October marks the beginning of spooky season. And what better way to kick off the celebration than by binge-watching some Black-led Halloween films?

A Lack of Representation in Halloween Films

Not long ago, not many Black actors acted in horror movies. And unfortunately when they did, they were often underdeveloped, token characters.

Black characters also didn’t receive much screen time at all. Instead, they were typically the first ones killed, usually towards the beginning of the movie.

‘Night of the Living Dead’ Starts a Trend

“Night of the Living Dead” is a classic horror flick about a group of people who fight to survive a zombie apocalypse. The 1968 film stars Duane Jones, the first Black person to lead a horror movie — an unprecedented feat at this time.

Fortunately, the movie did exceedingly well, becoming an instant cult classic. And as a result, Jones helped open the doors for Black actors to be seen as more than just victims of a werewolf or serial killers in Halloween films.

Not to mention, Black filmmakers became inspired, later creating even more horror classics, from “Blacula” to “Tales from the Hood.” According to a 2018 report from USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, out of 100 top fictional movies at the box office, 16 of them were from Black filmmakers. This number is more than double the numbers from a over a decade ago. 

And now with their help, more and more Black actors are finding opportunities to showcase their acting chops in and out of Hollywood.

5 Spooky Black-Led Films To Binge For Halloween

When it comes to horror films, Black Hollywood has come quite a long way. And no matter if you like psychological thrillers or sci-fi horrors, there’s a scary movie to suit any taste. Here are five Black-led Halloween films to binge-watch this spooky season and beyond:


“Black Box” (2020)

Mamoudou Athie stars as Nolan Wright, a man who suffers from amnesia after surviving a car crash that killed his wife. When his forgetfulness starts to interrupt his everyday responsibilities, he enlists the help of a neurologist, Dr. Brooks.

Dr. Brooks uses a mysterious black box to hypnotize Wright into better retaining his memory. Wrights starts to see signs of improvement as he begins to regain his memory. He even begins to form a healthier relationship with his daughter in the process.

During the experimental procedure, Wright also meets a powerful monster that threatens his progress. But even though he later overcomes the dark creature, he finds that he has another monster to tackle — himself.


“His House” (2020)

“His House” follows Bol and Rial, a refugee couple fleeing South Sudan with their daughter to find shelter in Europe.

After landing there, the British government assigns the couple a house on the outskirts of London. But unfortunately, their daughter would never see it as she, like many others, perished during the voyage.

Still, the couple tries to adjust to their new life. But the house is old and dirty, with peeling wallpaper and drab furnishings. Not to mention, as Black refugees, they become the targets of racism from the community.

That quickly becomes the least of their worries when the couple finds a night witch living in the house. To make matters worse, the couple realizes that the night witch doesn’t just live in the house — she followed them there.


“Ganja & Hess” (1973)

If you enjoy vintage horror flicks, consider adding the 1973 movie “Ganja & Hess” to your Halloween movie rotation.

Anthropologist Dr. Hess Green morphs into a vampire after his assistant, George Meda, stabs him with a cursed dagger in a murder-suicide. Dr. Green soon falls in love with his assistant’s wife, who later transforms into a vampire as well. Together, the two learn how to adjust to their new lives as vampires. But viewers soon find out that Green may have other plans.

“Ganja & Hess” earned many fans, with James Murray of the “Amsterdam News” touting it as “the most important Black produced film since ‘Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.'”

It also earned a fan in director Spike Lee, who, in 2014, remade the movie, calling it “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus.”


“Attack the Block” (2011)

Nurse trainee Samantha Adams narrowly escapes a robbery attempt by a group of teenage hoodlums after a meteorite crashes into a nearby car.

One of the teenagers, Moses (John Boyega), explores the car, hoping to find something of value. But instead of money or jewelry, he comes upon an alien creature. And little does he know — it’s not the only one.

“Attack the Block” is a story about a group of young teenagers fighting for survival after an alien invasion threatens their hometown. The horror flick received critical acclaim, earning fans of all backgrounds, but especially within the Black community.


“Sugar Hill” (1974)

“Sugar Hill” is a Blaxploitation film about a young woman nicknamed “Sugar” on a mission to avenge the untimely death of her boyfriend and nightclub owner, Langston.

After refusing to sell his nightclub, Langston is murdered in cold blood by a local gang. This prompts Sugar to enlist the help of Mama Maitresse, a voodoo queen.

Mama Maitresse conjures Baron Samedi, the lord of the dead who also heads a batallion of zombies. But when the zombies decide they want the nightclub for themselves, the result is a spine-chilling, supernatural bloodbath you won’t soon forget.

Critics and fans praised “Sugar Hill,” with Adam Tyner of DVD Talk calling it “a perfect movie for a Halloween marathon.”