Later, Weekes saw The Wizard Of Oz and wondered, “Why are these white people acting like they’re in The Wiz?” A funny anecdote, but also, he says, an example of “how, growing up, the stuff I watched was more based in African-American stuff.” Which probably wasn’t easy given Weekes gravitated towards horror movies (first the Scream series, and then the slashers it riffed on – Halloween, Friday The 13th, A Nightmare On Elm Street – and finally heritage titles such as Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist and The Shining), a genre that’s hardly known for representation and diversity.
“Growing up, watching movies, you kind of expect most films that you enjoy to not really have much Black representation in them, period,” he says. “It’s not just horror films, but films. I think for most people who are not straight white men, you have to come to terms with your hero. The films you love tend to not include other points of view. What’s exciting now is that gradually there’s more people coming through the doors who are not straight white men, and that will only enrichen the filmmaking culture.”
Weekes’ excellent debut, His House, is certainly an enriching experience, using the haunted-house sub-genre to examine the traumatic experience undergone by so many asylum seekers. Written by Weekes from a story by Felicity Evans and Toby Venables, it tells of Bol (Gangs Of London’s Dìrísù) and Rial (Lovecraft Country’s Wunmi Mosaku), a married couple who wind up in a detention centre in England having fled war-torn South Sudan. En route, they lost their young daughter to the perilous ocean crossing, and their grief is still raw when they are finally homed on an estate by case worker Mark (Matt Smith). The neighbours are far from welcoming and the house is shabby, but racial abuse and faulty electrics prove the least of their worries when scuttles and whispers start to emanate from the walls. And that’s just the start of it…
You can read up to 3 premium stories before you subscribe to Magzter GOLD
Log in, if you are already a subscriber
Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories, newspapers and 5,000+ magazines
READ THE ENTIRE ISSUE