"So we got three things: some grape jelly, hominy grits, and an extension cord."
Film Comment - 07/01/2012
"GANJA & HESS is wholly original and unclassifiable, a film unlike anything else in either the blaxploitation or horror genres....Gunn uses vampirism as a hypnotic metaphor for addiction and identity."
Writer/producer Bill Gunn's elusive African-American vampire film earned a standing ovation at the 1973 Cannes Film Fest, where it was the only American film screened that year. In brief, it tells the tale of Dr. Hess Green (Duane Jones of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD), a professor who, through a strange bite he received on a trip to Africa, developed a lust for blood and the inability to age. When he is reunited with a lover, Ganja, who is dealing with the same condition, Hess begins to question his existence in this difficult way of life. Gunn combines religious and philosophical overtones with the expected violence against a thick Southern backdrop (though filmed in upstate New York). The word "vampire" is never mentioned once. Why then has this spellbinding cinematic enigma been screened so rarely and available only sporadically and in severely cut form' Is it a horror film or an "art" film' You decide.
African American Cinema |