Get Tickets NOPE opens July 22nd
The term “horror auteur” is never one to be used lightly. It has previously been attributed to filmmakers like HALLOWEEN co-creator John Carpenter, George A. Romero — the father of the modern zombie — or A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET helmer Wes Craven, who would later parody the genre that made him famous with the SCREAM movies. These days, the most popular and widely celebrated person to earn the title would have to be Jordan Peele.
However, it is still a little odd to think of the writer and director of the upcoming sci-fi thriller NOPE — which hits theatres July 22nd — as a horror auteur. To be clear, while we agree he certainly has the talent to earn the title, it is still very fascinating that one of the most trusted names in inspiring laughs is now one of most trusted names in serving up scares, and with a side order of thought-provoking social commentary. Let’s take a deeper look at both Jordan Peele the comedian and Jordan Peele the horror master in the following breakdown of his storied career so far.
His Start In Comedy
While he got his start on the Amsterdam-based comedy group Boom Chicago and the — coincidentally — Chicago-based group Second City, many people likely remember becoming familiar with Jordan Peele as part of the cast of “MADtv” from 2003 to 2009. Of course, it was with his co-star, Keegan-Michael Key, that he would later take the comedy world by storm on their own Comedy Central sketch series — aptly titled “Key & Peele” — from 2012 to 2015.
Between then, Peele showed up in movies like 2010’s LITTLE FOCKERS — his first major motion picture — and WANDERLUST in 2012, which would to lead to more prominent roles in animated hits like 2016’s STORKS, 2017’s CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS: THE FIRST EPIC MOVIE and 2019’s TOY STORY 4, which saw him reunite with Key. The duo’s first collaboration following the end of their hit show, however, was the 2016 action-comedy KEANU, but both have also lent their voices to “Bob’s Burgers” as various characters. Of course, Peele is the one reprising his character, Fanny, in 2022’s THE BOB’S BURGERS MOVIE.
Despite his “creepier” reputation these days, there are still plenty of funny projects the co-creator of TBS’ “The Last O.G.” is currently involved in. For instance, he is set to return to Netflix’s “Big Mouth” cast for its upcoming sixth season and he has another project in the works with his buddy Key, but more on that later. Right now, let’s talk about his scary side.
Turning His Talent Toward Horror
Given the number of times “Key and Peele” has taken inspiration from horror or parodied the genre in sketches, it is hard to believe that we did not see Jordan Peele’s career in scary movies coming sooner. However, many may not have predicted the degree of success he would achieve and the profound impact on the genre he would inspire as quickly as he did.
It all started with his 2017 directorial debut, GET OUT — starring Daniel Kaluuya as a young, Black photographer whose cautionary demeanor when meeting his white girlfriend’s family turns out to be horrifyingly valid. The clever and poignant thriller was a massive critical and commercial success that earned Peele an Academy AwardⓇ for Best Original Screenplay in 2018. The following year, he pulled a triple threat by producing the YouTube Premium anthology series “Weird City,” filling in for Rod Serling as executive producer and host for the latest reboot of the “The Twilight Zone” and releasing his chilling sophomore directorial effort, US.
In 2020, Peele served as executive producer alongside J.J. Abrams and Misha Green for HBO’s series adaptation of Matt Ruff’s novel, “Lovecraft Country” — an inventive piece of revisionist history involving magic and monsters in the age of racial discrimination. That same year, we also could have seen director Nia DaCosta’s visceral and insightful CANDYMAN “requel” — which Peele co-wrote and produced — if not for the Covid-19 pandemic delaying it until the summer of 2021.
What Laughs And Thrills He Has Next
Fans of Jordan Peele’s invigorating and groundbreaking work in the horror genre should have no “fear,” for he is not done making features that are sure to haunt your nightmares. However, fans of the artist’s comedic talents also have nothing to worry about as he is not done making us laugh either.
One of the most anticipated horror movies of 2022 is NOPE — Peele’s third feature as a writer and director that also marks his first reunion with OscarⓇ winner Daniel Kaluuya since GET OUT and his first time working with HUSTLERS’ Keke Palmer and MINARI’s Oscar-nominated star Steven Yeun. The overall plot is still relatively mysterious at this point, but the promotional material heavily suggests that it marks a return of the alien invasion movie, and a very, very creepy one at that.
In addition to that July release, Peele is also executive producing -- through MonkeyPaw Productions -- the upcoming satire HONK FOR JESUS. SAVE YOUR SOUL., which is being released simultaneously in theatres and on Peacock September 2nd. This year will also see his onscreen reunion with Keegan-Michael Key when they voice the demonic title characters of WENDELL AND WILD — a stop-motion horror comedy from THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS director Henry Selick that is expected to hit Netflix in October.
The horror genre has never been so strong and being a fan of scary movies has never been so exciting. I think that we all owe Jordan Peele some massive credit for helping make this new era in the art of fright a reality and equal praise for the laughs he has brought us over the years, too. We cannot wait to see more!
Get Tickets NOPE opens July 22nd