Monday, April 25, 2005

Ganja & Hess (Bill Gunn)

This is one of the oddest vampire movies I've seen. Bill Gunn's 1973 African-American take on the vampire myth is self-consciously arty, confusing, amateurish (in both the best and worst senses of the term), and kind of muddled, but there's a lot to enjoy if you're a connoisseur of American independent films of the seventies, particularly black independent filmmakers. If you're looking for a traditional vampire movie, you'll probably be disappointed. There are no fangs, capes, bats, or coffins, though there is a lot of blood drinking, and the vampire has a butler who "came with the house." The film has a lot of references to ancient Africa and Christianity, but it's not very clear what Gunn is trying to say about either. The highlights for me were the long scenes of gospel singing in the church and on location on the streets and in the bars of upstate New York's black neighborhoods. It's like a time capsule of a particular urban area in 1973, and is probably more interesting than the rest of the film.

1 comment:

kristykay said...

At the beginning of this movie there is this awesome gospel song about vampires and how they were cursed to walk the earth and wait for Jesus to come because only Christ and Christians could really kill them and give them peace. Then it goes into a chorus about "the truth of the fang" and that vampires are addicted to truth. It was honestly much cooler than I'm making it sound...

Blog Archive