The Black Guy Dies First

Book Review – “The Black Guy Dies First” – Wait…is that right?!

The Black Guy Dies First. Wait…that isn’t right…is it?!?!

The Black Guy Dies First

Answering this, and more, The Black Guy Dies First, is a deep dive into Black horror cinema. Robin R. Means, Ph.D., and Mark H. Harris leave no stone unturned in outlining the struggles, and accomplishments of Black creatives in horror.

Starting with Mantan Moreland (Spider Baby) and Duane Jones (Night of the Living Dead), TBGDF documents these groundbreaking performances, and details the evolution, and devolution, of the roles Blacks have played both in front of, and behind the cameras in our beloved genre.

Duane Jones - Night of the Living Dead

Supporting all of their positions with raw data compiled while analyzing virtually any horror film with Black actors in an onscreen role (yes, they mostly don’t die first…but around 45% meet an unnatural end), the book never falls into a clinical snoozefest of boring factoids. The authors really strive to inject the prose with generous helpings of humor. That makes for a comfortable, compelling read.

Chapters about the various ages of horror film, and Black creatives involved, are broken up by little sub-chapters on everything from a list of common stereotype characters to an exceptionally fun “Frequent Diers Awards” (SPOILER ALERT! Tony Todd for the WIN!!). And all of your favorite films are covered too—from Blacula to Tyler Perry’s Boo! films, to acclaimed director Jordan Peele’s recent masterpieces.

When you finish it (it took me about a day and a half) Shudder’s excellent documentary Horror Noire is the perfect companion piece to this fascinating study.


A smart, focused, witty, and fun read, The Black Guy Dies First will definitely open some eyes to the struggles Black creatives have had in the realm of horror to gain the tenuous foothold they have today, and it offers something everyone can use in today’s society—perspective.

It also may just open your eyes to some films that you need to see, and that’s always a win for horror fans of any color!

The book is on sale now. Get your copy on Amazon today!

About Tom Gleba

A life long fan of horror and ridiculous metal, I've spent my life: watching horror films, writing about them, occasionally making them, collecting them on physical media, and struggling to find meaning in Fulci's "Manhattan Baby"...

Check Also

Yellow Veil Pictures Acquires Erotic Thriller Documentary, ‘WE KILL FOR LOVE’

Yellow Veil Pictures has acquired director Anthony Penta’s (The Last Thing She Wanted) new documentary …

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.