With news of Jordan Peele’s double feature Get Out and Us arriving on Netflix in time for spooky season, we thought it was a great time to delve deeper into the director’s love of horror movies and his favourite scene ever. Peele’s transition from comedy to horror has been seamless, with many fans claiming that his background in comedy elevates his understanding of horror cinema.
The director of modern gems like Get Out and Us has been transparent about his horror influences from the beginning of his directorial career. Citing the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Roman Polanski, Peele is well-versed in the language of horror used by 20th-century pioneers, but he is also interested in contemporaries like Jonathan Glazer.
While talking about one of his favourite horror films, Peele said: “Under the Skin, for me, is a special film. It has one of those aesthetics that as a filmmaker you watch and you’re like, ‘how did Jonathan Glazer even do that?’ Everything looks so specific, the photography is so beautiful, that movie has a perfect score.”
However, one horror masterpiece reigns supreme in Peele’s mind, and it belongs to none other than the legendary Stanley Kubrick. In almost all of his interviews, he has noted the influence of Kubrick on his work and has often claimed that understanding The Shining was pivotal for his evolution as a horror director.
According to Peele, the magic of The Shining is in its “subtlety, an attention to almost a subconscious level of perception of something creepy going on. It’s just unsettling, and I don’t think anyone’s really done a horror movie that well since.”
Although some fans of Stephen King’s source material often criticise Kubrick’s adaptation for deviating from the novel, Peele believes it is the quintessential horror experience. Not only that, he has also noted that Kubrick’s 1980 masterpiece had some of the “scariest scares of just about any movie.”
Other than its atmospheric horror and its perfect use of the language of horror cinema, Peele is particularly fond of one special shot in The Shining. In an interview this year, he cited the shot of Shelley Duval running from the ominous Overlook Hotel with a knife as his “favourite horror movie shot of all time.” Peele also paid tribute to The Shining in Nope by borrowing inspiration from the iconic elevator shot and replacing the elevator with an extra-terrestrial entity.