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What Is a Black Horror Movie?

The horror-thriller Master, written and directed by Mariama Diallo, and starring Regina Hall (Girls Trip, Insecure, Nine Perfect Strangers), is the latest in what seems like a new genre of scary movies that address racism in America. 

Photo: Master, from Amazon Studios and Director Miriama Diallo.
Photo: Master, from Amazon Studios and Director Miriama Diallo.
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What is the Horror Movie Master About?

Master is about an elite college, which may be haunted by a witch.

Photo: Master, from Amazon Studios and Director Miriama Diallo.
Photo: Master, from Amazon Studios and Director Miriama Diallo.
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It's also about, black women, both on the student track and the professorship, rising up to reach the same potential as their white peers. Regina Hall plays Gail Bishop, the first black Master at the school.

Watch the Trailer for Master from Amazon Studios

Is Master Based on Real People?

A subplot of Master involves (spoiler alert) a woman who may or may not be who she portrays herself to be. She may, in fact, be a white woman pretending to be African American. Talk about cultural appropriation!

Photo: Master, from Amazon Studios and Director Miriama Diallo.
Photo: Master, from Amazon Studios and Director Miriama Diallo.
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Sounds crazy, right? Who would fall for that? Except it actually happened at Eastern Washington University with former teacher (they say she was never a Professor) Rachel Dolezal.

She was exposed by former KXLY Spokane reporter Jeff Humphries, who, apparently, had better eyes than anyone at the school. This apparent "suspension of disbelief" is referenced in Master.

Photo: Master, from Amazon Studios and Director Miriama Diallo.
Photo: Master, from Amazon Studios and Director Miriama Diallo.
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Dolezal was even president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, but resigned when the controversy erupted. For her part, Dolezal has said many times that she “identifies as black.”

Embedded video and screenshot of Rachel Dolezal courtesy KXLY News 4 Now.
Embedded video and screenshot of Rachel Dolezal courtesy KXLY News 4 Now.
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Was the Horror Movie Master Inspired by Rachel Dolezal?

Director Diallo hasn’t said anything specific in public, but in my opinion, it's a hard YES.  Of course, there's also the George Washington University case of Jessica Krug, because ideas have a way of spreading. Master touches on why someone might pretend to be black.

Photo: Master, from Amazon Studios and Director Miriama Diallo.
Photo: Master, from Amazon Studios and Director Miriama Diallo.
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Is Master a Scary Movie?

Master is a good fright flick, delivering lots of unnerving suspense and startling nightmare imagery. It will have you looking over your shoulder or grabbing on to someone close while also making you think about things like microaggressions.

Photo: Master, from Amazon Studios and Director Miriama Diallo.
Photo: Master, from Amazon Studios and Director Miriama Diallo.
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Of course, the real villain of the film is racism, which makes its targets feel alienated and isolated and fills them with fear.

Photo: Master, from Amazon Studios and Director Miriama Diallo.
Photo: Master, from Amazon Studios and Director Miriama Diallo.
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And if you’re white, the terror ends when the film is over. Lucky you.

Photo: Master, from Amazon Studios and Director Miriama Diallo.
Photo: Master, from Amazon Studios and Director Miriama Diallo.
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