"I told you not to go into that house": Get Out and Horror's Racial Politics

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The widespread acclaim and success of Jordan Peele’s Get Out (2017) is no surprise given the film’s effective blend of horror, comedy, and social commentary. When black photographer Chris Washington goes on a trip to visit his white girlfriend’s family in the countryside, the contemporary tensions of a purportedly post-racial America erupt to the surface. Instead of examining the explicit racism of white supremacists, for example – who are ever-visible and audible in Trump’s United States – Get Out explores the pervasive and insidious bigotry of “liberal” white Americans. This chapter will illuminate how Peele’s exceedingly tense horror film skewers and critiques race-relations in the US today. Echoing earlier films about race (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner), Get Out utilises the horror genre and its conventions to critical ends. Emerging as it does in the era of Black Lives Matter, mass incarceration, police brutality, neo-Nazis, and the tearing down of Confederate monuments, Peele’s film vividly embodies the fears of being a black person in a white society. Invoking the historical uses and abuses of black bodies through to the present, Get Out dramatises the anxieties of African American life and the always-present structures of racism that sustain white spaces. The American horror and Gothic genres have always been cultural vehicles for manifesting racial tensions and conflict and this film is no different. Get Out is the scariest new film about the oldest of American horrors.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMake America Hate Again
Subtitle of host publicationTrump-Era Horror & the Politics of Fear
EditorsVictoria McCollum
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2019


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