Flirting with the conventions of blaxploitation and the horror genre, Bill Gunn’s revolutionary independent film GANJA & HESS is a highly stylized and utterly original treatise on sex, religion and African American identity. Duane Jones stars as anthropologist Hess Green. When he is stabbed with an ancient ceremonial dagger by his unstable assistant (director Bill Gunn), Hess becomes endowed with the blessing of immortality and the curse of an unquenchable thirst for blood. When the assistant’s beautiful and outspoken wife Ganja (Marlene Clark) comes searching for her vanished husband, she and Hess form an unexpected partnership. Together, they explore just how much power there is in the blood.
Cast & Crew
- Betty Barney - Singer in Church
- Marlene Clark - Ganja Meda
- Enrico Fales - Dr. Green's son
- Tara Fields - Woman with baby
- Bill Gunn - George Meda
- Richard Harrow - Dinner Guest
- John Hoffmeister - Jack Sargent
- Leonard Jackson - Archie
- Duane Jones - Dr. Hess Green
- Mabel King - Queen of Myrthia
- Tommy Lane - Pimp
- Candece Tarpley - Girl in bar
- Betsy Thurman - Poetess
- Sam Waymon - Rev. Luther Williams
Reviews(see the best reviews)
Excellent. Fans of "The Hunger" and "Angel Heart" will be surprised to see how much both of those films draw upon this film's soundscapes and scenarios. But this isn't a straight "horror" film by any means. And it's not for everyone. Gunn is being very provocative here, and I imagine some of the footage, especially the scenes of what look like real black baptist (?) church services, will make some people squirm. Really glad this is on Fandor and I look forward to learning more about Gunn and his work.
What a remarkable film! It's hard to put a frame around it. It's not really a horror film, but it has horrific elements. It definitely speaks to the African-American experience. It's not like any other film you've ever seen. Do yourself a favor and check it out.