UNFAIR RACIAL CLICHÈ ALERT
RACIAL CLICHÉ ALERT
Deadicated to Scatman Crothers
1900 - 1960 - 1970 - 1980 - 1990- 2000 - 2010-2020
101 coincidences and counting!
For a complete explanation of what this page is about, please go to the
UNFAIR RACIAL CLICHÉ ALERT
seen this in the movies before! The black guy dies!"
- Harry Block (played by Orlando Jones): EVOLUTION (2000)
BE ALERT FOR THESE TITLES OF
2010 - 2015
|THE BOOK OF ELI -
Alcon Entertainment, Silver Pictures, Warner Bros.Partners, Lightstorm Entertainment
Screenplay: Gary Whitta
Director (s): Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes
Producer (s): Broderick Johnson, Andrew A. Kosove, Joel Silver, David Valdes, Denzel Washington
Except for Denzel Washington, there are no other minority actors with any leading or even character roles. There are a few minority actors in silent extra and walk-on roles, playing no race in particular* and Denzel's character of Eli makes short work of them. As the star and producer of this movie, there can be but one black man in the future and he is it.
Also, only white people, good or bad, are portrayed as leaders of any group.
Then Denzel's character dies, having nobly sacrificed himself so that the remaining white people - one hell of a lot of white people - can have an apparently better, minority free future.
Um... okay then.
*with their faces so covered up by clothing, and the choice of lighting in this movie, it's impossible to tell much about them at all.
|THE WOLF MAN -
Universal Pictures, Relativity Media, Stuber Productions
Screenplay: Kevin Andrew Walker, David Self
Director (s): Mark Romanek, Joe Johnston
Producer (s): Sean Daniel, Benicio Del Toro, Scott Stuber, Rick Yorn
Despite any love you may have for the work of Rudyard Kipling, there's really no need to have an East Indian manservant living in 19th Century England, but if that's what you want, Okay.
There's also no reason why there can't be minorities among your Gypsies. Especially since their "mixed blood", "mongrel" aspects are one of those things that white supremacists of that era railed against concerning their many issues with Gypsies. But hey, an all white band of Gypsies makes perfect sense too.
What doesn't make sense is why you would insist on only a single minority in your movie, and then INSIST that the minority dies while a bunch of white characters survive to the end. This is what the UNFAIR RACIAL CLICHÉ ALERT is all about. Whether you have one or many minority characters in your movie, you kill them all leaving only white survivors. And since 2000, the number of Horror Thriller movies like this coming out of Hollywood has only increased.
|PIRANHA 3D - 2010
Atmosphere Entertainment MM, Chako Film Company, Dimension Films, Intellectual Properties Worldwide, The Weinstein Company
Screenplay: Pete Goldfinger, Josh Stohlberg
Director: Alexander Aja
Producer (s): Alexandre Aja, Mark Canton, Marc Toberoff
You know the body count by now. And speaking of body count, the only minority in the whole movie, Deputy Fallon (Ving Rhames) gets chewed up by Piranhas. Now does this happen by freak accident?
Deputy Fallon knowingly gets right into the water with the hungry piranhas, grabs a outboard motor, and props all of the piranhas in front of him. NOT behind him, where they are busily EATING him. No, just in front of him. He's not saving anyone, least of all himself. But they had to do SOMETHING to keep the UNFAIR RACIAL CLICHE ALERT thriving!
Screenplay: Neil Marshall
Director: Neil Marshall
Producer (s): Christian Colson, Robert Jones
There are only two non-whites in this movie. Despite the many speaking characters in CENTURION, white people and only white people are capable of beating the odds to survive through to the end.
The African character of Macros (Noel Clarke) and the Middle East character of Tarak (Riz Ahmed), were out of place amidst all of the caucasians. They racially served no purpose within the setting, and from the start their sparsely drawn characters seem there only for purposes of body count.
|THE RIG - 2010
Offspring Productions, Workshop Films 2, Strategic Film Partners, Anchor Bay Entertainment
Screenplay: Scott Martin, Marilee A. Benson, Lori Chavez, C.W. Fallin
Director: Peter Atencio
Producer (s): James D. Benson, Lori Chavez
Of the cast of THE RIG, some folks were cast as those whose characters would die, while others were cast as those whose characters would live. Some characters got to die in acts of heroism. Some characters got to be the heroes who lived!
"That's for my brother you son of a bitch!"
