Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that explores Mariama Diallo’s short horror film Hair Wolf.
It’s an absolute pleasure to see a story delivered in exactly the right format. Nothing makes me want to tear my hair out (for lack of a better turn of phrase) than seeing a feature film that would have been 10 times more impactful as a short (the 2020 rural slow-burner The Dark and the Wicked immediately springs to mind).
On the flip side, it can be frustrating in a “why doesn’t this exist?” sort of way when you watch a short film that deserves 60 more minutes of worldbuilding to expand its story. What a treat to have the six-and-a-half-minute Alive in Joburg turned into District 9! Sometimes re-treads and re-makes are a good thing!
All that said, when it comes to Hair Wolf, the 2018 short film from director Marima Diallo, we are very much in a goldilocks situation. This length is just right. Any shorter, and the set-up and pay-off would be too rushed. Any longer and the core joke of the short would start to feel repetitive. Indeed, Hair Wolf does a very good job of zeroing in on precisely one thematic metaphor: white appropriation of Black culture as a literal succubus feasting on the community.
Without saying too much of the short’s plot — because you really should watch it for yourselves — Diallo’s film concerns a Black-owned salon that becomes the target of a vapid white influencer who wants her hair styled.
Taking aim at serious topics (from Blackfishing to gentrification) with a comedic glint in its eye, Hair Wolf is a ghoulishly good time with an important message. Check it out for yourself:
Watch Hair Wolf:
Who made this?
Hair Wolf is directed and written by Mariama Diallo, an American writer and director whose credits include Sketch and Random Act of Flyness. The short film was photographed by Charlotte Hornsby and stars Kara Young (as Cami), Taliah Webster (as Eve), and Madeline Weinstein (as Rebecca). You can follow Diallo on Instagram here. And you can find them on Vimeo here.
More videos like this
- Here’s director Mariama Diallo speaking with the Sundance Institute introducing her film Master.
- For a short film about Black hair that plays in a totally different genre space, here’s the Oscar-winning animated short film Hair Love, directed by Matthew A. Cherry.
- Here’s a video essay from The Black Cinephile on the resurgence of racial commentary in Black horror films.
- And here’s the always-entertaining Real Queen of Horror with her take on essential Black horror movies.
- Finally, here’s a video essay by Khadija Mbowe on the intersection of racism and the horror genre (spoiler: there are a lot of them!).