I wanted to drop a star, but money and editing didn’t break a thing. Gunn near the beginning of the film, strings a poem together about the difference between desire and hunger. I reckon it is simply a breath. The seeming narrative leaps are, ours’ and the characters’ breaths, between a Past that pushes through our brains like its Springtime, and a Present that receives a sidelong glance and a loosening of the tie.
I'm giving this movie a four star because of how beautiful it is. Some of the dialogue was bad and the acting was a little much and let's not forget how fake the blood looked but overall it was beautifully shot and so poetic. I really enjoyed the film and all it's quirkiness but it's definitely a new favorite of mine. This a great film and everyone in the cast was so sexy and stylish.. A very unique horror film.
Mesmerizing and mysterious as well as visually striking and deeply affecting. Every time I see it, I discover a new facet to this profound work of art (there is no other way to describe it). A singular, stunning achievement from a mind that seems to simultaneously not be from this world and to have a better grasp on human nature than most of us. A masterpiece.
Falls more under the art-film genre than blaxploitation - this is the full 110 minute version rather than the severly truncated 78 minute theatrical release. One reviewer said..."an experimental overlapping of dialogue, image, voiceover and music that makes you feel as if you're suffering from an awful fever dream" - indeed.
I'll be the first to admit it; I don't entirely 'get' this film. Blaxploitation is a sub-genre is either love or hate it feels. Anyway, G&H is at its best memorable, abstract, and mesmerizing. It fits somewhere in the middle as far as vampire flicks go. The 70's effects do it justice in my opinion; unsettling. At is worst, the film barely carries a story or thought in a sensible way; confusing, meandering, & preachy.
Though certainly not what the producers expected Bill Gunn's ground breaking, influential art film has gained a following with age. Gunn's take on vampirism and black spirituality offers much more than a horror offering. One can only suppose its influence on later films such as Romero's 'Martin', Ferrara's "The Addiction" and Fessenden's 'Habit'. Low production values (especially sound) don't take away the impact.
Mislabeled as cheap blaxploitation horror, Bill Gunn's Ganja & Hess is an emotionally complex and deliberately paced psychological meditation on addiction with an inspired turn by Duane Jones in one of his few post-Living Dead roles. The 16mm photography is naturalistic and vibrant and is accompanied nicely by a versatile and sometimes surreal score by Sam Waymon (brother and sometimes collaborator of Nina Simone).
"You could say that Bill Gunn was a man who came before his time, but that leaves you working under the flimsy assumption that a time more hospitable to this man of undeniable talents and mercurial preoccupations would some day come." - Brandon Harris, Filmmaker Magazine. 3.5 stars
This is a film packed with enigma, eloquence, fatalism and meandering references to Voudoun and African roots. It is a must see for fans of Night of The Living Dead due to the presence of Duane Jones and shows what cinema is all about. It would be a chic double feature with Vampyros Lesbos, or a perfect triple with Morissey's Blood for Dracula.