THE NEW PARENT TRAP
This Hollywood horror takes the fear of meeting the in-laws to a whole new level, as protagonist Chris notices something is seriously wrong with his girlfriend’s parents
It’s the horror movie of 2017 that shocked cinema audiences on multiple levels. Firstly, it was written by US sketch comedian Jordan Peele, who previously had no connection to horror films. Secondly, it’s been exceeding expectations in a big way, breaking box office records. Thirdly, it’s scary as hell. Jordan Peele discusses the methods to this madness for his first feature film, Get Out.
With your background and coming from sketch comedy, what story did you want to tell when you started putting pen to paper? What was the attraction to writing a horror genre, and wanting to tell a racial story?
It was definitely horror. I want to tell a story about somebody feeling the paranoia about being an outsider. I think what excited me first was not even racially involved, but the idea of feeling like you are hanging out with people who have a history, who have private jokes, and you have to kind of maintain a certain social comfort and at the same time have this total mystery to what these people’s connections are and what their history is. That was just a fascinating idea that I thought I could mine some horror from. It wasn’t until really a little bit later that I realised you know what, let’s go for the racial story. Let’s make the horror movie about race that hasn’t been made.
Are you a fan of the horror genre? Did you grow up with it? Did it inspire anything in you or scare the hell out of you?
It scared the hell out of me growing up. At some point, maybe about 12 or 13 years old, I sort of came to the terms that anything that could affect me that thoroughly was special.
What were the films that affected you?
Nightmare on Elm Street, The
Shining, The Fly – I was totally haunted when I would try to go to sleep at night. And at some point, yes, it was like a switch flipped in my head and I said, yes, I have to respect something this powerful. And it really is, for better, but usually worse, one of the most compelling emotions that we have as humans.
Let’s bring race into this. This is really the first horror film where race is actually part of the storyline, rather than African-American characters simply being a part of the cast. How much were you exploring the idea that a white person in the role would have thought about and approached the situation Chris finds himself in differently?
You know I thought about that a lot. Even the title Get Out comes from the Eddie Murphy routine, where he discusses the difference between the black and white horror movie audience. This is in a lot of ways about representation of black voice in the horror space. And so along with that, to me meant that I had to craft a movie that was for the typically black horror movie goer who gets frustrated when somebody does some stupid s--t, and without representation we have been in a lot of ways marginalised. So you see there’s themes within the movie with regards to the Sunken Place for example, that is very much a motif that symbolises this marginalisation, of we are in a dark theatre, looking at a screen, screaming “get out” through a world that we can’t affect and that we don’t have representation within. So yeah, this movie, I hope that when people really look at it, they look at the layer of it being and filling a void in the art form of horror movies.
Get Out is in cinemas now
I WANT TO TELL A STORY ABOUT SOMEBODY FEELING THE PARANOIA ABOUT BEING AN OUTSIDER
Get Out is the kind of film you probably won’t want to watch alone.