Category Archives: Blaxploitation

FRIDAY FOSTER: GOOD FRIDAY? SHE’S THE BEST FRIDAY

FOR BALLADEER’S BLOG’S REVIEWS OF THE OTHER TOP MOVIES OF PAM GRIER CLICK HERE  

Friday_FosterFRIDAY FOSTER (1975) – Pam portrays the title character, a comic strip heroine from the 1970’s who was often called “the black Brenda Starr.” Friday Foster worked as a photographer for a national weekly and the comic strip figure was regularly involved in much grittier adventures than Brenda Starr (or Mark Trail for that matter) ever had.

In this movie Friday uncovers a plot by White Supremacists to assassinate every prominent African American in the United States. Friday’s investigation into these dastardly goings-on leads her along a lengthy trail of victims, some of them played by very big-name stars. For instance:   Continue reading

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THE SPOOK WHO SAT BY THE DOOR (1973): MOVIE REVIEW

Mascot new lookSupposedly they are remaking this 1970s Blaxploitation movie, at least according to Balladeer’s Blog readers who requested I review it. As it turns out I did review it in 2012, so here it is again.

For the link to that review – an article where I reviewed several other Blaxploitation films as well, click HERE  

402px-spook_who_sat_by_the_door_1973THE SPOOK WHO SAT BY THE DOOR (1973) – The title of this explosive film, based on the controversial novel by Sam Greenlee, plays on the old double meanings of the slang expression “spook”. While spook could be used as a derogatory term for a black person it could also refer to a secret agent.

The story’s hero, played by Lawrence Cook, is an African American working in the domestic offices of the Central Intelligence Agency. While outwardly an efficient and capable paper pusher he inwardly regards himself as an undercover operative for his own race, infiltrating the white intelligence establishment.

After  five years of learning all he can via secretly reading CIA operations files our protagonist, significantly named Dan Freeman, decides to launch a covert operation of his own to destroy the white power structure and elevate his people to positions of authority. Continue reading

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SUPERFLY (1972)

superfly poster tallSUPERFLY (1972) – While unfairly pigeonholed as a blaxploitation movie Superfly is in reality a monumentally overlooked classic of American gangster films.

Some of the blame for the lack of respect accorded this cinematic masterpiece comes from the outrageous movie posters that make it look like standard blaxploitation fare to modern film viewers. In reality Superfly pioneered some of the story elements that other blaxploitation flicks would turn into laughable cliches with their incessant repetition. 

Another obstacle to celluloid respectability is the title, which became synonymous with the lead character, played masterfully by Ron O’Neal. Actually, O’Neal’s character is named Youngblood Priest. “Superfly” was the adjective used to describe the high quality of the cocaine Priest pushed to his customers, as in the line of dialogue “Priest, you sell some superfly shit!” Continue reading

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FUNKY FERGUSON (2014) REVIEW

Obama Yelling

OBAMA: I usually just ignore black-on-black violence but dammit, even when a black cop shoots a black suspect I will ALWAYS promote violence against the cops!

My contempt for America’s Democrats and Republicans is not a secret. I was tempted to post a mock-news story today headlined EVERY DEMOCRAT AND REPUBLICAN ELECTED OFFICIAL DIES FROM MYSTERY DISEASE: NATION REJOICES. Instead I decided my review of the blaxploitation satire Funky Ferguson would be more appropriate. 

FUNKY FERGUSON (2014) – This was one  of the biggest money-makers of 2014. Funky Ferguson is the title character of this very dark satire which uses the style and structure of 1970’s blaxploitation films to comment on the horrific events in Ferguson, MO.

Hands Up Don't Shoot

*** *** *** *** *** Unidentified black men making with the ubiquitous new hand-signal which means “I have a very small penis.”

The events that spawned the whole “Hands up, don’t shoot” lie are depicted in disjointed and irreverent ways. The main character Funky Ferguson is in the mold of figures like the Black Baron from The Candy Tangerine Man. The Funky One keeps the streets safe for criminal elements and prevents law-abiding African-American business owners from fighting back against the thugs.