Non-white actors Carmen Perez, Marcus T. Paulk, and Eric Bivens-Bush were not cast as the characters of heroes or survivors.
|SUPER 8 - 2011
Paramount Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, Bad Robot
Screenplay: J.J. Abrams
Director: J.J. Abrams
Producer (s): J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Steven Spielberg
It's a fair sized town, and it's a fair-sized group of friends. There are only two minorities in this whole picture who have any screen time. So guess what happens to them? They die. And they die in two ways which are both part of the racist lore that the Unfair Racial Cliche Alert encompasses
High School Science Teacher, Dr. Woodward (Glynn Turman, also played the high school science teacher who gets killed in GREMLINS), nobly dies while trying to save the (apparently all-white) town as well as the monstrous alien - who is really a good alien if only the evil General Nelec would stop torturing him for a minute!
Nelec's obedient, towering and silent evil
henchman, Overmyer (Richard T. Jones: EVENT HORIZON, PHONE BOOTH, TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES [TV]), dies while in the act of being evil.
Unlike earlier Spielberg productions, the kids in this group of friends are all white. I guess a Goonies racial mix wasn't good enough in 2011.
Here we are, into the second decade of the 21st Century, and among the top A-list people in Hollywood, the UNFAIR RACIAL CLICHE ALERT rolls on.
|RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES - 2011
20th Century Fox
Screenplay: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver
Director: Rupert Wyatt
Producer (s): Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver
You know, there are an awful lot of characters in this film and many among them could have been pretty much any race but white.
But in the true mode of the Hollywood RACIAL CLICHE, unless the minority is a woman who is romantically involved with the lead white actor (THE OMEGA MAN, TOTAL RECALL, THE RUNNING MAN, ERASER - Arnold Schwarzenegger did a lot of these), she is going to die. In this case, there is only a single minority woman Caroline Aranha (Frieda Pinto), who is merely a romantic cypher, doing nothing for the plot, the story, the anything except stand there and be Exposition Gal ("Why did you make the ape so smart?") or Reproachful Gal ("You shouldn't have made the ape so smart.")
Otherwise, who is she (a zooworker)? What does she do (works in a zoo)? What does her part have to do with the story or anything in this movie at all?
Well actually, without her, the entire movie is one big sausage party.
Will's boss, Steve Jacobs (David Oyelowo) is the only other minority in the movie with any screen time (there are a few scenes of minorities looking terrified but that's it). Steve isn't romantically involved with Will and as it turns out, he's evil to boot. So because he is evil (and black?), he is the only human that the apes kill with full intent.
|JOHN DIES AT THE END - 2012
Screenplay: Don Coscarelli
Director: Don Coscarelli
Producer(s): Don Coscarelli, Andy Meyers, Brad Baruh, Roman Perez
In fact, this is the most draconian RACIAL CLICHE ALERT I've ever seen in a film since Dean Koontz: PHANTOMS. No URCA has ever left me rating a movie less, but I'd sure enjoy them more if they didn't have these things. The URCA for JOHN DIES AT THE END is virtually completist, which makes it even weirder since that has never been Don's Method of Operation as a filmmaker.
Don has never earned the URCA before, and as an indie filmmaker who has had few cinematic brushes with studios, he remains an indie filmmaker.
Is Hollywood finally having an effect on him?
Because every non-white in this movie with a speaking part dies. There are plenty of white people who live, but all of the non-whites die. The minority actors were all cast as "You're going to be one of the characters who dies."
I wonder if a casting director for a Horror Thriller ever gathers together all the actors in one place and says, "Okay, all of the survivors over here and all of the dead over here."
And then looked at the result.
|OUTPOST 2: BLACK SUN - 2012
Black Camel Pictures / Cinema One / Regent Capital (in association with) Screen Gems / Sony Pictures Entertainment
Screenplay: Steve Barker, Rae Brunton
Director: Steve Barker
Producer(s): Arabella Page Croft, Kieran Parker
Only one minority / black actor with a speaking part and a name and, yep, the kind and noble Abbot (played by actor Gary McDonald) dies while protecting the white person.
|JURASSIC WORLD - 2015
Screenplay: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Producer(s): Frank Marshall, Patrick Crowley, Steven Spielberg
From 2011 to 2015 I stopped writing the UNFAIR RACIAL CLICHE ALERT.
Month after month and year after year it all just got so damn depressing.
That's not to say that the URCA stopped. Not in the least.
So I took my niece and nephew to JURASSIC WORLD where they got to see... everyone who shares their skin color Die: Just like all of the other JURASSIC PARK movies.
