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Why Jordan Peele Doesn't Like A Certain Label Being Applied To His Movies

One term that horror fans have been seeing more and more of in recent years is "elevated horror," a phrase that is usually meant to indicate a movie in the horror genre that is somehow more respectable, intelligent, or sophisticated than the usual monster fare. The idea is controversial since it often seems to reflect an ignorance of the genre's history within the larger story of cinema and how many cinematic classics fall within it. As it turns out, one of the filmmakers most associated with the term actually doesn't like it being applied to his work at all.

The filmmaker, in question, is Jordan Peele, whose films "Get Out," "Us," and "Nope" are all great examples of horror's potential. They're also sometimes described as "elevated," but in an interview with The Verge, Peele spoke about why he rejects this label. "I don't want people to think that I'm trying to make 'elevated' films," Peele said. "I think [the 'elevated horror' label is] a trap that I don't quite appreciate because I, you know, I like making f**ked-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."

Peele says he's not interested in elevating the horror genre, but in pushing the envelope within it

Jordan Peele isn't the only person involved in making his films who likes the challenging aspects of the stories. In fact, even some of the stars of Peele's films share the same opinion when it comes to emotion driving the narrative.

"Nope" star Keke Palmer, who was also being interviewed by The Verge, mentioned how Peele's films are indeed challenging for not just audiences but for the actors in them, too. "The thing about your films is that the observations are so impactful that I think they double people over," Palmer 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."

Making movies centered on emotions rather than ideas about elevated quality is probably a big part of why Peele's films are special and why they seem so much better than a lot of the other so-called "elevated" horror movies that have tried to copy his success without the feeling that drives it. But does that make his movies elevated above the horror genre, including the movies that influenced Jordan Peele himself? Not if you ask him.