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The Lost Drive-In: Sinister Soul Cinema|
POSTED BY ED TUCKER, June 16, 2011 Share
Can anyone guess what Double Possession, Ganja and Hess, and Black Exorcist have in common? If you said they were all the same film you are almost right. Ganja and Hess (1973) started life as an intelligent movie about an archeologist (Night of the Living Deadís Duane Jones) who becomes a vampire after being stabbed with an ancient dagger. He falls in love with the widow of his assistant who eventually becomes a vampire herself. Like Scream, Blacula, Scream, it also carries some heavy voodoo undertones. The film proved too slow and serious for the exploitation crowd when it was initially released so it was dramatically re-edited and re-scored and re-released multiple times with all sorts of weird advertising campaigns to try to fool potential audiences. Since The Exorcist was breaking box office records at the time, the possession angle was heavily emphasized for some ads even though the film had nothing to do with demons. It would take many years for Ganja and Hess to be restored and released on home video where it found a more accepting audience.
Speaking of The Exorcist and possession films, J.D.ís Revenge (1976) has plenty of those elements in at as well as its own funky style. This movie even manages to cash in on The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975) which was another hot topic of the day. A young law student named Isaac who becomes possessed by the spirit of a 1940ís gangster during a hypnosis act. The specter of J.D. Walker is restless and has been wandering in limbo ever since he was blamed for a murder he did not commit and then murdered himself by the real killer to cover his tracks. Revenge is filled with some great conflicting personality sequences and a better plot than usual with the mild mannered Isaac slowly transforming into the bad ass J.D. The cast is also better than average and includes Louis Gossett Jr. as the man who incorrectly accuses J.D. of the murder and sets the events in motion.
Ladies and gentlemen, the management would like to thank you for joining us this evening. Please remember to replace your speakers on the stands before pulling away in your vehicle and come back and visit us again soon at The Lost Drive-In!
"Retrorama" is ©2011 by ED Tucker. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2011 by Nolan B. Canova.