In his A-Z of Horror, Clive Barker includes a section on Black treatments of the familiar horror themes, focusing on Blaxploitation shock features and modern-day horror-core ensembles like The Gravediggaz (featuring Rza from Wu-Tang, under the name The Rza-rector). While there’s an inescapable element of silliness to these efforts (case in point: “Rza-rector”), the main idea – pairing the horror of the Black experience in America to established horror movie themes – has always been a smart one in my opinion.
Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett traffic in playful homage and neat subversion of other horror movies. Their 2011 low-budget collaboration You’re Next combined elements of home invasion and slasher flicks with an in-joke sensibility – a mumblecore Scream. With 2014’s The Guest, they went full-on John Carpenter, layering on the mounting dread and the insistent synth score, while drawing liberally (or borrowing wholesale) from the plot of The Stepfather and similar “who are you really?” thrillers.