The black guy always dies first?

I don’t know if that has changed at all in horror pics. Has it? And if not, why not? And how true is it?

In Alien, the black guy dies last or second-to-last, as I recall. In Aliens, a black guy dies first. Another black guy gets taken but doesn’t actually die (off camera) until the earth-shattering kaboom. In Predator, the two black characters (among the good guys) died fourth and fifth, I think.

It’s a cliché that is famous for being famous, rather than for being true, I’d guess.

I always thought if you had sex you got horribly mutilated. Never noticed the black guy dying first thing though.

Unless a movie is riffing on the trope (LL Cool J’s character in Deep Blue Sea for example), then yes, the black guy is often still one of the first characters to die in a horror movie.

I think it’s just unprotected sex.

You was probably concentrating on the sex.

I have heard this before as “the black guy always dies”. The point being not that he’s the first to go, but that he never, ever survives the film.

  • taps feet patiently and waits for list of “Black characters who didn’t get offed.”*

TVtropes has a page on this. It gives both examples and subversions.

I apologize in advance if you never found this site before, some say it is addicting.

I thought that was just with the Friday the 13th movies.

Horror movies are little morality plays. Have sex, have a bad attitude, drink or smoke dope and you will get killed fast.
Monster movies kill off the minorities early. then kill off everybody til they have the smartest and most physically strong left.

Horror films often have a heroine and/or a hero who survive(s) and a supporting cast who doesn’t. The survivor main character is usually white, and there’s almost always a black character in the supporting cast. Thus the black character dies, though not always first.

This has changed over the years, particularly with modern darker films where everybody dies, but also with black survivors.

In night of the living dead the black guy dies last. The black guy survives in both the original and remake of Dawn of the Dead, though in the remake its unclear if he lives through the last scene during the credits and there was another black guy that dies earlier(though not first). I don’t remember for the original Day of the Dead, but in the horrible remake of it the black guy does die pretty early on, though again not first.

The Mamet/Tamahori film* The Edge* subverts it a bit too; an awesome movie if you haven’t seen it.

Attack of the Killer Shrews is another data point–the black guy is the first (possibly the only? I don’t remember for sure) guy to die. It’s pretty glaringly obvious that’s the only reason he was in the film…

Per Pepperlandgirl’s example, is this something that is far more common in older movies? Specifically, in a time when black actors could show up in movies playing most roles but never the lead or a major player?

The list at TV Tropes is loaded with avoidances and counter-examples. I think there’s maybe 8 or 9 valid examples out of about 50, and one of them is Vin Diesel. Though there it is “dies first”. “The minority always dies” probably has a lot more support (cf. “white dude dies first” in the Korean film The Host).

Isn’t the black guy (and Ali Larter) the only ones left at the end of The House On Haunted Hill remake?

Though that’s the only one that immediately springs to mind…

Thanks for bringing this up, because I was trying to remember the movie and the actor and couldn’t. I thought that it was a pretty hilarious send-up of the whole thing.

Spike Lee and others have talked about the “Magic Negro” in movies, who is the Outsider who has magical powers or is a guru of some sort, but dies before the film is over.:

This Wikipedia list includes Morpheus from The Matrix, but I don’t think he really belongs – Morpheus really isn’t any more “magical” than anyone else in the film (although he is a Leader/Guru). More importantly, as even people who bring him up point out, he doesn’t die. He breaks the trope. And, unlike the example in Deep Blue Sea, I don’t think he was deliberayely brought in to break the trope – he simply doesn’t really fit into it.

The two survivors in Event Horizon were the white female lead and a black minor character.

Yep. He’s the only guy who lives, period.


Halloween H20

The second Resident Evil movie


The Nutty Professor remake. Wait, that’s horrible movie, not horror movie, sorry.

If black women count there’s Urban Legend and 28 Days Later

I haven’t seen Snakes on a Plane yet, but I’m betting that’s another example of the black guy living.