It isn’t hard to find horror movies chockablock with horrible Native stereotypes and themes. The most recent coming to mind are Avenged (formerly titled and still titled in international markets as Savaged) and Eli Roth’s racist exploitation flick, Green Inferno. However, there are Indigenous filmmakers creating horror films that don’t revolve around shamans granting mystical powers to non-natives so they can seek revenge; Native cannibals that prefer human flesh over that of the livestock they raise; or ancient burial grounds inhabited by evil Native spirits. There aren’t too many, but we were able to put together a small list of Native created horror films. If you know of any more, please let us know on Facebook or Twitter.
Here’s our list of Must See Horror Films by Indigenous Filmmakers
1. RHYMES FOR YOUNG GHOULS
Red Crow Mi’g Maq reservation, 1976: By government decree, every Indian child under the age of 16 must attend residential school. In the kingdom of the Crow, that means imprisonment at St. Dymphna’s. That means being at the mercy of “Popper”, the sadistic Indian agent who runs the school.
Violet is an award-winning psychological thriller written and directed by Mark D. Williams (Choctaw) of Native Boy Productions. Violet tells the story of an escaped mental patient and the dark secrets surrounding her death. The movie features a largely native cast, starring Delno Ebie, Happy Frejo, Jeff S. Anderson and Kelly Sumpter.
3. HE CAN’T BE CAUGHT
Creative Spirit productions “He Can’t Be Caught” is a short film written by Clementine Bordeaux and directed by James Lujan. Starring Eva Thomas, Ian James and Kalani Queypo. The movie takes place on Halloween night on an Indian reservation. The night brings out pranksters and possibly real monsters when a young couple encounters what may or may not be the legendary monster Bigfoot.
4. THESE WALLS
Troubled teen, MARY, is returning to her home reserve from the nearby town where she works. While taking a short cut across a deserted part of the reserve, her car breaks down near the dreaded Indian residential school. While on the phone to her mother, residential school survivor CLAIRE, warns her to stay away from the school.
Mary ignores the warning. She sees Father Kelly’s car and is drawn to the school with the hope of catching a ride to the village. Once near the school, the sound of a baby’s cry entices her into the building. She is quickly swept into a world beyond her reality, where she sees the past and for the first time understands the grief that torments her mother. When she returns to the present, she must fight to rescue the bones of the missing and murdered babies of the Indian residential school in order to right the old wrongs and release the spirits of the babies.
5. THE DEAD CAN’T DANCE
Three Comanche men discover they are somehow immune to a mysterious plague that is killing everyone else and turning them into zombies. As they escape to a remote school on the Kansas countryside, they find that survival isn’t the only lesson they will learn.
6. THE AMAUTALIK
Two young friends are spending a day away from their camp. Unfortunately for them, an ancient land spirit–an amautalik–is also in the area. This is more for kids, but let’s be honest our folklore is scary as hell.
7. THE CANDY MEISTER
Four close friends have entered a radio contest to determine who can stay at the most spooky haunted location overnight. The group of 4 take a sweet candy truck to their location to earn more points in the contest. The haunted location they’ve chosen is a First Nations Residential School with a violent history. A demonic nun is conjured up from her final resting place after one of the four is brutally murdered, a trickster from across the galaxy arrives and more death ensues.
8.THE BURDEN OF BEING
In the year 2061, where only one utilitarian race — known as ‘The Nation’ — is recognized, a Native American man is imprisoned for speaking his ancient tribal language.
A young boy and his grandmother become unlikely serial killers in a quest to eliminate his father’s girlfriends, in this boldly original spin on the vampire genre.