Funky Ferguson’s many triumphs over The Man mean nothing but hardship and personal tragedy for other African-Americans, who watch their children being killed by African-American criminals on a regular basis. Funky cares nothing for them or the “crapitalist” (as he calls them) business owners.

Gradually all of the promising young African-American children in Funky Ferguson’s hood wind up getting preyed upon and eventually killed by the brainless, violent black thugs who are the only kids worth caring about in the eyes of Funky Ferguson, the politicians and the media.  

An entire generation of creative and hopeful African-American children come and go, slain by street gangs like the film’s Gentle Giants, unmourned by a world that cares only for the plight of the sadistic criminals who killed them. Only those criminals are elevated and considered “heroic” by the demagogues of “the community”. Continue reading

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BLAXPLOITATION IN BLACK AND WHITE

brotherhood of deathBlaxploitation is as misunderstood and unfairly dismissed a sub-genre as Spaghetti Westerns are. It’s not all pimps, pushers and prostitutes. There were also street-level heroes as colorful as any in the old Pulps. In addition some of the most watchable blaxploitation flicks featured cathartic scenes of African-Americans blowing away Democrats of the Ku Klux Klan and genocidal neo-Nazis plus – decades before Django Unchained – a few Westerns showed former slaves turned gunslingers shooting down actual slave-owners and slave-traders.

Balladeer’s Blog has examined several categories:

BLAXPLOITATION FILMS THAT DESERVE A CLOSER LOOK

darktown-strutters-movie-poster-1975-1020465143Comment: From Pulpish action epics to political satire to black biker films to tastelessly explicit looks at the hardcore ugliness of the Atlantic slave trade, these films boldly went where no mainstream movies of the time period dared to go.  

Examples: Superfly, a neglected gangster classic … The Spook Who Sat by the Door, about a successful armed black uprising … The Brotherhood of Death, featuring black Vietnam vets fighting the Klan … Mister Deathman, with a black James Bond in Apartheid-era South Africa.    

Top Film On List: Darktown Strutters, an in-your-face satire on race, politics and consumerism presented in a style that seems equal parts Richard Pryor and South Park.  

FOR FULL LIST: https://glitternight.com/2012/03/10/eight-blaxploitation-films-that-deserve-a-closer-look/

BLAXPLOITATION HORROR FILMS Continue reading

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BLAXPLOITATION HORROR FILMS FOR HALLOWEEN SEASON

Blackenstein

Blackenstein

Balladeer’s Blog’s month-long celebration of Halloween continues! When it comes to the tasteless but enjoyably bad blaxploitation horror films of the 1970’s it seems like the lion’s share of the attention always goes to Blacula and its sequel, Scream, Blacula, Scream with a little attention left over for Ganja and Hess, since it features the African American hero from the original Night of the Living Dead in one of his few screen appearances.

In honor of the Halloween season Balladeer’s Blog will take a look at some of the neglected blaxploitation horror movies, all of which deserve to have a larger audience than just me and my fellow bad movie geeks. It’s in the spirit of my Continue reading

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TOP FOUR FRONTIERADO MOVIES: NUMBER THREE – POSSE (1993)

possePOSSE is a terrific western about a gang of African American gunfighters (plus the goofiest Baldwin brother) involved in an action-packed epic journey across the American west. The Frontierado holiday (which will be here Friday August 2nd) is the perfect time of year to hunker down with this film while drinking a Cactus Jack or a Deuces Wild or two. I’ll review the recipes for those mixed drinks in a few days, for now we’ll focus on the third-place movie on our countdown.

Posse stars Mario Van Peebles, who also directed, as Jesse Lee, the brooding, revenge-driven hero of the saga. He and all but one member of his gang, our titular posse, are soldiers fighting in Cuba during the Spanish-American War in 1898. A dangerous assault they carry out turns out to be a Continue reading

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