Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Blaxploitation, Part 1


Such a rich genre, where to start?
Hmmm....

Well, there's really no way to dig into this without getting "political", so I may as well just let loose.
Skip ahead to the first picture if you don't wanna hear my manic street preacher ramblings.

First of all, who the hell got exploited?
The checks all cashed, and money don't care what color you are.

But, the name stuck, so I guess let's go with it...cuz no one knows what the fuck you're talking about otherwise...

And, I dunno what I'd call it instead.
Black empowerment, I guess.

But...black empowerment is really human empowerment.
(Keep down any segment of your society, you're only fucking yourself over)

And, we all could use more of that (empowerment), period.

Everything is so fucking soulless and ball-less lately.
Every fucking new song on the radio is another mawkish candy-coated siren song of surrender.
Every 4 out of 5 films is either some shitty evil rom-com that lies to you about what love ought to be, and never fucking is, to unload a fresh bucket of misery on your already hard life.
Or, some sentimental supernatural claptrap about an intelligent horse that loves its owners.
Or, a dolphin, or whatever.
Maybe it's talking puppies, who gives a shit?
And, these insipid lying faces in these dopey films, are almost all white.
Picked by white casting directors, playing out a lifeless script written by white writers.

What fucking doorway to Hell did I open?
And when did it happen?
Did I sleepwalk?
Was that how I missed it?

How about "cinema with goddamn balls"?
"Movies with a muthafucking spine"?
How about that for a fucking title?

Cuz, we damned well know by now, in raw naked 20/20 hindsight,  that the people that came up with "Blaxploitation", as a derogatory, are the same lying, slithering, little weasel-fuck weaklings that have made the world the way it is now.
Pathetic.

Where are these films now?
Why aren't they in constant rotation on TCM?

Why aren't they on AMC?

Why can't our children rattle off the titles the way they can Pokemon monsters?

Where are the Shaft and Slaughter action figures in the comic shops?

Why aren't these heroes as celebrated in our culture as Superman, or Robocop?

Shit, where's Pam Grier Barbie?
Last two fuckin' generations of girls have been programmed to think shopping is empowerment.
What the fuck happened?

You know what's really exploitation?
Tyler Perry.
Tyler Perry churns out minstrel shows.
Yeah, I said that shit.
Fuck Tyler Perry.
Madea is "Blaxploitation", muthafucka.

Fuck all the "bitches and hoes", rappers too.
Goofball clowns.

No, the whole damned human race needs "Blaxploitation", back.

In a big fuckin' way, man.

There, now I'm charged up, now we can proceed...

Sweet Seetback's Baadasssss Song


"Rated X by an all white jury".
I love it.

Hey, so, Sweetback hacks a couple dirty cops to death with their own handcuffs?

What's to be offended with there?
That's a necessary public service.
I don't see the problem.
Show it to your kids.
Get 'em up close to the tube.

Soundtrack is by Earth, Wind, and Fire. Yes!
This got the whole genre rolling.
You couldn't even make this now.


Shaft Trilogy


You're daaaamn right!

Accept no substitutes.

Man, can you imagine being a black kid in the 70's, and then Shaft comes along?
I'll never in my life know what that thrill must have been like.

Anyhoo, theme song by Chef from South Park.
Shame how that all ended....

Eh, let's remember better days...




Superfly


Now, see, every culturally illiterate idiot will tell you, Superfly was a pimp.

Superfly was not a pimp.

Superlfy was a reformed coke dealer with the fashion sense of a pimp.

Willie Dynamite was a pimp!

Get this shit right!


Slaughter


No "blaxploitation", review would be complete without Jim Brown.

Here, he's black Punisher before Punisher, essentially.

Vietnam vet, parents killed by the mob, it's pretty close.

Jim Brown, bloody revenge, what's not to love?


Pam Grier


Pam Grier, the queen.
*Nods*

These are the ones that solidified her reputation.

So, with Coffey, you've got a nurse as an anti-drug vigilante.

With Foxy Brown, you've got an anti-drug and prostitution vigilante who cuts a dude's dick off, and puts it in a jar.

With Sheba Baby, she's a vigilante again, trying to stop the mob from shaking down her dad's business.
(Lotta mob action in these...)

But, with Friday Foster, it gets a bit political, with Pam having to stop the assassination of black political figures.
Not just from whitey, but corrupt blacks too.
Treachery is afoot!
Cool!


The Grier/Markov team-ups


These are the ones MADTV parodied with Debra Wilson, and Mo-Collins.

Shit, I gotta see that gladiatorial one, that looks like a hoot....howcome no one tells you about this shit?

Well, I am now.
Pam Grier did a fuggin' Amazon Gladiator picture.
Soak that in.


Other Bad Mamma Jammas


Now, Cleopatra Jones was in the works before Coffey, but Coffey was rushed into production, and beat Cleopatra Jones to the theaters, and became popular first.

Coffey/Foxy/Sheba were vigilantes, but Cleopatra was a full-on secret agent.
Big difference.

