Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Cartoon short asks Stephen King a simple question: What's with all the "Indian burial grounds?"

Comedian and writer Joey Clift makes a case for ditching a stereotypical horror setting found in several of King's books

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
An illustration of the Amityville Horror house from the animated short.
An illustration of the Amityville Horror house from the animated short.
Screenshot: Animated

Stephen King has created or popularized a lot of the past century’s most indelible horror imagery. He’s also done the same with racial stereotypes, featuring magical Black characters and using cursed “Indian burial grounds” in a good portion of his sizable catalog of work.

The latter bit is the focus of a new animated short from comedian, TV writer, and enrolled Cowlitz Tribal Member Joey Clift that asks a straightforward question beginning right from its title: “What’s With All The Native Burial Grounds In Horror Stories?”

What’s With All the Native Burial Grounds in Horror Stories?

Clift, who you may recognize from contributing to The A.V. Club in the past and helping pick up Sufjan Stevens’ 50 states project where he left off, wrote and directed the video. Through narration voiced by Ghosts’ Román Zaragoza, Clift addresses why the burial ground trope, usually dated back to the publication of The Amityville Horror and featured in King’s Pet Sematary and The Shining, exists to invent, distort, and mystify actual Indigenous practices—especially when European burial grounds, like the Paris catacombs, and accepted religious rituals, like the Pope ingesting symbolic blood and flesh, have the potential to be so much scarier.

Advertisement

The burial ground video is the latest in Gone Native, a Comedy Central digital series created, directed, and written by Clift that, as he puts it in an email description, is made with the goal “to use jokes to shine a light on all of the weird microaggressions that Native folks deal with on a regular basis.”

Do You Use the Phrase “My Spirit Animal”? It’ll Cost You $25

Gone Native’s first episode discusses the American school system’s “near complete lack of education about contemporary Native people” and its second addresses “Non-Natives using important Native terms like ‘Spirit Animal.’”

Advertisement

Check the trio of them out for more on these topics—and some great visuals, like a Dracula Pope and the nation of Italy drawn as a severed, bleeding foot in a boot.

Send Great Job, Internet tips to gji@theonion.com