, not only does the black dude survive the horror movie, but he kicks some butt on the way. The latter half of Resurrection is mostly a vehicle for Busta to jump around the building, do some kung-fu, and mainly beat the crap out of Michael Myers.
I don't know where they got it in their heads to let this happen, but it was more amusing than it deserved to be. Also check out Tyra Banks get what's coming to her and a pre-Battlestar Galactica Katie Sackhoff not be tough.
That Kid From Childs Play 3
I'm not sure if this one really counts. I mean, I am pretty sure the "no killing kids" rule is stronger than the "the black guy is always the first to die" rule. Still, Chuckie doesn't get to finish up his business on the only major minority character in the third Child's Play installment.
In some ways, it is a shame, since he is actually one of the most irritating characters ever caught on film. But, what can we really expect of a young kid forced to grow up on a military base? Probably not a lot of time for Yu-Gi-Oh or whatever dumb things normal kids do.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Bucsfan_001 on February 12, 2020:
Vin diesel is not black seen him named a few times for some reason smh Black guy means man so naming Black women is dumb. And of your trying to disprove this article your clearly racist this is not a theory it’s a fact Scream 2 did this with Omar and Jada as a jab at Hollywood’s racist writing they died 7 mins into the movie and then the credits rolled Jordan Peele was not the first to Star Black actors as leads we need more film makers like him to make Black Horror films
Response on August 22, 2019:
The black kid from Freddy Kruger 3? He was the second one on the list. I mainly was looking for LL Cool J from deep blue stea.
Terribke articel on February 17, 2019:
How about the “black kid in Freddy Kruger 3? Or John the helicopter pilot in Day if the living dead?
So stop.. just stop..
random man on February 13, 2019:
wheres the dude from jaws
dennis on February 11, 2019:
Deep Blue Sea
Mizzy on April 10, 2018:
Don't forget Cooper(DeRay Davis) In the fog
Who Cares on October 22, 2017:
Benny from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3?
Clarice on July 23, 2017:
Prom Night (2008) and Carla from I Still Know What You did last summer
Tim from Los Angeles, CA on August 01, 2013:
You forgot Reggie in Friday The 13 5
Joshua on April 24, 2013:
Halloween H20 LL Cool J lives after being grazed by a bullet.
LuckyBreaks from Philadelphia, PA on February 17, 2013:
I saw the headline for this post and had to read it, very funny stuff, especially "that kid from Child's Play 3" lol.. I like your writing style.
Rob Lattin from Born in Chicago, now I'm in the Quad Cities on July 07, 2012:
Night of the Living Dead (original) - the black guy almost survives. You just have to end the film when he walks out the door and it can be a happy ending.
Kay B from Tampa, FL on June 11, 2012:
Oh my God. I saw the title and spit out my soda in laughter -- great Hub! Never thought this list would exist :P
Levertis Steele from Southern Clime on June 07, 2012:
"Look at the pitiful roles Asians played for eons. The Japanese and Chinese men, for example, were awkward, silly, and always in servile positions, except for a few actors like Bruce Lee and Jet Li, or whatever his name is. They were always cooking, washing, waiting tables, bowing, or humoring someone by chatting in sing-song tones."
Brainwashing is a sly devil. I actually thought that Bruce Lee was the only handsome, masculine Asian alive. I was a teen when he was at his best. Some Asians were portrayed as squat, cowardly, and always agreeable. Presently, I think that some of them are probably among the most attractive people in the world, especially the darker ones.
This is an interesting hub.
Levertis Steele on January 05, 2012:
Since the beginning of the Western Era in television, how many Indians survived to the end? Although a few scalps were taken, White cowboys almost always won. When I was a little girl playig western with neighborhood kids, I always played a white cowboy because they were often the winners. Everybody loves a winner, and everybody loves to win. Like it or not, we all lose sometimes.
There was a time when all black characters in anything from "Little Rascals" and "Step and Fetch It" to you name it, played very, very shamefully negative roles. I look at is as we (races) are all taking turns. "We win some and we lose some." That's a fact of life.
Black African's once played in mostly servile positions, carrying the gear for the White guys on a safari or guiding them through the dense jungle.
Look at the pitiful roles Asians played for eons. The Japanese and Chinese men, for example, were awkward, silly, and always in servile positions, except for a few actors like Bruce Lee and Jet Li, or whatever his name is. They were always cooking, washing, waiting tables, bowing, or humoring someone by chatting in sing-song tones.
People thirst for new things, and the new makes money. It is not surprising to see a White guy "kill the anaconda." That's old news. Viewers want to see someone who has been downgraded in television and movies "win the show." We like to be shocked, frightened, surprised, humored, and sometimes angered.