Christie Love was an undercover cop.

Lady Coca is just out to find whomever framed her.

TNT Jackson is a karate expert (lotta karate/kung-fu in these) out to avenge her brother.
(Shit, this must be why Boondocks is so full of martial arts references)

And Velvet Smooth is a private detective.

So, you got all the bases covered there.

And no, they're not Coffey clones, as said, Coffey was actually a knockoff of Cleopatra Jones, but got there first.
Like Alexander Graham Bell, and Elisha Gray.
But, screw all that noise, isn't there enough room for multiple chocolate foxes?
I think so.


Ebony, Ivory, & Jade



A.K.A "Fox Force", which was the inspiration for "Fox Force Five", referenced in "Pulp fiction".

Yes, Tarantino is a nut for "blaxploitation", I wish he were writing this.
Or....maybe not, it would be a book, and I'm not trying to do a book, I'm just skimming through, and nodding ya towards stuff you might like.

And, if a funny rant comes to me, hey....


Hammer


The first flick to feature Fred Williamson, the most prolific star of Blaxploitation films, who would even go on to write, direct, and produce.

You may also know him as the black dude in "From Dusk Til Dawn".

Again with Tarantino.
He's gonna pop up a lot too.

Anyway, he's a boxer in this one, and has to save his girlfriend from mobsters (see?) who want him to take a dive.


Black Godfathers


"Black Caesar", and "Hell Up In Harlem", are a duology, and "The Black Godfather", is...some other one.
Didn't have a place for it, tacked it on with the others.

Anyway, first two are Fred Williamson again, and hey....howcome all the black gangsta rappers worship Tony Montana from "Scarface", and not Tommy Gibs from Caesar/Harlem?

Is "Scarface", really the better film/character?
I dunno, you tell me.


The Nigger Charley Trilogy


All kinds of pleasant discoveries researching this.

Like the Pam Grier gladiator thing.

So, you mean to tell me, my militant fantasy of a badass black dude getting revenge in a fuckin' western really happened?
And there was three of 'em?
And they had the balls to have "the N word", in the title?

And the cherry on top, is that it's fuggin' Fred Williamson again?
Holy shit, sign me up for some of that!

Oh, man, westerns are exactly the genre I love to see a bite taken out of!
I mean, really special ones, like The Dollars Trilogy, or "Unforgiven", rise above, but so many of 'em are that inauthentic, white hat vs. black hat, nobody swears, the whores don't have the clap, American pie, cracker-ass, Republican-Disneyland shit.

Go fucking GET 'em Nigger Charley!!
GET 'em!!
*Shakes fist*


Mandingo



So....yeah, I debated back and forth with myself "to Mandingo, or not to Mandingo?".

Yeah,finally, it/they had to go in there.

I dunno, I just know they were controversial, people of both races face-palmed over 'em, and to this day,  if you use "Mandingo", in the wrong neighborhood, in the wrong tone, you can still get clobbered.

What goes on?
From what I can gather in the posters, and the 70's SNL parody skit, there's a lot of inter-racial humping.
Everyone's fucking everyone.

...*shrug*...well...that went on!

 Must have just been shitty, and/or corny, in execution, I guess....

But..those posters look like they're giving it to the whole "Gone With The Wind", thing.
Which, if so, is fuckin' great, cuz I think that's one's overrated soap-opera shit.
Always have.
I tackle it every ten years as I age, and it's always an eye-roller.
Like with "Nigger Charley", go get 'em!!


They make their own rules!!



Dirty cops, violent detectives, bounty hunters.

You had the whole gamut there.

And hey, the character from "Trouble Man", was called "Mr. T".
Come on, that can't be a fuggin' coincidence...

Hey, Isaac Hayes (A.K.A. Chef) did one!
And his had a potty mouthed Nichelle Nichols!
Can't beat that!
I'm gonna just go ahead and assume that's the best of this bunch, and move on.

But, hey, Jim Brown, and Fred Williamson again....

These had to have been the Shaft knockoffs...


Love Machines!



Yeah, the poster for "Black Shampoo", I get a kick out of the most.
Take that, Warren Beatty!
Not only does Black Shampoo service all the ladies, he'll fuckin' mess you up too!

Meanwhile, Black Samson is a club owner who tries to keep drugs off his streets,...and then the MOB messes with him!
All that's missing is karate there...

So, there you go, these are what typically get parodied when they (meaning hack comedians and writers)  make a joke out of Blaxploitation.

Stuff like this really existed.

....but fuck it, I think it's fuckin' cool as shit.

No one laughs when it's a virile white man kicking ass.
Well, for example, the shitty Beatty flick.
Wonder why....
No I don't, it's racism.
Check yourselves.

And, one wishes there had been more real life Black Samsons in the 80's, or there wouldn't be the disease of gangs in the black community now.
Tragic how that battle got lost.


Blaxploitation Karate


Toldja there was a lot of karate flicks in these.

And these are just the pure karate films, nevermind all the ones with karate sprinkles on top.