They are still young kids, and asking them how they liked it afterwards, they loved it. They are still at the point where kids are kids and, this being a Stephen Spielberg / Frank Marshall movie, the children live.
That doesn't change the fact that all of the non-white characters with speaking parts die and only white people survive to live happily ever after.
|THE PREDATOR - 2018
Screenplay: Shane Black, Fred Dekker
Director: Shane Black
Producer(s): Blondel Aidoo, Bill Bannerman, John Davis, Lawrence Gordon, Zachary Wanerman
I did it again. From 2015 to 2018, I stopped writing the UNFAIR RACIAL CLICHE ALERT.
Because this racist shit doesn't stop and I'm getting sick of it.
This is not to say that the movies where the URCA appears are not good movies, many are.
THE PREDATOR not only kills off every last minority in the movie, but the last black man to die does so in such an unnecessary gratuitous manner.
Then, with seconds left in the movie, they introduce a minority character with about a five second speaking part who has nothing to do with anything in the movie but anticipate the sequel.
Oh sure, that excuses everything.
So that's 101 movies and the count continues. All the Schwarzenegger, ALIEN and JURASSIC PARK movies have only white survivors - well into the second decade of the New Millennium.
I'm sure you can think of more but you get the idea. Over 55 of these movies were released in the 21st century. And I'm still counting! Which means that it is getting worse, not better. Can you believe we are still dealing with this crap? It's bad both on a racial level and a storytelling level. Again:
this is not to say that plenty of white people/characters didn't die in
these movies. What I am saying is that, in a mixed race cast, only the
white actors were cast as survivors. The black or minority folk are all
cast from the very beginning as corpses.
There are also Horror Thriller movies that don't count because nobody dies, like
THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN - There was a town full of bodies, sure, but not one of the actual characters dies. Doesn't count if there isn't a body count.
POLTERGEIST - Doesn't count if there isn't a body count.
GHOSTBUSTERS - Plenty of already dead, but nobody died within the fictional movie.
Directors that "buck" the trend:
Paul W. S. Anderson (EVENT
HORIZON, RESIDENT EVIL, RESIDENT EVIL 2, ALIEN vs PREDATOR)
just like you never know when Mr. Anderson is going to actually make a
good movie, so you never know just who will survive to the end in his
movies. But what Paul does as a Director is not what he does as a Producer when paired with his producing partner, Jeremy Bolt.
John Carpenter (HALLOWEEN, THE FOG, THE
THING, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, BIG
TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, THEY LIVE, MOUTH OF MADNESS, etc.) like Romero, sometimes they will, and sometimes they won't. Carpenter may not always make good movies, but he never takes the lazy way. That said, some of his movies don't even have minorities in them, so they couldn't count one way or the other anyway.
Coscarelli's PHANTASM movies, when they do have minority actors, don't become automatic victims. Some die, some survive, just like in real life.
Wes Craven's A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET series (the two he's responsible for) because everybody dies in those and if they didn't get it in one flick they'll bite it in the
next! Of course, that's WHEN Wes Craven has any minorities in his
movie at all!
George Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD~, DAWN OF THE DEAD~,
and DAY OF THE DEAD~ and all his other movies. Maybe the "minority" will die, maybe they won't. You just never know. Few of his films were made / financed
by Hollywood, and none of his first three "Dead" movies were backed by Hollywood. Romero is largely a Hollywood outsider like Coscarelli and Carpenter.
Quentin Tarantino as a director (PULP FICTION, KILL BILL Vol. 1, KILL
BILL Vol. 2, DEATH PROOF), has never fallen into the cliché. With all of his success, he remains a Hollywood outsider: He's not even a member of the Director's Guild.
The Warchowski Brothers' MATRIX trilogy never followed the cliché.
So 8 directors
out of hundreds and most of those are Independent producer/directors who operate outside of the Hollywood nest.
Producers that "buck" the trend:
Perhaps not surprisingly, these producers are racial minorities who both produce and star in their own movies. By calling the shots, they are removing themselves from the UNFAIR RACIAL CLICHÈ as they see fit.
Morgan Freeman: Thrillers include UNDER SUSPICION, ALONG CAME A SPIDER, which he produced and which his production company made.
Wesley Snipes: BLADE, BLADE II, BLADE III. Well come on! You kill BLADE you kill the franchise! Marvel Comics won't fly with that!
M. Night Shyamalan's THE SIXTH SENSE, UNBREAKABLE, and SIGNS didn't kill off the black/minority characters, even when they WERE evil! Perhaps it is because these men are racial minorities and no one at the studios had the gall to enforce the cliché?
