Horror Icon Jordan Peele’s Wants You to Watch These 10 Movies

Horror Icon Jordan Peele’s Wants You to Watch These 10 Movies
Image credit: Miramax, Legion-Media, Universal Pictures

These projects will give you a better understanding of the work of one of the most brilliant horror directors of our time.

Jordan Peele's directorial debut in 2017 became a real sensation. The former comedian, who gave up acting, directed the satirical horror Get Out, which received four Oscar nods, including the unthinkable combination of Best Picture, Director and Screenplay for a debutant.

These ten movies Jordan Peele loves and often mentions in interviews help understand how Get Out and the director's other films – Us and Nope – work.

1. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, 1967

The main characters of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner are two young people, a white girl, Joanna, and a black man, John, who decide to get married. The couple goes to Joanna's parents for approval, but they don’t like their daughter's idea.

Plot-wise, Jordan Peele most frequently compares Get Out to a hybrid of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and The Stepford Wives. Get Out takes a similar premise, but instead of a sentimental drama with a happy ending, it turns into a dark and gruesome horror.

2. The Stepford Wives, 1972

Joanna, her husband and their children move to quiet Stepford. At first glance, the town seems to be perfectly normal, but it turns out that all the women are programmed machines. The robots created by the patriarchy are not interested in anything but housework.

Jordan Peele sees the movie about female robots and Rosemary's Baby as a reflection of women's phobia of the patriarchy, which takes away women's right to their own bodies and identities.

3. The Birds, 1963

Melanie meets a lawyer and decides to visit him. The man lives with his mother, who is overly jealous and cares for her only son. At the same time, an inexplicable catastrophe approaches the seaside town and the woman finds herself in the middle of an apocalyptic bird attack.

One of Jordan Peele's favorite directors is the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. Among his extensive filmography, the comedian often mentions Rear Window and Psycho, but specifically singles out The Birds.

4. The People Under the Stairs, 1991

Wes Craven's flick tells about a young black boy from the Los Angeles ghetto who, in an attempt to earn some extra money, sneaks into the home of wealthy white conservatives, where he discovers kidnapped children in the basement who have been turned into cannibals. The villains in The People Under the Stairs are a pair of sadistic patriots.

One of horror legend Wes Craven's most underrated and overlooked films is about to get a new life – Jordan Peele is planning a remake, and the project is already in early development.

5. Scream, 1996

Another cult movie from Wes Craven. A small town is terrified by a series of murders committed by a mysterious madman in a mask already known to the whole world.

A parody of genre cliches, Scream manages to be both scary and hilarious. Jordan Peele didn’t want the viewers to be in a constant state of tension, so the character of Rod in the debut Get Out serves as a kind of comic relief. Jordan Peele admits that he borrowed this trait from Scream.

6. It Follows, 2014

Jay wakes up tied up after a date with her boyfriend. He explains that he passed the curse on to her through sexual contact. Now an unknown monster will follow Jay everywhere and eventually kill the girl. There is only one way out – to continue passing the curse along the chain.

While working on his debut, Jordan Peele watched almost no modern horror films, but he still saw some of the new works and acknowledges their quality and influence. In particular, Peele mentions David Robert Mitchell's It Follows.

7. The ‘Burbs, 1989

According to the plot, the main characters, residents of the suburbs, including a young Tom Hanks, have doubts about their new neighbors, the Klopek family. Their paranoia drives them to an extreme: they burn down the house where the family lives. The irony is that the Klopeks are actually responsible for a number of deaths.

Jordan Peele's directorial vision was born at the intersection of horror and comedy. So it comes as no surprise that one of his favorite films is Joe Dante's black comedy with an absurdist sense of humor so close to Peele's own.

8. Night of the Living Dead, 1968

A movie by the great George A. Romero, who created zombies as we know them today. Barbra and her brother arrive at their father's grave when they are suddenly attacked by an aggressive man. Barbra locks herself in a nearby house in the company of strangers, while their new hideout is attacked by the flesh-eating dead.

Peele believes that in the zombie-besieged house, racial dynamics can be clearly observed. The white Barbra is shocked, but it is unclear whether this is because the dead are roaming around or because she is in a confined space with a black man who has become a hero to her.

9. Halloween, 1978

Young Michael Myers commits the bloody murder of his own sister. The quiet child is sent to a psychiatric hospital, from which he escapes 15 years later, returning to his hometown dressed in overalls and a gray rubber mask.

Peele considers Halloween one of the greatest slashers in history (as do we all) and calls Myers his favorite horror villain. In addition, the very first scene of Get Out is a nod to the cult horror – Andre wanders into the suburbs, where he is kidnapped by a man in a helmet.

10. The Shining, 1980

Jordan Peele borrows some plot devices from The Shining. For example, Chris' walk through the house gives the audience clues as to what decorative elements will be used later in the most intense scenes. Remember the evil twins Danny encounters in The Shining? This is also how Chris first sees the unnaturally frozen maid.

Also, in one of the airport scenes in Get Out, the dispatcher's voice announces Flight 237 – which is the number of the cursed room at the Overlook Hotel.