For many Black Horror cinephiles, nothing satiates like a classic teen slasher flick. Traditionally, this subgenre has not been too kind to Black characters.
Imagine this with us, Holla! The melanated version of Wes Craven’s 1996 masterpiece.
The Plot: All is quiet in the Californian town of Pomona, a middle-class suburb with a mostly Black population. However, the peace is shattered and fear becomes apparent once again when a masked killer starts killing a group of high school students, but not before asking them “What’s your favorite Black Horror movie?” If they survive the first round, the killer continues the game with Black Horror trivia: Name 3 Black characters who survived horror movies to the end! What was the name of Brandy’s character in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer? Who was the antagonist in Jordan Peele’s Us?
With their lives at stake, a group of high school students, an ambitious reporter and a rookie cop band together to decipher the identity of the killer and stop the killer before another murder occurs.
Zendaya as Casey Becker
Euphoria star Zendaya would be our Casey Becker, the iconic opening-scene character who has the dubious honor of being Ghostface’s first victim. While an expert on horror films such as Halloween, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare On Elm Street, Casey’s lack of knowledge surrounding Black horror, other than films by Jordan Peele, ultimately becomes her downfall when she incorrectly answers a question given to her by Ghostface about the film Candyman. In the vein of Marion Crane in Psycho and Drew Barrymore as Casey in Scream, Zendaya is the perfect casting to let audiences know that no character is safe.
Dominique Fishback as Sidney Prescott
The Deuce breakout star Dominique Fishback would star as Sidney Prescott, our resourceful final girl and aspiring actress who goes to head-to-head with Ghostface. An ordinary teenager still reeling from the unsolved murder of her mother, Maureen, Sidney has grown from carefree to withdrawn in just the span of a year. With a new school year underway, Sidney has her sights set on a new beginning, until a mysterious killer starts knocking off her high school friends and classmates one by one. Fishback, as emphasized by her breakout performance in Night Comes On, would be the ideal choice to convey Sidney’s reserved demeanor and steely resolve. With several dramatic performances under her belt, Fishback could also bring an added intensity rarely seen in characters of the “final girl” mold.
Lovie Simone as Tatum Riley
Greenleaf star and Shadow And Act RISING Award winner Lovie Simone would be ideal as our Tatum Riley, Sidney’s best friend. A feisty and carefree spirit who offsets Sidney’s more reticent personality, Tatum is a staunch feminist who can often be found going toe-to-toe with her male classmates on the role women play in horror. She prefers any horror film with a Black final girl and cites Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight, Scream Blacula Scream and I Still Know What Did Last Summer as some of her favorites. Simone is great at playing a rebel, as evident by her portrayal of Zora on Greenleaf.
Algee Smith as Billy Loomis
Algee Smith would be our Billy Loomis, Sidney Prescott’s boyfriend. A film enthusiast with a clever sense of humor, our version of Billy has a fondness for Black cinematic horror and loves the classics: Blacula, Candyman and Night Of The Living Dead. Still reeling from the abrupt divorce of his parents, Billy uses his time with Sidney to escape the dread of his home life. However, Billy wants to pursue a sexual relationship with Sidney, leading to a strained dynamic between the two. As demonstrated by his performance as Khalil in The Hate U Give and McKay on Euphoria, Smith has the chops to express both Billy’s charisma and provide him with layers deeper than his brooding persona.
Keith Powers as Stu Macher
Keith Powers, who left his mark as Ronnie DeVoe in the BET biopic The New Edition Story, would be Billy’s best friend and Tatum’s boyfriend Stu Macher. A charismatic jokester whose demented sense of humor often gets on his friends’ nerves, Stu has a strong desire to be liked by those around him and does not handle rejection well. We have yet to see Powers portray the comedic relief on screen, and a role like Stu Macher would be ideal in helping him to show his range.
Gabrielle Union as Gale Weathers
Former Being Mary Jane star Gabrielle Union would be our Gale Weathers, a small-town reporter who goes to great lengths to get a good story. She even goes as far as writing a scathing tell-all book about Sidney’s mother in the aftermath of her murder. With a new killer on the loose, Gale goes to great lengths to decipher who is the man (or woman) behind the mask. Gabrielle Union knows a thing or two about playing a news reporter, as evident in her portrayal of Mary Jane Paul. And with her long body of work in classics like Deliver Us from Eva and Two Can Play That Game, we know she can nail the role of the antagonist whom we still want to root for!
Donald Glover as Dewey Riley
Multitalented entertainer Donald Glover would be Dewey Riley, Tatum’s good-natured but eccentric older brother who also functions as a sort of “surrogate” brother for Sidney. Along with Tatum, Dewey supports Sidney following the death of her mother a year earlier. On paper, Dewey comes off as a screwball cop who is “one-note” but an actor like Glover can add dimensions to him, just as he did with the role of Troy on Community. Evident by his performance as Earn on Atlanta, Glover can also provide dramatic heft to a role when required.
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Photo: Getty Images, Shadow And Act, Sabine Quetant
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