When Justin Simien’s upcoming horror movie Bad Hair premiered at Sundance 2020, the facility guaranteed it was a hot-ticket screening: the creator and director of Dear White People had made a movie about wicked weaves. In the movie, set in 1989, TELEVISION executive Anna (Elle Lorraine) wishes to make it big as a VJ, however her new boss (Vanessa Williams) dismisses her natural hairdo as behind- the-times, so Anna suffers through her first weave, at the hands of design maven Virgie (Orange Is the New Black breakout star Laverne Cox). From there, things go extremely improperly for Anna and her office.
In the movie’s first trailer, Bad Hair plays more like straight horror than anything else. The real movie is deliriously complicated. It’s part camp comedy, part gory body horror, and greatly tinged with cultural commentary. As Simien stated when we talked with him about the movie at Sundance, the wild mashup of Korean hair-horror and Get Out-style social review may feel odd, however it’s completely purposeful:
When there’s absolutely nothing else like them,
I like movies. We needed to get used to Brian De Palma. We needed to get used to Stanley Kubrick. We needed to get used to Roman Polanski– I’m not entering into the dreadful nature of his real life andpolitics As filmmakers, white men make us used to the art they make. Part of it is, these things feel best in my soul, so I’m going to mix them in the way that feels right to me. Dear White People was the very same way.
When I rewatch some of my favorite movies, I marvel– I keep in mind Carrie in a different way from when I see it. Exact Same with The Shining, and Body Snatchers, Dressed To Kill, The Wicker Guy. They in fact have these extraordinary screwball-comedy minutes, and sci-fi minutes and camp, B-movie aspects. And they just fit. What’s the unifying aspect of them all? That director is consumed with all those things, so they just put them in theirmovies That’s why Vertigo is so fantastic, although absolutely nothing about it makes any fucking sense, or shouldwork Hitchcock was just genuinely consumed with those things. I just wanted to give myself the experience of following that. Specifically when it’s like, “No one’s tried to do this before, and I’m probably not supposed to do this.” That’s when I’m like, “Okay, I’m gonna do that.”
Bad Hair arrives to Hulu on October 23.