Welcome Home Brother Charles (1975) Poster

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Despite "That" Scene the Film Is Pretty Boring
Michael_Elliott7 February 2013
Welcome Home Brother Charles (1975)

* 1/2 (out of 4)

Small time pusher Charles Murray (Marlo Monte) gets arrested, beaten and thrown into prison by a group of racist cops and judges but when he's released he's a changed man to say the least. Soon he decides to take revenge on those who cheated him and he's weapon just happens to be his penis, which has grown to such a length it can strangle a person to death. OK, that there is what this film is known for today but even though the entire sequence is jaw-dropping, there's still no question that the rest of the film is rather slow, confusing and boring. WELCOME HOME BROTHER CHARLES is always going to be known for that infamous death sequence and I guess you have to recommend this movie to fans of bad or weird cinema because this one scene is just so silly that you can't help but wonder what they were trying to say with it. I mean, seriously, this is such a bizarre scene that I'm sure many will be hitting the rewind button to watch it again because they won't believe their eyes. However, it's too bad the rest of the film doesn't have quite as much, ahem, imagination. For the most part the story really doesn't make too much sense but I guess everyone was just following the Blaxploitation 101 handbook. The blacks are all just trying to make a living while every white person is either evil, racist or a combination. The one difference here is that Charles also has the ability to have white women become his sex slave but how these scenes are presented today you can't help but think of rape. The performances aren't what you'd call "good" but I did enjoy Monte in his role as he at least kept you slightly into the film. The soundtrack, cinematography and the overall look of the picture is quite weak and there's no question that a stronger story was needed.
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8/10
Seriously weird blaxploitation oddity
Woodyanders20 June 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Proud black man and small-time criminal Charles Murray (played with fierce intensity by Marlo Monte) does hard time in prison in the wake of being brutalized by vicious corrupt racist cop Harry (a spot-on hateful portrayal by Ben Bigelow). After being released from the joint, Charles utilizes a peculiar means of exacting a harsh revenge on those responsible for his incarceration.

Writer/director Jamaa Fanaka vividly captures the raw'n'funky reality of sordid hood life in the mid-1970's, makes nice use of squalid urban locations, relates the offbeat, but still engrossing story at an unhurried pace, and presents a colorful array of seedy low-life characters. Moreover, this film reaches its gloriously surreal highlight with the jaw-dropping scene in which Charles strangles a guy with his elongated penis (!). Reatha Grey adds plenty of spark as sassy hooker Carmen. Stan Kamber also registers well as easygoing police officer Jim. James Babij's rough'n'grainy cinematography gives this picture a strong feeling of grungy verisimilitude. William Anderson's discordant acid jazz score does the groovy trick. Recommended viewing for those seeking something different.
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5/10
Woah!
BA_Harrison16 May 2020
According to an interview with director Jamaa Fanaka in Josiah Howard's book Blaxploitation Cinema, 'Welcome Home, Brother Charles' was made while he was at UCLA; it certainly looks and feels like a student film, and one that would have barely scraped an E for effort, if it wasn't for one jaw-dropping moment.

The first half an hour is so disjointed that it's very hard to tell what is happening. to whom and why. It starts with a man about to jump off a building, his wife trying to talk him down. Then the 'wakka wakka' funky music kicks in, and suddenly it's all pimps and hos and drug dealers. After an old man tries to score with a hooker, the action cuts to hustler Charles Murray (Marlo Monte) as he is apprehended by 'the man', his arresting officer, Harry Freeman (Ben Bigelow), attempting to cut off Charles's manhood with a razor, a case of inferiority complex (in an explanatory scene, we see Harry returning home from defusing a radioactive bomb at an airport to discover that his wife has been screwing around, the woman unsatisfied with the size of her husband's junk).

After a kangaroo court finds Charles guilty of dealing drugs, he goes to prison, his time inside shown as a series of black and white photographs (thereby keeping film-making costs down). After three years, Charles is released to find that his girlfriend Twyla (Jackie Ziegler) is now sleeping with his old friend N.D. (Jake Carter) and his brother Teto (Jimmy Butler) is hanging with the wrong crowd. Charles decides that he is going to go straight, but first he has some scores to settle with those who sent him down.

Terrible direction, awful editing and weak acting make this a chore to watch, the cruddy performances from the amateurish cast intercut with random scenes featuring members of the local community, which lend proceedings a gritty realism, but only add to the overall cheapness of the film. Thankfully, Fanaka has an ace up his sleeve (or should that be down Charles's trousers?), one so bizarre that it makes the slog just about worth it. As Charles carries out his plan for revenge, he hypnotises the wives of his victims and has sex with them. But that's not it. No, the film's BIG surprise comes when Charles drops his trousers to reveal a humongous trouser snake (we're not talking inches here, but feet--and double figures!), the monstrous appendage crawling across the floor to strangle a man to death. It's so utterly unexpected that one can only marvel at the insanity of the scene and applaud its originality.

