Bringing you the best of Grindhouse cinema (without the sticky floors).
This month’s triple feature: Coffy, Black Devil Doll From Hell, and The Intruder.
Being that February is Black History Month, we here at the Grindhouse thought it would be appropriate if we took a look at some of our favorite “Blaxploitation” titles. I admit it, I love Blaxploitation films! Whether it’s the campy horror of “Dr Black and Mr. Hyde” or the groovy Pimp styling of “The Mack”, Blaxploitation films bring out my inner Soul Brother. This month we feature the sexy Pam Grier, a horny ventriloquist dummy, and a racist William Shatner. And even though Blaxploitation cinema lasted only a short 10 years (thanks to The Coalition Against Blaxploitation), we can still sit back in the comfort of our own homes, pop in a dvd, and enjoy huge afros, pimps, and street hustlers, gritty urban violence, and corrupt white policemen.
So grab some popcorn and a couple 40’s of Old English, the first feature is about to begin.
Hands down, this is my favorite Pam Grier movie. This is also the one that put her on the map. Prior to this, she made a series of Woman in Prison films for Roger Corman, which coincidently also stared Sid Haig, with whom she shares the screen again in Coffy. In Coffy, Pam plays a nurse who finds out that her little sister is hooked on drugs, courtesy of the local pusher. That’s it! Time to deal out a little vigilante justice! So Coffy becomes Angel of Mercy during the day and the Angel of Death in the evening!
Coffy starts out with the pusher, and then systematically starts working her way up the food chain, killing as she goes along. Featuring some great cat fights, including one in which a woman grabs Coffy by the hair, only to get her hands sliced up. You see, Coffy thought ahead and placed razor blades up in her afro! How cool is that shit! So if you like your women Hot, and your revenge Cold, then Coffy is for you. An interesting side note, Coffy was remade in 1981 (with an all white cast) as “Lovely But Deadly”.
BLACK DEVIL DOLL FROM HELL (1984)
A piece of shit, shot on home video, by soon to be forgotten 80’s Blaxploitation auteur Chester Novell Turner. This movie is really bad, Really! But it is also really fuckin funny! In it, a homely church going virgin is captivated by a Rastafarian ventriloquist dummy and purchases it even though the clerk says there’s some sort of curse associated with owning the damn thing. She then takes it home and proceeds to set it on the toilet so it can watch her while she takes a shower. One look at her saggy, soapy breasts and our little black Pinocchio starts sprouting some wood. Before you can say “Charlie McCarthy”, our ol Devil Doll is blowing bad breath in the young ladies direction and spouting such sweet nothings as “I’m going to pop your cherry, bitch!”
We are then subjected to around six minutes of puppet fucking that will leave you on the floor, laughing your ass off. This film probably would have disappeared into the mists of time, if it wasn’t so funny. It seems to have made a big impression on other people as well. Brothers Shawn and Jonathan Lewis (of Rotten Cotton T-Shirts Fame), have put together not a re-make, but more of a homage, or re-telling of the Black Devil Doll saga. No saggy ass boobs in this version. The new Black Devil Doll features more huge breasts than a Russ Meyer film. God bless the Lewis brothers!! They have also created the coolest Blaxploitation movie poster since the 1970’s. Watch out world! The Black Devil Doll is coming! “He’s a lover, He’s a killer, He’s a Muthafuckin Puppet”. Visit their website and MySpace page for more info.
THE INTRUDER (1962)
I think most people will be shocked by this film. First they’ll be shocked that this film was directed by Roger Corman, Second, they’ll be shocked at how good of an actor William Shatner is in this film, and third, they’ll be shocked at hearing our future Capt. Kirk using the “N” word over and over again. Shot in 1962, The Intruder was probably Roger Corman’s most personal film. Shot at the beginning of racial integration in the South, The Intruder follows William Shatner’s “Adam Cramer” as he arrives in a small town in the south, on the eve of court ordered integration of the schools. He wastes no time whipping the townsfolk into an anti-black frenzy and then proceeds to watch helplessly as it grows larger than even he can handle. This is an interesting picture.
At its heart it’s an exploitation film, but its soul is something bigger, monumental even. Roger Corman crafted an amazing film at a very historic crossroads in our nation’s history. This film will stay with you long after you’ve finished watching it. William Shatner literally burns with charisma in this movie. It has to be the best acting of this career. I don’t understand what happened to his acting chops after this film. He really was extraordinary in this film. This film had the reputation of being the only film Roger Corman made, that didn’t turn a profit. I’m so glad this film has been rescued from obscurity and is now available as a dvd special edition. Highly recommended!
If you are interested in purchasing any of these films, Coffy and The Intruder can be found at any of your favorite dvd retailers. Black Devil Doll From Hell has yet to see a legitimate dvd release, but can be purchased at Shocking Videos (http://www.revengeismydestiny.com/index.htm)
That’s it for this month. Thanks for visiting the Grindhouse. Next month we have midgets and incredible 73 inch breasts, as we take a look at Secret Agents- Grindhouse style! See you then. -Kevin Klemm