This year was one of the first that I truly began “working” in the horror field. Between the panels, starting this blog, my podcast, or hosting my own horror movie live show, 2018 was a big year for me and my career trajectory. One of the other major things was my discovery of just how many other black women are out in the world trying to carve out a niche in the big, bad world of horror. Everyone knows that most of the industry is white dudes (I’m not even going to pretend to be PC about this), who make very little room for anyone who isn’t another white dude. But there are women out here who are really working to expand the definition of what we know as a “horror fan”.
There he was, dangling into the void. Sinking, arms outstretched, helplessly clawing at the air. Jordan Peele’s satirical horror Get Out introduced us to the “sunken place”, a purgatory where Daniel Kaluuya’s character is trapped by body-snatching white liberals. As otherworldly as the Salvador Dalí-designed dream sequence in Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound, it was the scene that planted Afro-surrealism firmly in the mainstream.
It also symbolized the revival of a genre in which strangeness and blackness not only co-exist but are impossible to separate. In recent years we’ve had Atlanta, a show its creator Donald Glover proudly called a “black Twin Peaks”, and a host of film-makers including Kahlil Joseph, Arthur Jafa and Jenn Nkiru, who have given a hallucinatory edge to the music of Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, Kamasi Washington and Beyoncé. Joseph’s video to Flying Lotus’s Until the Quiet Comes reimagines Watts in Los Angeles as a phantasmagoric playground where a murdered black man’s body dances, bullet-ridden and bloodied, through the projects. Jafa’s video installation Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death is a collage of images; athletes and artists from LeBron James to Drake are interspersed with footage of police beating black people and civil-rights unrest, while a huge psychedelic sun burns in the background – coming in and out of the mix like a harbinger of impeding doom.
Earlier this year in the United States, writer and director Terence Nance’s sketch show Random Acts of Flyness sent up police violence, white saviour syndrome and everyday racism in a style described by the New York Times as “kaleidoscopic, nearly unclassifiable”. And this week sees the UK release of Boots Riley’s satire Sorry to Bother You, which uses surrealism to comment on race, sexuality and capitalism.
Talk about AfroTech! See You Yesterday, an upcoming sci-fi drama film based on the 2017 short film of the same name, has landed at Netflix for distribution.
It is the directorial debut of Lee protege, Stefon Bristol, who also helmed the short film.
Relative newcomers Eden Duncan-Smith and Danté Crichlow reprise their roles from the short film in a feature film scripted by Bristol and Fredrica Bailey.
The film revolves around “two Brooklyn teenage science prodigies, Claudette “C.J.” Walker (Duncan-Smith) and Sebastian J. Thomas (Crichlow), who build make-shift time machines to save C.J.’s brother, Calvin, from being wrongfully killed by a police officer.” Co-stars include Astro Bradley, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Wavvy Jones.
The original short was an HBO Short Film competition finalist at the American Black Film Festival. It can currently be found on Cinemax’s Max Go. In reviewing the short film, Aramide Tinubu wrote for Shadow and Act, “Despite its short runtime, See You Yesterday is electrifying (literally). It encompasses issues of police brutality and the innate desire that all humans have to return the past with the opportunity to do things differently. The teens’ frantic determination as they race against time is visceral.”
Netflix is set to debut the feature film sometime next year.
Watch the trailer for the short film – ‘See You Yesterday’: Spike Lee-Produced Sci-Fi/Time Travel Drama Lands At Netflix – Shadow and Act