'Scream: Resurrection': How VH1's meta-slasher deals with one of horror's most problematic tropes

After three years in production hell, Ghostface is back in the third season of the hit movie franchise's TV adaptation. The show is set to air on VH1 and its latest trailer references a very messed up trope in horror fiction


                            'Scream: Resurrection': How VH1's meta-slasher deals with one of horror's most problematic tropes

'Scream' fans, the wait is over. Everybody's favorite Ghostface killer is back in a new miniseries that's as meta as ever.

The third season of the hit horror movie franchise’s television adaptation is finally coming to screens, after spending three years in limbo. 'Scream: Resurrection' has moved from its old home on MTV and is set to air as an event series on VH1 starting on July 8, 2019.

On July 3, a trailer for the new season (which reboots the show) was dropped and it deals with a certain badly-kept secret that the vast majority of horror fans would be familiar with. It's something that has its roots in the social and political climate of the genre's past but despite the passage of time, horror films have struggled to truly shake this trope. It's racist, sexist and some might suggest symptomatic of Hollywood pushing "representation for representation's sake".

Without further ado, we present to you: the "Black Dude Dies First" trope.

It is an unwritten rule in the horror genre that the minority character is almost always the first one to kick the proverbial bucket. While some films and shows have attempted to subvert the trope or drop it altogether, "Black Dude Dies First" is still common in the genre.

This highly problematic trope has expanded beyond just targeting black males and has spread to mean that literally any minority character in the movie/show will be killed off in the beginning in order to capture the audience’s sympathy, prove how dangerous the killer is or provide the character a (sort-of) heroic death, all while allowing the white characters to spend more time on screen. Incidentally, the only character to survive the serial killer/monster/ghost at the end of the movie is usually a straight white girl, probably a virgin and almost always a brunette.

Phil Stevens (Omar Epps) is the first one to die in 'Scream 2' (1997). (IMDb)

Don’t believe us? Check out these examples:

The black science teacher is the first death in 'Gremlins'.

In 'Evil Dead' (2013), Olivia, the only non-white cabin member, is the first to die.

In 'The Shining', Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) kills only one character in the entire film, Dick Halloran played by Scatman Crothers.

There are plenty of other examples out there but these should suffice to prove the point.

The 'Scream' franchise has made a name for itself with its meta takes on the horror genre and 'Scream: Resurrection' is no different. The season features a predominantly black cast and the show's "basket case" character (who is white) points out in the trailer that their race puts them at a disadvantage.

"Don’t take this the wrong way but you guys are black," she explains. "In horror, that's pretty much an instant kill."



 

We can probably expect 'Scream: Resurrection' to subvert the trope or at least play it for laughs when it finally comes out. But just the fact that the show decided to address the problem is a huge step forward in itself.

'Scream: Resurrection' stars RJ Cyler, CJ Wallace, Keke Palmer, Tyga, Giorgia Whigham, Jessica Sula, Giullian Yao Gioiello, Tyler Posey, and Mary J Blige, along with Paris Jackson.

The show will run on VH1 from July 8 to July 10 as a special event.

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