The film ends in a suitably bizarre fashion, as it started, with Charles cornered on a rooftop by the police and threatening to throw himself off. His girlfriend, former hooker Carmen (Reatha Grey), shows up and instead of trying to save him, she shouts 'Jump!'. Huh?

Not a great film - it's technically weak in almost every department - but definitely memorable and recommended to fans of cult oddities. 4/10, plus an extra point for THAT scene.
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8/10
Unique among blaxploitation - revenge sagas.
Hey_Sweden25 June 2018
Marlo Monte portrays Charles Murray, an amiable dope pusher who is arrested by white detectives. Unfortunately for Charles, one of these white detectives is Harry Freeman (Ben Bigelow), a raging racist unable to satisfy his wife. What Harry does is that he attempts to castrate Charles, getting back at both the wife and blacks in general. Charles spends three years in the pen, renounces crime, and tries to go straight, although finding honest work is difficult. He shacks up with Carmen (Reatha Grey), a former hooker, and ultimately decides to get revenge on all the honkies who did him wrong: Freeman, Freeman's partner (Stan Kamber), the judge (Ed Sander), and the prosecutor (Stephen Schenck). This he does in an extremely memorable, "Holy *beep*, I can't believe I'm seeing this" manner.

The big money shot occurs around the 88 minute mark, and while it may not catch you off guard if you know the big twist going in, it's STILL a priceless sight to behold. It's guaranteed to send viewers into gales of laughter.

And yet, at the same time, this viewer doesn't know that this aspect of the story is meant to be taken all that literally. Our protagonist may well have become unhinged by his experiences. In effect, the debut feature for writer / producer / director / editor Jamaa Fanaka, who hit it big four years later with the first "Penitentiary" picture, is largely a traditional story of vengeance. But Fanaka makes it fresh by infusing it with subtext (namely, black male virility), and a portrait of black American life in Compton and Watts of the mid-70s.

The filmmaking may not be terribly slick, and some of the performances may be amateurish, but the participants do get an A for effort. Monte and Grey have engaging personalities, Bigelow is an appropriately despicable p.o.s. antagonist, Jackie Ziegler is all kinds of sexy as Charles' ex-girlfriend Twyla (she performs a strip number), and Tiffany Peters is good as Freemans' defiant wife.

Enhanced by some gloriously funky tunes, and William Andersons' sometimes seriously weird soundtrack, this is one blaxploitation oddity that definitely merits at least one viewing.

Eight out of 10.
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5/10
Let them indulge their pride if thinking I am destroyed is a comfort to them; let it be
JohnSeal15 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
It's a damn dirty shame that it's impossible to see the uncut version of Welcome Home, Brother Charles, because what's left of it is tantalizing indeed. Long considered a trash anti-classic, its reputation is well deserved--but there's much more to it than just a giant stunt penis. The first half hour of the film is as good as anything done by Melvin Van Peebles in his overrated Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, and there are moments that are the equal of Charles Burnett's Killer of Sheep. Really. The tone changes in the second half of the film, but Fanaka's message--that the white man has spent the last few hundred years trying to emasculate the black man--couldn't be clearer. That said, the second half is damaged by what appear to be severe cuts, and Charles becomes a less interesting character when revenge becomes his primary goal. Regardless, this is a film well worth seeing, if only for the amazing score, which blends elements of funk, blues, jazz, and avant garde music to sometimes brilliant effect. Let's hope that Jamaa Fanaka has a complete print safely stashed away in his basement.
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10/10
Little known blaxploitation classic
DunnDeeDaGreat25 January 2003
Welcome Home Brother Charles is one of the most unknown blaxploitation films ever to be made. The film has some of funniest scenes I've ever seen and one of the strangest murder weapons ever recored on film. Someone really needs to remake this one.
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4/10
no, it's not worth seeing even for its bizarre murder weapon
FieCrier6 June 2005
Somewhat watchable blaxploitation film, though it's pretty bad (and I don't mean BAAD).

The movie starts with a shot against a black background of an African-like carving of a man with a disproportionately large penis. It's not seen again in the movie.

A drug dealer gets caught by the police and the arresting officer cuts his manhood with a blade. He spends three years in prison, depicted by a black and white photo montage, and short black and white clips.

After he's released, nothing of his old life remains. He moves in with a sympathetic hooker who'd witnessed his arrest. He vows revenge on the people who put him in prison.