Hey, cool, three of those are Jim Kelly!
The black dude in "Enter The Dragon"!
How cool is that?
I submit that it cannot get much cooler.
Nosiree.
Why...I bet that's the origin of all this karate influence, it passes right down from Bruce to Jim....whoa.
Who knew?

But, getting back to my opening rant...why isn't Jim Kelly as beloved and revered as that goofball redneck Chuck Norris?
WTF?
Are we really still that bad off with the prejudice?
:(

Okay, "That Man Bolt", is more of a James Bond type thing, with karate sprinkles, but...I needed to fill that corner in.
And, hey, Fred Williamson again!
Toldja he did a lot of these.

Speaking of Bond...

Live And Let Die


...counts as blaxploitation.

Ayep.
Betcha didn't know that, didja?
Well, now ya do.


The Cosby Poitier Trilogy


Another discovery along the lines of Gladiator-Grier, and Nigger Charley.

No one ever told me these even existed!
In my whole stinking fucking life!

Cosby, and Portier where a team for three flicks??
And holy shit, look at their co-stars!!

Harry Belafonte! Richard Pryor! Jimmy Walker! Ossie Davis! James Earl Jones!
Holy shit, I wanna cry!
Why doesn't TCM play these!?
Oh, my heart aches!

Anyway, Cosby & Poitier's characters have different names in all of these, but fans consider them a trilogy nonetheless.


Speaking of Ossie Davis...

Ossie Davis


...directed two of these

They look pretty fuckin' badass too.

Especially "Gordon's War".
The revolution!
It finally came!
...don't I fuckin' wish...

Anyhoo, you young 'uns might know Ossie Davis as Jack Kennedy from "Bubba Ho-Tep".


Blacula



Played by "The King Of Cartoons",  from Pee-Wee's Playhouse.

I've seen the first Blacula, and I think it kicks fuckin' ass.

It's actually fuckin' scary.
I put it up there with the good Dracula films.

William Marshall is just fuckin' awesome.
Case closed.

And, while we're on Blacula...


Blaxploitation Horror


Yeah! Look how many they did!

No one told me!
Oh, it was kinda hinted at in the MADTV parodies, and Cracked magazine did one (thanks, Hyla), but, um, yeah, look!

8 of 'em, 10 if you throw in the Blaculas.

We got Frankenstein, Mr. Hyde, Zombies ("Sugar Hill"), haunted house, three possession ones, one a take on "The Exorcist" ("Abby"), one featuring Duane Jones from "Night Of The Living Dead", (Ganja & Hess").

And, of course, the infamous "the thing with two heads".
*Laughs*

Yeah, some of these are cheesey, maybe most, but....look how many shitty whitey horrors got churned out that people are nostalgic about...
*Shrug*

Ayep, "Blaxploitation", really did everything, I don't even see how you can call it one genre.


Rudy Ray Moore/ Dolemite


MADTV really tore into these, but...how can you parody something that's actually like what it is, and is purposely silly?

Yes, kiddies, Dolemite existed.

It's not just a skit.
Check 'em out.


And...that's enough for tonight, tomorrow, more of these.


5 comments:

Paladin said...

That might just be the most thorough rundown of Blaxploitation flicks of all time! So glad you got Blacula in there; William Marshall was a terrific actor. And I agree: Live and Let Die should definitely count! Definitely some blaxploitation themes there.

On the same basis, let's not forget "The Omega Man." Remember Lisa (Rosalind Cash) telling Neville (Chuck Heston) "Up against the wall, you mother. Don't turn, just stand. When I want you to turn, I'll turn you. On or off, up or around, I'll turn you. Now, cool it!" *lol*

hyla2 said...

HOT DAMN, SON!

Wow. That is extensive. And that was some rant, too.

Geez, now I'm not sure why you bothered to come to me for input; you seem to have a WAY better handle on blaxploitation flicks than I do!

Ahh . . . back in the day I went through a phase where I began a blaxploitation 'collection'. I used to have 'Truck Turner', 'Foxy Brown', and 'Hell Up In Harlem' on VHS!

Sadly, no longer. Couple'a years back? Hocked 'em to a used bookstore. 'Tis true.

But, I still have the 'Shaft' soundtrack, and volumes 1 and 2 of 'MGM Soul Cinema' blaxpoitation film sountrack greatest hits, at least.

*sigh*

hyla2 said...

I assume you're saving some of the stuff we discussed for the upcoming part 2.

*big obvious wink*

Don't forget, Sam Jackson did that 'Shaft' . . . I dunno, not remake, or *shudder* reboot . . . modern day sequel?

Actually pretty decent, if you didn't see it.

Diacanu said...

Yep, everything we mentioned is in there.
Been working on it until just now.
Phew.

hyla2 said...

Just occurred to me, as it was on the TV-box last night . . .

Steve Martin's 'The Jerk'!

Quasi-blaxploitation by technicality?

(Navin Johnson being raised as a 'poor black child' and all . . .)

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