A suburban high school teacher is fired from her job for teaching sex education. But she continues to give private sessions at her home to her former students leading to rumors and complications around town.
Dr. Hess Green, an archaeologist overseeing an excavation at the ancient civilization of Myrthia, is stabbed by his research assistant, who then commits suicide. When Hess wakes up, he finds that his wounds have healed, but he now has an insatiable thirst for blood, due to the knife carrying ancient germs. Soon after, Hess meets his former assistant's wife, Ganja. Though Ganja is initially concerned about her missing husband, she soon falls for Hess. Though they are initially happy together, Ganja will eventually learn the truth about Hess, and about her husband. Will she survive the revelation? Will Hess? Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I first heard of GANJA & HESS (1973) on the Internet but, after reading several favorable reviews, I decided to purchase it and I'm glad I did though I've only watched it once so far. While I absolutely adore the "old" horror films, it's refreshing that once in a while a film comes along that treats the genre with extra sensitivity and maturity: Bill Gunn's approach, while peripheral in intent, is highly original and invigorating. The music score adds that much more to it, while the photography and editing techniques envelop the whole in a truly stunning visual style. It is inconceivable that such a seminal (and relatively recent) piece of work was almost lost to the ravages of time, not to mention the ignorance and pretensions of commercially-minded distributors!
The DVD's Audio Commentary, though limited (due to the obvious absence of Gunn and Duane Jones), was quite informative and the cast and crew members involved were certainly enthusiastic, harboring a genuine affection for the film. The essay co-written by Tim Lucas was also very interesting, filling as it does the "gaps" concerning the film's background and its chequered history along the years.
I would have liked that the notorious shorter version of the film, BLOOD COUPLE complete with alternate credits and extra footage, shot by Gunn but discarded when assembling the original director's cut could have been included on the DVD but, when I put this question to David Kalat (All Day's President), this is what he had to say:
"On GANJA & HESS, all of the parties involved in the original version hated and despised the BLOOD COUPLE recut and everything it represented to them. They worked hard, for little pay, to make a Black art film, and found their work abused and maltreated. 25 years later, through the DVD, they found an opportunity to try again. None of them--the producer, the editor, the DP--would have agreed to include the BLOOD COUPLE cut on the DVD, and I respected their wishes. I used Tim's article as a way to describe that alternate version, even if it wasn't otherwise represented."
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