Arguably, there is no film in the previous few decades that had as much of an impact on mainstream and independent cinema as Jordan Peele’s Get Out, a thriller that immediately struck a chord with audiences upon its release in 2017. Ever since then, Peele has been considered an innovative, pertinent filmmaker, capable of subverting expectations and providing consistently entertaining pieces of cinema.
Following up his Oscar-winning 2017 thriller with the complex social drama Us two years later, director Jordan Peele quickly became one of the most sought after names in contemporary cinema. Acting as the executive producer of the modern series of The Twilight Zone as well as the original TV concept Lovecraft Country, Peele has also continued to innovate contemporary horror by serving as the producer for Nia DaCosta’s remake of Candyman.
With two critically and commercially successful films under his belt, Peele’s latest project Nope, is finally due to hit cinema’s later this year, with the filmmaker hoping to capture a similar sense of excitement and intrigue as his previous two efforts. Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Steven Yeun, Barbie Ferreira, Keke Palmer, Wrenn Schmidt and Donna Mills, Nope looks to be a strange alien sci-fi following a bizarre UFO hovering over an unfortunate town.
Speaking to The Independent about his unique style of horror, Peele told the publication, “All my work is pointed at this idea of humanity’s dark side”. This grim “dark side” is evident in both of the director’s first two films, with Peele adding, “We have demons sewn into our DNA. Evolution has brought us to a place where we want to be good, for the most part. But we’ll never be all good. We’ll always have this other side”.
As a lover of the terrifying genre, Peele often discusses his greatest inspirations, noting the likes of The Shining by Stanley Kubrick, The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock and Dead Again by Kenneth Branagh as being integral to his education as a filmmaker. Whilst Peele has noted several films as among his all-time favourites, it wasn’t until one particular video in collaboration with Fear that he revealed his number one.
Putting together a “horror tournament” with Fear, Peele pitched several horror films against each other to find out the very best of all time. Included in the tournament was the likes of Halloween, Funny Games, Scream, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and more, though surprisingly it was a slasher classic that beat them all to the top spot, going with A Nightmare on Elm Street as his all-time favourite.
Calling the film “the greatest horror movie of all time,” Peele also adds, “I learned that today” as he looks back on the list of fallen genre classics that didn’t make the top spot.
Joining such slasher icons as Friday the 13th and Halloween by John Carpenter, A Nightmare on Elm Street became a cult classic when it was released in 1984 with the villain Freddy Krueger leaping to pop culture prevalence. Starring the likes of Johnny Depp, Robert Englund, John Saxon and Lin Shaye, the film has since spawned eight sequels, remakes and spin-offs. Click below to enjoy the trailer for the original film.