Jordan Peele isn’t here for the title of “elevated” filmmaking. Recently, Peele and Keke Palmer, who played Emerald “Em” Haywood in Peele’s neo-Western sci-fi horror film Nope, sat with The Verge to discuss Nope and Peele’s filmmaking.
The comedian and director, who co-wrote, co-produced and starred in the new Netflix animated horror comedy Wendell & Wild, refuted the idea of making “elevated horror,” a subgenre of both horror and experimental films helmed by Ari Aster’s Hereditary and Midsommer, Robert Eggers’ The Witch, Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria, and even Peele’s 2017 theatrical debut Get Out. All four of the aforementioned films have an artful aesthetic to them, and also tackle grief and trauma, making their movies more complex than horror films that use shock value as its baseline.
“I don’t want people to think that I’m trying to make ‘elevated’ films,” Peele told The Verge. “I think that’s a trap that I don’t quite appreciate because I, you know, I like making fucked-up films. I like making weird movies that I’m really just not supposed to make — and sometimes challenge people on the other side of things as well.”
However, Palmer understood both sides of the “elevated” debate.
“The thing about your films is that the observations are so impactful that I think they double people over,” the actress said. “And it’s us that come to the theater like, ‘I want to be able to take this observation and know what to do with it.’ [That feeling] challenges me; it puts me to the task because I know when Jordan puts his movies together and does his artistry, it’s based off of something that he felt.”
Released in July, Nope became Peele’s third release to gross over $100 million at the domestic box office after Get Out and his 2019 film Us. Nope will be available to stream on Peacock starting November 18.
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