Get Out is one of the most powerful, resonant horror films in recent American history—in fact, through the midpoint of 2017 it topped our list of the best films of the year to date. The directorial debut of comedian Jordan Peele was a crackling, high-energy thriller that succeeded on every level one could measure it: As populist entertainment; as a righteous indictment of white fetishization; and as a largely unexpected box office smash hit. Or as we wrote then:
Put indelicately, Get Out is about being black and surrounded by whites who squeeze your biceps without asking, who fetishize you to your face, who analyze your blackness as if it’s a fashion trend. At best Chris’s ordeal is bizarre and dizzying, the kind of thing he might bitterly chuckle about in retrospect. At worst it’s a setup for such macabre developments as are found in the domain of horror. That’s the finest of lines Peele and Get Out walk without stumbling.
Naturally, the power and success of Get Out has already inspired a lot of study and introspection, which is now reaching the institutional level. At UCLA, a university always associated with its film program, professor Tananarive Due is now teaching a course called “Sunken Place: Racism, Survival, and the Black Horror Aesthetic,” which is heavily inspired by Get Out and seeks to dissect and analyze black horror films. As she told Gizmodo in a recent interview about the course, “It never dawned on me that I could have a black horror course before Get Out.”
That already sounds like a pretty appealing way to earn a few film credits, but the real surprise for students was the special guest for the first class—none other than Peele himself, who was apparently smuggled into the back row, where he sat unnoticed until answering a question from Due. As he made his way to the front of the class, the students unsurprisingly erupted in surprise and applause. The moment was caught via a series of tweets from Due, and acknowledged by Peele himself. A pretty awesome way to kick off the semester, if we do say so ourselves.
As a burgeoning filmmaker, Peele is a busy man these days. He has at least three projects in the works that we’ve reported on: A TV drama about nazi hunters in the ‘70s, following WWII; an HBO series called Lovecraft Country that is exploring some of the same racial horrors as Get Out; and an unknown 2019 feature film that is sure to get plenty of attention as well. In the meantime, check out the reactions of the class via tweet as Peele dropped in to blow their minds.