It's been just a couple of weeks since Us hit theaters, but the film has already become one of the most successful horror films in cinema. Even when Jordan Peele was directing short skits on Key & Peele, his talent for horror was clear as day. If there was any doubt about that back then, it disappeared with the release of his first feature horror film, Get Out, in 2017. Several months later in June 2018, it was reported that the Academy Award-winning writer and director had pitched a film to Disney: A film adaptation of the cult classic animated series Gargoyles.
It's been nine months since that report came out, and while Disney hasn't officially rejected his pitch, the project hasn't developed into anything more than an idea. It's a shame, because now is the perfect time for it, and Peele is the perfect filmmaker to put to together. Here's why.
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Contemporary Hollywood horror films generally revolve around monsters or killers chasing, terrorizing or gradually eliminating a small group of people that is more or less comprised of several intentionally underdeveloped archetypes, save for the main protagonist. Of course, you'll find a number of exceptions and numerous variations, but that is -- again, generally speaking -- the formula for the majority of the genre. Peele does not follow the formula.
Get Out and Us featured monsters (in a sense) that killed characters off, but it was never for its own sake. Those films were not just horror films.
This was especially true for Get Out, which many critics agree possessed a mix of different genre elements. Its themes revolved around racism and slavery. That was made evident from the beginning in its depiction of the kind of prejudice that is unfortunately commonplace in the real world, from unjust traffic stops to the metaphorical exploration of race-driven anxiety in modern society.
The familiar trappings of a psychological horror film are still present, they just don't take precedence over the deeply unsettling themes. The same can be said for Us, even if the film does feature more blood and jump scares.
Peele's most recent horror masterpiece is a combination of different horror subgenres. The first half is very much a home invasion film, followed by what can easily be described as an event akin to a zombie apocalypse. The reason why Peele is able to shift between these two vastly different types of films is because the murderous doppelgängers featured in the plot are more than just eerie film monsters, they serve to illustrate the underlying messages of Us. What those messages are is largely left up to the audience.
That's one more thing unique to Peele's horror films in modern cinema. They both serve as commentary on modern day society and leave plenty of room for interpretation so that everyone can walk away with a slightly different experience of the films.
So, Get Out and Us show that Jordan Peele knows what he's doing. What does that have to do with Gargoyles? To answer that, let's take a look a what the series actually was.