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Jordan Peele recounts the first scary story he ever told

Photo: Rich Fury (Getty Images)

Jordan Peele’s turn from comedy master to horror auteur was as unexpected as it was successful. But, in a recent cover story for Rolling Stone, the 39-year-old Oscar-winner revealed that his desire to scare people came not only before he ever had the idea for Get Out, but even before he had aspirations of being a comedian. Peele recalls a class trip from his youth—when he probably looked a lot like thisduring which, in a scene straight out of a ‘80s slasher, he regaled his campfire-huddled classmates with a scary story of his own invention.

Even at that young age, Peele seemed to have a preternatural control over the horror genre. His campfire story contains all the necessary elements: a broken down car, a vulnerable family, a mistake from your past coming back to haunt you, and, of course, some creepy-ass chanting. Read the full thing over at Rolling Stone.

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But freaking out his friends gave Peele more than just a cheap thrill. As he tells the magazine, the fact that he could coax such a reaction from his rapt audience made him feel invincible, which, as a frightened young man struggling with his own identity, was a feeling he desperately needed. “Not even invincible from the pain or being hurt, but invincible from the fear. If all of a sudden if someone, if Jason came out of the woods and started stabbing me, at least he wouldn’t scare me,” Peele said. We’ll try to summon that same sense of fearlessness when his next film, Us, premieres next month.

Check out the full interview here.

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About the author

Dan Neilan

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Have Fun — Will Travel.