When "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" first aired, in the 60's, I believe, my whole family, hugged the tv until it was over and probably discussed it for two years. When a black man first kissed a white woman on tv, We did not liked it, but we all watched it. We human beings are strange creatures, indeed.
James russell on December 22, 2011:
The movie pirahna 3D. (2010) Ving rhames survives in that movie. It shows he dies but obviously he didn't because he is in the new pirahna movie, pirahna 3DD (pirahna three double D), which is coming out in 2012. I hope it aanswered the hub :)
MystMoonstruck from Illinois on October 20, 2011:
Isolation (2005) The only survivor is a black woman! I watched it in the wee hours of the morning. It's yet another that pooh poohs the claim about black characters dying first or never surviving. That is absolutely not true.
"John Carpenter's The Thing" and "Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger" are two more in which the black man is not the first victim, if one at all. There are so many others that can be listed, from far back in movie history to contemporary films.
Bob Hope on October 20, 2011:
LL Cool J died in Rollerball...
james russell on October 08, 2011:
final destination 5 is the most recent one well he does die but everyone dies on final destination 5 but the black guy dies last and he was the main character. And the movie the thing... Kieth david is in the movie and he survives.. But other movies kieth david always die
Amber on September 03, 2011:
As far as I can recall, LL Cool J has never been killed in a movie, horror or otherwise. We have been tricked into thinking he was dead in at least 2, but managed to pop back up by the end and usually save the day (or moment at least). Just for this, even if I wasn't a lady, I would still love LL Cool J.
Annonymous on August 27, 2011:
Final Destination 5. He doesn't really survive, but he dies last, and survives longest xP
delmer47 from Nebraska on August 15, 2011:
Awesome hub!! My son is 13 and already knows how the black guy dies in movies...I'll share this list with him!
LaZeric Freeman from Hammond on August 14, 2011:
That is correct Sir. :)
Len Cannon (author) from Brooklyn, NY on August 12, 2011:
You can say a lot of things about Jada, but one thing she ain't is a black GUY
LaZeric Freeman from Hammond on August 12, 2011:
I was going to say Demon Knight with Jada Pinkett, but someone beat me to it.
AndP on July 06, 2011:
Another notable instance is Alvin Alexis in Night of the Demons (1988). And if this counts as horror, Se7en (1995) with Morgan Freeman and Richard Roundtree.
Also I'm pretty sure Frankie Faison survives in the Hannibal movies.
MystMoonstruck from Illinois on June 13, 2011:
Here's a partial list of films in which black characters survive or aren't the first to die: Alien vs. Predator (Sanaa Latham is the ONLY human being who survives!), Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick, Anacondas: Hunt for the Black Orchid, Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, Thir13en Ghosts (2001), Night of the Living Dead (original and remake), The Fog (2005), Candyman (Tony Todd as Candyman survives for the sequels. Tony also is in the "Final Destination" series.), Species, Scream 2, Poltergeist, Pulse (2006), The Beastmaster, The Stand (TV miniseries), Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight, Voodoo Moon, Mindhunters, Deep Rising, Predator, Predator 2, Alien tetralogy, Urban Legend, Urban Legends: Final Cut, It (TV miniseries), Ganja & Hess, Jaws: The Revenge, Beware! The Blob aka Son of the Blob, Night of the Cobra Woman, Black Mamba, The Mummy Returns, King Kong (1933), King Kong (Peter Jackson remake), Deep Blue Sea, The Bermuda Depths, House of Wax (remake), Live & Let Die, Blacula (It is his decision to end his life, but he rises for the sequel), Scream Blacula Scream, Gothika, Terminator, T2: Judgment Day, Leviathan, Santa's Slay, Phantoms, King of the Zombies, I Walked With a Zombie, The Believers, Serpent & the Rainbow, Pulse (2006), Deep Impact, Kingdom of the Spiders, One Dark Night, The Shining (TV miniseries), Damien: The Omen 2, Firestarter, Vamp, Chronicles of the Mermaid 1: The She Creature, Time After Time, Mission to Mars, Queen of the Damned, The Breed, Blade trilogy, Hideaway, The Clairvoyant, What Lies Beneath, Gargoyles (TV movie), Fallen, Sphere, The Supernaturals, From Dusk Till Dawn, From Dusk Till Dawn 3, The Omega Man, I Am Legend (Will Smith and Charlton Heston versions), I, Robot, The World, the Flesh & the Devil, Bones (2001), The Bone Snatcher, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ghosts of Mars, Sugar Hill, The Twilight People, The Beast Must Die, The Vindicator, The Crow series, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, The Golden Child, The Strange Case of Doctor Rx, Phantom Killer, The Spider (1945), Revenge of the Zombies, Resident Evil: Armageddon, Sorceress (1995), Event Horizon, The Matrix series, Vegas Vampires, Bad Dreams (1988), The People Under the Stairs, Dawn of the Dead (2004), Q aka The Winged Serpent / By the way, most of these actors are guaranteed to survive: Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Don Cheadle, Jamie Foxx, Sidney Poitier, Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Samuel L. Jackson and many more I'm sure anyone could list. / I still need to separate the survivors/dies second-or-nearly-last plus add all of the more-recent ones. I started this list after people made certain claims at Yahoo!Answers Movies.
