Peele was a student of classic horror films before he started directing them.
Jordan Peele went viral in July when he responded to a tweet calling him the greatest horror director of all time. “Sir, please put the phone down I beg you,” Peele wrote. “Sorry. I love your enthusiasm but, I will just not tolerate any John Carpenter slander!!!”
While Peele’s response was primarily made in jest, it was yet another example of the director professing his love for classic horror cinema. Even before he established himself as one of his generation’s top filmmakers, Peele was always open about his love for all things horror. And in recent years, he has used his newfound status as a darling of the horror community to wax poetic about the many scary subgenres that he enjoys. From 1980s slasher flicks to meticulously crafted psychological horror, his appreciation for the art of the scare only seems to have increased as his filmography grows. And Peele is far from a passive viewer: his films are often littered with references to famous horror films, and his online fans often have a field day unpacking the various homages.
If you’re a new horror fan looking for a primer or simply seeking to round out your knowledge of the genre, you could do a lot worse than watching Peele’s favorite films. Keep reading for a roundup of 10 movies that have inspired the “Nope” director.