The Surprising Inspiration Behind Get Out

Filmmakers tend to wear their influences on their sleeves, and those influences can range from a wide variety of films to something as fleeting as a dream or a sketch on a cocktail napkin. Jordan Peele is no different, as his directorial debut "Get Out" pulls from films including "The Stepford Wives" and "The Shining" while crafting its narrative. I highly suggest picking up the published screenplay, which contains annotations from Peele describing the multiple influences he drew on while making the film; it reveals a depth of knowledge about the horror genre that could only be rivaled by Peele's fellow filmmakers or a horror film aficionado

However, the biggest moment in "Get Out" didn't come from a horror film, but rather the world of comedy — specifically, one of Eddie Murphy's classic standup acts. Peele freely admitted as much during an interview with ET, and his reasoning for using Murphy's comedy as the basis for "Get Out" makes total sense. Peele cut his teeth on comedy, most notably the long-running sketch show "Key and Peele," and both comedy and horror often reveal deeper truths about the human condition.

Two Kinds of Families

During his 1983 television special "Delirious," Murphy launched into a bit about he'd react to living in a haunted house after he watched "Poltergeist." "A ghost say get the **** out, I would just tip the **** out the door," he said in one of the most hilarious moments of the special. 

This served as the spark of inspiration Peele needed:

"Eddie Murphy was explaining the difference of how a white family and a Black family would react in a haunted house."

"Get Out" does end up exploring how a Black man would survive in a haunted house, though Peele takes a more disturbing approach to the trials that Daniel Kaluuya's Chris Williams faces when he visits his girlfriend Rose's parents. The third act of the film reveals that Rose's family has been abducting Black people and performing surgery that replaces their minds with friends of the family. One of those victims (LaKeith Stanfield) even screams at Chris to "get out" — which serves as a hauntingly effective title drop and proves Murphy right.

A-Peele-ing To The Audience

Peele would also apply the "What would a Black person do" element in his sophomore film, "Us." While "Us" is infinitely more terrifying than "Get Out" — the Tethered will forever haunt my nightmares — there's a moment where Adelaide Wilson (Lupita Nyong'o) and her husband Gabe (Winston Duke) argue about setting a trap to lure out the Tethered. Adelaide points out how unrealistic "Home Alone" is; it's less risque than Murphy's bit, but still shows that his comedy is subtly shaping Peele's work.

Peele's next film, "Nope," will reunite him with Kaluuya. The first trailer for "Nope" will debut during the Super Bowl, and while the horror that stalks Kaluuya and his fellow castmates Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun remains mysterious, perhaps they'll have their own wry observations on how Black people would handle this particular crisis. We'll just have to wait and see until July 22, 2022.