L. Spikes from Florida on May 03, 2011:
LL Cool J is the undisputed king of surviving these types of movies. Other comments have mentioned that he survived Deep Blue Sea, but let's not forget that he also survived Halloween H2O. Great hub.
Warrlords on February 20, 2011:
I am a black man n always watch us die first in horror movies but when ii saw Taye Diggs survive in the horror movie house on haunted hill I knew one day we would have a black president. Lol
The Jackal Jack Kirby on October 17, 2010:
Sam Jackson from Snakes on a Plane & 1408.
Joe from Pennsylvania, USA on August 24, 2010:
This was a funny read, man. I enjoyed it.
AuthorSteve from Hawaii on July 17, 2010:
This hub really makes me think about it whether the character in "I Am Legend" survives at the end, but as far as I remember he doesn´t!
paulkimelecu from philadelphia, pa on July 07, 2010:
I thought 28 Days Later, like the first person commented above, was an excellent film with an excellent African English (is that an ethnicity??) woman in the film. How about Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End? She was in that one!!!
glassvisage from Northern California on July 05, 2010:
Ha! "Anaconda" was the first (and only) one I could think of! Great Hub
film critic on July 03, 2010:
-daisyf1305- That was the highlight of the movie, but he made up for it by landing the plane with the snakes on it.
starvagrant from Missouri on June 27, 2010:
I guess I don't watch too many horror movies. I would agree with your idea Len, that the "black guy always dies" rule came about because blacks weren't being cast as main characters. That being said, how the hell did you sit all the way through Anaconda? I tried watching it with some friends and we instinctively started doing some else in thirty minutes. An hour had gone by when some finally said, there's still another hour? Oh well.
Perhaps you might write a hub about the horror movies when characters have sex and don't die?
Daisy Fabelo from Orlando Florida on June 26, 2010:
Okay but you have to say that in into the blue when Samuel L. Jackson gets eating by the shark that is the highlight of the movie.
pmccray on June 26, 2010:
This is a great hub. I think comments made by black comedians regarding "Star Trek" finally caught the attention of media producers that blacks were on to their subtle racism.
Whenever a team transported to a new planet if a black was present other than Lt. Ouhra, that member or the team would die. They (the producers) were made aware that we felt our lives were not as important as anyone else and we appeared to be no more than window dressing because of the civil rights movement. Loved your subject matter.
NekoInu on June 26, 2010:
In the 1999 remake of House on Haunted Hill, Taye Diggs' character survived. That was actually the first movie I thought of when I saw this list! (Probably because out of this list and all that's been mentioned in the comments so far, it's the only one I've seen...)
cyekin_37 on June 26, 2010:
good hub! very funny, yet informative :D
Martin Allan from Sunny Scotland on June 24, 2010:
Madison from NYC on June 23, 2010:
Great hub, really enjoyed it len!!
ExpandYourMind from Midwest USA on June 23, 2010:
Too funny. Good Hub!
BkCreative from Brooklyn, New York City on June 23, 2010:
What a great hub! So funny but oh so true. Black guys were wiped out right away - even if it wasn't a horror film. I used to wonder how soon it would be before he died. This is why I went to see "I am Legend" with Will Smith. I knew he would die but not in the first 5 minutes/seconds.
I don't think 28 Days mentioned above by a hubber was a US film. The Brit black woman was great. But I can't imagine her being cast in that role in a US film.
Oh, I'm a big fan/follower now. I love great humor - with a point.
Rated up too! And more!
Bobby Joseph Jr on June 19, 2010:
I like movies, but horror flicks are my least favorite, so I've never given this a thought, but after reading your hub, my first thought was "Deep Blue Sea" were LL Cool J survives.
SilverGenes on June 14, 2010:
I enjoyed this a lot! Blondes don't do well either :)
SteveoMc from Pacific NorthWest on June 13, 2010:
Haha, I never really thought about it, but I guess you are right. The formula calls for the death of the black guy. I wonder what the box office receipts are compared to each other. Maybe another hub on the horizon.
bojanglesk8 on June 12, 2010:
MrMidNight on June 12, 2010:
Yeah i forgot any black people survive freddy's antics, really informaive...
Glimmer515 from Never Never Land on June 12, 2010:
Deep Blue Sea! LL Cool J survives and saves the day!
Kasey Rubenstein from California on June 12, 2010:
Don't forget 28 Days Later. A black woman not only survives but totally kicks butt in that one.