6.2/10
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30 user 69 critic

Ganja & Hess (1973)

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

Director:

Bill Gunn

Writer:

Bill Gunn
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Cast

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

Some Marriages Are Made In Heaven. Others Are Made In Hell. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 April 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Black Vampire See more »

Filming Locations:

Croton-on-Hudson, New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,406, 3 June 2018, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$21,197, 1 November 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Dolby 2.0)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was released theatrically several times by different distributors and under different titles. Initially released as "Ganja and Hess" by Kelly/Jordan Enterprises in 1973, it failed at the box-office and was then picked up by Heritage Enterprises. Heritage re-edited the film and released it under the title "Blood Couple" later that same year. This version included 15 minutes of footage not used in the original release print, despite being 33 minutes shorter overall, and was marketed as a blaxploitation film. This same cut was released to theaters by Goldstone Films as "Double Possession" in 1975. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Hess Green: [Ganja phones looking for her missing husband and is forced to ask for a place to stay] Where are you, Mrs. Meda?
Ganja Meda: I'm at the goddamn airport, that's where I am!
Dr. Hess Green: Tell me where you are exactly, and I will send the limousine for you.
Ganja Meda: I'm standing in front of Pan American, and the driver can't miss me, cause I'm that evil.
[hangs up]
See more »

Alternate Versions

Version entitled Blood Couple is heavily cut. See more »

Connections

References Tit for Tat (1935) See more »

Soundtracks

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
(uncredited)
By Johann Sebastian Bach
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not As Anemic As I Originally Thought
19 October 2009 | by ferbs54See all my reviews

To be perfectly honest, the first time I watched Bill Gunn's 1973 art-house horror movie, "Ganja and Hess," it left me quite cold and even managed to put me to sleep. I felt that the film was unbearably slow moving, featured unsympathetic characters, suffered from lackadaisical direction and mumbled line readings, contained numerous scenes that petered out listlessly and meaninglessly, and concluded with an excruciatingly protracted gospel finale. During a repeat viewing, however, to ascertain whether this film, which I'd loooong wanted to see, was really that bad--and with not so much lowered as altered expectations--I realized that the picture, despite its previously mentioned faults, does contain many fine qualities. In it, we meet Dr. Hess Green, an anthropologist who is stabbed by his unbalanced assistant with a knife from the fabled land of Myrthia and becomes a blood addict (the "v" word is never mentioned in this film), just as likely to sip his beverage of choice from a cut-glass decanter as to lap it up from a dirty floor. He takes up with the wife of his attacker, a beautiful though obnoxious woman named Ganja Meda, in a very unusual romance indeed. Duane Jones, the hero of 1968's seminal "Night of the Living Dead," is excellent and charismatic here as the bearded Dr. Green, and Marlene Clark does well in her difficult role. The film makes great use of an African chant that weaves through Hess' consciousness when he is, uh, thirsty, and its lethargic pace struck me, on a second viewing, as not so much glacial as dreamlike. This is a picture that almost demands and requires a second look to appreciate all its subtleties and various symbolic allusions. Put aside your expectations of fangs and capes and bats and you may find yourself really getting immersed in Hess Green's nightmare. This picture turns out to be not nearly as anemic as I initially thought!


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