Jordan Peele casually sent shockwaves through the internet with the first drop of the trippy, daring trailer for Get Out, a surprisingly dark (but self-aware) turn from a dude we’d known previously for lovably weird laughs on Key & Peele and the deceptively complex Keanu. The film, which envisions a Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner scenario with an unsavory The Stepford Wives twist that results in horror film with “cutting commentary on racial dynamics”. But while Get Out’s clear social commentary might seem surprisingly bold in the mainstream horror climate that often trades in shocking imagery and supernatural shenanigans, it’s simply another entry in the long-held political tradition of the horror genre.
Peele, for what it’s worth, is well aware of his stylistic predecessors – he’s even curated a related film series at the Brooklyn Academy of Music called “The Art of the Social Thriller” – but as we prepare to step into his convoluted and uncomfortably relevant nightmare, let’s revisit other political horror movies steeped in social commentary that helped change the genre forever.
[You can read Matt Goldberg’s full Get Out review here.]