Towards the end, he delivers on that vow. When the wives of his intended victims see his manhood now, they're automatically his to use for sex and to brainwash. He can also cause it to lengthen to several yards long, and use it to strangle men who've done him wrong. It's weird the way the movie springs this on us, without giving us any indication that he knew he had that power.
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6/10
It's interesting
irishboy14125 October 2018
This film definitely has an interesting premise, A guy whose Cock can grow at will and hypnotize women... The film itself is cheap, badly made, and the acting is Meh at best. oh and the ending sucks.

It is pretty entertaining however and once he gets his "Super power" the movie becomes hilarious. the middle of the film is fu*king amazing.

I'm not sure If i'd recommend this film, watch it for the Amazing Cock special effect scenes, the other stuff is pretty boring.
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1/10
Don't Waste Your Time...
MIDDLEMYATT23 September 2007
Don't believe the hype! This film is boring and dull as dirt. I love films of this period/genre, but this one has no redeeming value. If you're simply waiting to see the infamous "prop" -- you're in for a disappointment: it appears (only once!) during the final five minutes of the film, and even then it's non-eventful and (excuse the pun) anti-climactic. The story is poorly conceived, written and executed, and overall the film brings nothing new or fresh to the table for this type of film. Trust me, you've seen it all before in much better films of the period. This dull and dated dud isn't worth your time -- avoid it at all costs! Check out the director's under-rated and almost ignored gem, "Black Sister's Revenge" instead -- it'll surprise you.
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Absolutely the most hysterical...
nefnet17 July 2000
This film is a gem! Everything within Brother Charles (or Soul Vengeance as I saw it) adds to its effect-- jittery camerawork, sound so murky that most dialogue can't be understood, some really out there dancing and of course, weird action. And boy do I mean weird. Fanakaa obviously was trying for some kind of visual metaphor in this film, but its comic effect overshadows any pretense of seriousness the film may or may not contain. Fans of the genre MUST NOT miss out on this one.
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8/10
OH MY GOD!
70's cat26 January 1999
Locate this film. Purchase it if you have to. Fast forward about an hour or so into it then play it. Soon you will see a scene like no other. Thousands of movies may be better but none are more memorable than this student film made by Fanakaa while at UCLA. I will not spoil the scene for you but let's just say the main character uses something very interesting to strangle a man. Its a body part but I will not tell which one.
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10/10
He Kills Folks With His Wang and all that's all that matters
FuriousQuik5 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Blaxploitation at it's finest. Marloe Monte convey's the despotism and decrepitude of south central L.A. to perfection, a visceral portrayal of what could be considered one of the most ignominious eras in contemporary American culture. The laconic dialogue, consisting in it's finest moments of archaic "jive talk", replete with the obligatory "mutha" every ten minutes, realistically portrays the culture and frustration of Charles (Monte) and his prostitute girlfriend as they struggle to ameliorate their lives in an atmosphere of ubiquitous oppression and exploitation by the omnipresent "MAN". A brilliant concept, brilliant execution, inspired acting...I cannot praise it enough. The sexual tension is as tangible as can be, and the action is incessantly non-stop!
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1/10
Soul Vengeance DVD Editied Rel;ease distorts the original film.
ebony191117 January 2006
DVD release of the Original Blaxploitation Film, which I saw in the theater the day of its releas, is badly edited and cut. There are bleeps. Worse, several of the murders are excised. Xenon Productions can do better. In its original release as Welcome Home, Brother Charles this film was surely the most tasteless film ever made in the history of film-making-----the acme of the Black Phallic Worship begun by Kyle Onstott in his book, Mandingo and culminating in Scott Poulson-Bryant's recently released study, "Hung!" Since the Edits, the film renamed Soul Vengeance has been reduced to being only ONE of the most Tastelessfilms ever produced. Mr Fanaka ought to be ashamed of himself and demand that the original film be re-issued--UNCUT and UNDILUTED. Yours in Blaxploitation films, Ebony Ivory.
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3/10
they don't make them like they used to!
vickster5613 January 2007
I am an old broad who saw this originally when it was released at the drive in. When I found out what "weapon" he used to kill his victims, I laughed so hard I could barely drive home. When I tried to tell my mom and older sister what the movie was about the next day, it took damn near half an hour because I was laughing so hard! I was literally bent in half. I keep thinking about the "strange markings" on each of the victim's necks. This movie is "blaxplotation" at it's worst. But you have to see it! If you want a good laugh at a bad movie, this is it. It's one of those "guilty pleasure" movies. It is like watching a train wreck, you just cannot turn away. You must see it!
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