Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Weekend B.O. Oct.17-19 - How Did 'Dear White People' Do and What Might it Mean? Weekend B.O. Oct.17-19 - How Did 'Dear White People' Do and What Might it Mean? Donald Glover Adds to Growing Film Slate - Joins Cast of Ridley Scott's Sci-Fi Thriller 'The Martian' Donald Glover Adds to Growing Film Slate - Joins Cast of Ridley Scott's Sci-Fi Thriller 'The Martian' It All Started at a BSU Meeting: Justin Simien on 'Dear White People', Raven-Symoné, and the Black Art House (Interview) It All Started at a BSU Meeting: Justin Simien on 'Dear White People', Raven-Symoné, and the Black Art House (Interview) Warner Bros Reveals Details on Its 10 DC Comics Film Adaptations. Will Include a Cyborg Movie Starring Ray Fisher Warner Bros Reveals Details on Its 10 DC Comics Film Adaptations. Will Include a Cyborg Movie Starring Ray Fisher T.I. Teases His 'Ant-Man' Role - "I Play a Superhero's Homeboy" T.I. Teases His 'Ant-Man' Role - "I Play a Superhero's Homeboy" Lifetime Releases First FULL Trailer for 'Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B' (Premieres Saturday, 11/15) Lifetime Releases First FULL Trailer for 'Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B' (Premieres Saturday, 11/15) Steve McQueen Goes With Newcomer Devon Terrell to Play the Lead in His HBO Project Steve McQueen Goes With Newcomer Devon Terrell to Play the Lead in His HBO Project A Prequel To 'Gone With The Wind' Which Tells Mammy's Story Solely, Hits Bookstores Tomorrow (Movie Next?) A Prequel To 'Gone With The Wind' Which Tells Mammy's Story Solely, Hits Bookstores Tomorrow (Movie Next?) Sean Penn Puts Post-Earthquake Haiti In Focus In New Feature Doc 'Haiti Untold' - Now Streaming on Netflix Sean Penn Puts Post-Earthquake Haiti In Focus In New Feature Doc 'Haiti Untold' - Now Streaming on Netflix In Wake of 'Gotham' Controversy Comes 'Painted Down' - New Doc Chronicling Struggles & Hard Fought Victories of Black Stunt People In Wake of 'Gotham' Controversy Comes 'Painted Down' - New Doc Chronicling Struggles & Hard Fought Victories of Black Stunt People Rosario Dawson's 'Daredevil' Character Revealed + Vondie Curtis-Hall Joins Cast Rosario Dawson's 'Daredevil' Character Revealed + Vondie Curtis-Hall Joins Cast TV One Airs First-Ever Original, Scripted Work of Horror - Trilogy Titled 'The Fright Night Files' TV One Airs First-Ever Original, Scripted Work of Horror - Trilogy Titled 'The Fright Night Files' 'Drumline: A New Beat' (Sequel to the 2002 Film) Gets a Premiere Date + New Trailer (Watch It) 'Drumline: A New Beat' (Sequel to the 2002 Film) Gets a Premiere Date + New Trailer (Watch It) Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) ABC Is Making Changes To The Next-Day Online Availability Of Its Series ABC Is Making Changes To The Next-Day Online Availability Of Its Series Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

"Ganja & Hess" Coming Out On Blu-Ray DVD In May

Shadow and Act By Sergio | Shadow and Act March 6, 2012 at 9:49PM

As far as I'm concerned this is some major news for anyone who even claims to love black cinema. The news is that writer and director Bill Gunn's otherworldly and fascinating 1973 film Ganja & Hess is coming out on blu-ray DVD from Kino International on May 8th.
8
"Ganja & Hess."
"Ganja & Hess."

As far as I'm concerned this is some major news for anyone who even claims to love black cinema. The news is that writer and director Bill Gunn's otherworldly and fascinating 1973 film Ganja & Hess is coming out on blu-ray DVD from Kino International on May 8th.

To call the film a vampire horror film is much too simplistic and yet it's hard to explain exactly what the film is about since it travels over various different genres and concepts.  Made during the height of the blaxploitation era, the film was Gunn's second feature after he made the film Stop for Warner Brothers in 1970 (a film the studio immediately shelved because it was reportedly scared by its interracial sex premise and has never been seen by anyone, at least to my knowledge).

Gunn bounced back from that setback by making G & H independently for $300,000. However the financiers, who thought they were getting another Blacula movie, where thrown for a loop when Gunn delivered to them his bizarre, mind bending film that was more visually reminiscent of the stark, cinema verite-style dramatic films of John Cassavetes.

The result was a film about a rich doctor infelcted with "vampirism", as it's caled in the film, who after stealing blood from health clinics and blood banks is reduced to killing people and draining them of their blood to survive. But it's much more than that, which according to one critic, addresses "any number of topics related to Black life in white America from drug addiction to servitude to capitalist propriety, bourgeous gluttony to spirital ideology, to the selling out of principles and kowtowing to the system, to "letting go and letting God".

The film indeed does all of that while mixing in African symbolism and rituals and a healthy dose of sexuality to a haunting effect.

Starring Duane Jones, Marlene Clark and Gunn himself in the a supporting role, the film was barely seen after a few theater openings.in New York and was recut and shortened to emphasize the sex and violence in the film under the title Blood Couple. It's only been in the past few years that the film has been restored to its original 113 minute version, and now to have the film coming out on blu-ray DVD, is something that I never thought would ever happen.

Gunn, unfortunately, never directed another film and spent the rest of his life until his death in 1989, acting in occasional roles such as a recurring role on The Cosby Show on NBC  in during the 1980's. But Ganja & Hess is and remains his most lasting, important and vibrant work that absolutely needs to be seen.

Here's a scene from the film:


Shadow & ActNewsletter