Hollywood Movies that "buck" the trend:
13 GHOSTS and not one of them killed off the only "living"
black woman, the jive-talking maid.
JACOB'S LADDER: Nearly all of the minority folk, male and female lived. Then again, Carolco, which made JACOB'S LADDER, was never a major Hollywood studio. It was a short-lived independent production company created by two foreign nationals: Mario Kassar from Beirut, Lebanon, and Andrew Vajna from Budapest, Hungary.
SE7EN Not all bad guys are necessarily black.
THE BONE COLLECTOR had various people dying and not because of race, either!
X-MEN: Halle Berry is the only good mutant who isn't white. Only the bad mutants get lots of non-whites. Go figure. I think its the same reasoning with The X-Men as with BLADE! You can't kill STORM! No Halle Berry, no box office.
EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING - The movie kills off an entire tribe of black Africans, but they do allow one black child to survive. Am I detecting a loophole here? The movie was also made by two small independent studios, Morgan Creek (Los Angeles based but founder James G. Robinson makes his home in Maryland) and Dominion Productions, a consortium of investors who funded the movie.
Other movies that buck the trend are:
DRAG ME TO HELL,
FINAL DESTINATION - I dunno, you think that the fact that it was created by a non-white guy (Jeffrey Reddick) and co-wrote by three guys, two of whom are minorities, and directed by an Asian guy (James Wong) is the reason they chose not to kill off all of the minorities? I'm just wondering. Again, perhaps it is because these men are racial minorities that no one at the studios had the gall to enforce the cliché?
THE MUMMY RETURNS - made while Universal Pictures was owned by a Canadian company (Seagrams)
TOMB RAIDER - made by 9 different companies, only one of which was a Hollywood company (Paramount), and seven of which were foreign owned corporations.
If there are exceptions within the Hollywood Race Rule to be made, it will usually be
the Horror comedy, which aren't meant to have high body counts regardless
GHOSTBUSTERS, GHOSTBUSTERS 2, HOUSE, HOUSE 2, were total comedies. Black
character in GHOSTBUSTERS is a hero.
IDLE HANDS also had the black character as a hero. But yes, high bloody body count.
MARS ATTACKS! Lots of people die, lots of people live. High body count, but survivability was not based on race.
MEN IN BLACK movies were Horror comedies with little horror despite the monsters. BUT- they did have deadly alien monsters. Black character is a hero.
EVOLUTION was meant to be a comedy and it had a deadly alien
monster. Nobody is really a hero. This movie also referenced the fact that a RACIAL CLICHÉ existed and that they weren't going to follow it.
So there are exceptions to be sure, 22 to be exact. Raising the number of total Horror Thriller movies with minorities in them to 123. And of that 123, 101 have the URCA (so far). Curiously, this RACIAL CLICHÉ seems to have started in the 1960s: At the same
time black / Afro American / Negro etc. people started showing up in Hollywood
films in far greater numbers. There were hardly any black people in earlier
Horror / Thriller movies. Even episodes of the TWILIGHT ZONE were nearly
all white - except in those rare cases where Rod Serling wanted a storyline about minorities
kept down by the man. Otherwise he wouldn't hire them.
Some people have commented on some of the large gaps between years of the movies
on this list as well as the many Horror/Thriller movies I don't include.
Presumably with the suspicion that I am not posting movies that contradict
my theory. Obviously that isn't the case, since I clearly DO post
those contradictory flicks (DUHHH!). It's just
that there are an Awful lot of Horror & Thriller movies that
don't even have any racial minorities (as characters) in them at all (THE THING FROM OUTER SPACE, ROSEMARY'S
BABY, THE EXORCIST, THE OMEN, THE DEVIL'S RAIN, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (both), THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (1979), EVIL DEAD, ARMY OF DARKNESS, THE OTHERS, FROM HELL, THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES, THE X-FILES: FIGHT THE FUTURE, THE RING), and in addition, there are an Awful lot of Hollywood made Horror & Thriller
movies that I'm sure I haven't seen.
Still ... the list grows.
*References, in the movie, that a "Racial Cliché" exists. It
is rumored that L.L. Cool J (HALLOWEEN H20, DEEP BLUE SEA) has a clause in his contracts stating that
his character won't die in a Horror/ Thriller/ Monster movie. When asked
directly in an interview about that rumor, he laughed and neither confirmed
or denied it.