Culture Crash 19-14: Sketch Comic Becomes Movies’ Hottest Horror Director


Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine what’s new and old in entertainment.

In 2017, Jordan Peele released Get Out, his directorial debut, and was met with a storm of praise and accolades. The film silenced any doubts about a sketch comic becoming a horror director and even earned Peele an Oscar for its screenplay.

Of course, it still remained to be determined as to whether or not Peele would be able to replicate his success and net another big win with a sophomore effort. That film is called Us and it was released a few weeks ago. Us follows a woman and her family on their relaxing vacation, which grows tense when a family that looks exactly like them comes to visit. Pretty quickly, that tension ratchets up to full-on horror.

Us opened to a thunderous boom at the box office, earning $70 million in its first weekend––a record for an original horror movie. It appears we have a new brand-name in filmmaking, joining the likes of Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino as directors who can fill seats simply with the power of their own name.

Beyond just his marketability though, Peele is giving us something movie fans have been craving for decades: thoughtful, intentional horror movies with something to say. His movies aren’t just cheap thrills and haunted cell phones. Both of Peele’s movies have been jam-packed with social commentary, thematically perfect music selections, and spine-tingling moments that will resonate even after the credits roll. Every moment of a Jordan Peele movie is now something to analyze. Every board game in the background, every VHS tape on the shelf–they all mean something, and half the fun is in parsing through what those all suggest.

If Get Out announced Peele’s arrival, then Us has declared his staying power and audiences everywhere can’t wait to see what else he has in store.

I’m Evan Rook. 

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Culture Crash 18-43: Netflix’s Binge-worthy Horror Drama, The Haunting of Hill House

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture. What’s new and old in entertainment.

It’s the week of Halloween, which means it’s the time of year to get a little spooked. Luckily, Netflix has your back.

Earlier this month, Netflix released The Haunting of Hill House, a 10-episode horror series loosely based on the novel of the same name by Shirley Jackson. The series follows the Crain family; two parents and five children, over the course of multiple timelines. We watch their time spent decades earlier in the Hill House, a creepy old mansion they moved into in an effort to flip the house, and we watch them in the present day. We know from the onset that whatever happened back in that mansion, it wasn’t good, and it still haunts them even now. 

It’s a scary show, and there are moments of pure horror, but mostly, it builds a lot of suspense. It’s also a well-done family drama. It features sibling rivalry, mental illness, drug addiction- it’s like This Is Us crossed with…The Shining.

Where many horror shows can feel like they exist just to gross us out with gore, this show feels created with a purpose. It will suck you in, thrill you, and haunt you. Perfect for a Halloween-week binge-watch.

The Haunting of Hill House is available to stream on Netflix now.

I’m Evan Rook.