Director Justin Simien made a name for himself in 2014 with Dear White People, a comedy-drama tackling the often-fraught landscape of race relations on predominantly white university campuses. Simien’s since adapted the film into a Netflix series, and now he’s working on horror project called Bad Hair.
According to Deadline, Simien is partnering with the production company Sight Unseen to write and direct Bad Hair, a film about:
An ambitious young woman who gets a weave in order to survive the image obsessed world of music television. Her professional success comes at a higher cost than anticipated, however, when she discovers her new hair may have a mind of its own.
Simien, Deadline reports, intends for Bad Hair to be the sort of work that “both entertains and holds a mirror up to society”, and for it to “be both a love letter to black women and a critique of the cultural forces our society puts them through”.
On the surface, Bad Hair‘s premise bears more than a passing resemblance to stories like the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror IX, in which Homer dons a haunted toupee, and Sion Soto’s Exte, a 2007 Japanese horror film about a man who sells the living hair from a dead girl as extensions that, when woven into someone else’s hair, drives them to commit horrific murders.
Given Simien’s previous work and the scant details we know about Bad Hair, however, the project sounds like it could be much more along the lines of social commentary about the historical and cultural significance of black women’s hair. I point this out because a “horror satire” about a topic as racially-charged as black people’s hair is the sort of thing that could easily become offensive and problematic if not executed thoughtfully and with care. A film that sounds like a mix between Jordan Peele’s Get Out and Chris Rock’s Good Hair doesn’t exactly come across as the most solid idea, but hey — anything’s possible.
Currently, not a lot of information about Bad Hair has been made public, but Simien took to his Twitter account to link to the announcement of the film, posting a “sneak peek” that links to a cryptic YouTube video featuring close-ups of moving, textured hair laid over droning, unsettling music.
Make of that what you will.