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Black Horror Films: Open The Door (2017)

This season's American Horror Story kicked off with the devastation for many of us that was the election of Donald Trump as the United States' 45th president. Here, the weight of the devastation revolves around a privileged, white queer woman (Sarah Paulson's Ally) and her personal anxieties about what this election means to her. Certain Black creators are using the 2016 election as a catalyst to tell stories from the varying perspectives of people of color.

Taylor Black, founder of Black Balance Productions seeks to "empower, educate, and liberate" Black women through the visual arts. With a heavy investment in utilizing the horror genre to "highlight the fears of African Americans in America as well as diversify the genre," Black Balance chooses to remain on the edge of social relevance by telling stories that have stark effects on our present. Open The Door, is a horror short that initiates their upcoming feature, Baada 11/9. Each entrenched in the same universe, Black and her production team are working hard on creeping into audiences' consciousness with the unfortunate evergreen commentary of how political theater and policy informs destructive acts of racism.

*From The Press Release

On November 8th, 2016, two friends decide to take a ride to relieve the stress that college usually brings on by hot boxing in a car. As they bond, they begin to wonder if they're alone. Are they paranoid? Or is their someone waiting for them at the door?

Open the Door is a short film based on the 2016 election. Our goal with this film is to highlight the horror in America’s current political state while diversifying the genre known as horror. We do this by placing two African American women, Mia (Demoure Breen) and Alexis (Sydney Spencer) in a realistic situation on the night Donald Trump was elected to create the atmosphere of the real-life horror we’re trying to focus on.

Alexis and Mia have differing perspectives on the troublesome news at hand in nuanced ways. Considering Open The Door is a short, we wanted to convey action and quirks without heavy dialogue. Additionally, it was purposeful to demonstrate varying approaches (non-celebratory) to the president-elect announcement in 2016.

When creating the bringing horror to our film, we decided to go the traditional route (jump scares, heart beats). The most important thing was making it a realistic situation that somehow turned left. Our villain (hooded figure) does that by casting over the young women as a shadow. There has been a spike in hate crimes and many more sightings of people who are members of extremist groups. We brought all of this together for a election night horror in the hopes that would keep peoples minds buzzing while we finish a bigger project, Baada 11/9.

Baada 11/9 is also a film that is based around the election and serves as a deeper conversation about what there is to be afraid of in the next four years. In our world, all of these events (Baada 11/9 and Open the Door) are all happening at once and collide to scare our audiences.

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