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Ganja & Hess (1973)

 -  Drama | Horror  -  20 April 1973 (USA)
6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 552 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 51 critic

After being stabbed with an ancient, germ-infested knife, a doctor's assistant finds himself with an insatiable desire for blood.

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Cast

Cast overview:
Duane Jones ...
Dr. Hess Green
Marlene Clark ...
Ganja Meda
Bill Gunn ...
George Meda
Sam Waymon ...
Rev. Luther Williams
Leonard Jackson ...
Archie
Candece Tarpley ...
Girl in Bar
Richard Harrow ...
Dinner Guest
John Hoffmeister ...
Jack Sargent
Betty Barney ...
Singer in Church
...
Queen of Myrthia
Betsy Thurman ...
Poetess
Enrico Fales ...
Dr. Green's Son
Tommy Lane ...
Pimp
Tara Fields ...
Woman with Baby
Edit

Storyline

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 <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Bad blood runs between them. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror

Certificate:

R
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 April 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Black Vampire  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(Dolby 2.0)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Remade as Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

March Blues
Sung by Mabel King
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Experimental Vampire Film Bogged Down in Symbolism
15 September 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I am a horror aficionado who is always open to seeking out a lost treasure or new discovery on my horror quest. I had heard this movie pop up a few times over the years in discussion and felt it was time to give it a shot. Truth be told, it took everything in me just to make it through to the end of this one.

Let's start with the obvious statement that needs to be made, this is not really a horror movie, or a vampire movie. If you are going into this with the expectation of finding a drive-in or grindhouse flick from the 70s, this is not going to meet your expectations, at all.

This movie is very much in the art-house realm, using the archetypes of vampire mythology to explore concepts of addiction, religion and cultural identity. That would be fine with me. I was a Lit student in college and enjoy an intelligent movie with themes to explore. The problem here is that's all this movie has to offer. It's essentially two hours of conversation between Ganja and Hess, intercut with softcore sex, an occasional post-kill death scene and an overwhelming amount of directorial masturbation meant to convey symbolism.

I'm completely open to abstract film and the use of images to convey your symbolism, but you can achieve the same effect and still present an entertaining narrative. Even to have kept the same artistic flourishes, but to have actually explored the vampirism a little more in between might have produced a better film. Instead, the relief we get from the barrage of images is nothing more than conversation between two main characters.

This, in itself, is a problem because of the odd dialog style employed here. The acting and dialog delivery often feels like a bad 60s documentary. It's like watching WOODSTOCK and listening to the drug-addled metaphysical ramblings of hippies, "you dig me man". The opening convo with Bill Gunn as the maniac assistant, or the scene of Ganja explaining her childhood. Nothing felt professional or even more, if often felt like they would trip over words on purpose, or struggle for the next thought. I eventually started feeling like everyone on the cast and crew was high and I was watching a film that probably amused them greatly but did nothing for me.

I'm sure I'll get Not Helpfuls from the folks who assume that I'm just not intelligent or artistic enough to appreciate this "classic masterpiece", but this could have been done well, done intelligently and still created a much more entertaining film in the meantime. This is just dull and boring and make most wish for the two hours of their life back.


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