Archive for Pam Grier

Escape from L.A.

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The year is 2013 and Snake Plissken is back from Escape From New York. An earthquake has separated Los Angeles from the mainland. In the New Moral America, all citizens not conforming to the new laws (no smoking, no red meat, no Muslims in South Dakota) are deported to L.A., now a penal colony. The President’s daughter has stolen a doomsday device and has fled to L.A. It’s up to Snake Plissken to find the President’s daughter and retrieve the doomsday device before its too late.

What people are saying:

“A dreadful belated sequel to the entertaining Escape From New York. Perfectly epitomizes how Carpenter’s skills have eroded since his late ’70s, early ’80s heyday.” 2 1/2 stars

“It’s preposterous and there’s nothing particularly new that wasn’t introduced in the last one, Escape From L.A. is nonetheless an extremely fun and entertaining watch with plenty of social commentary strewn throughout.” 2 1/2 stars

“Set in a not too far dystopian future , this movie is a sequel to John Carpenter’s “Escape from New York.” Although not a very popular film, I actually liked it. I love the way movie gives you the real deal about politics and our society in a humorous and adventurous way. But at the same time, it is a warning of the totalitarian government that continues to rise. Despite bad special effects, the movie still delivers a lot of action and interesting characters.” 3 1/2 stars

“Pretty bad movie. It tries to be cheesy, B-movie entertainment, and it succeeds, except for the entertainment part. It’s too cheesy, the effects are not good, even for the time, the action is ok, and the performances are bland, especially Russell. One of the moments that proved this movie’s quality was when Russell and Fonda surfed a tsunami in downtown LA to chase a car.” 2 1/2 stars

“While not as gritty as “Escape From New York” this movie still manages to be very entertaining. It may be a tad bit campy in comparison and some parts feel like carbon copies from the first. There was even a point in the beginning when I checked to make sure I was Watching the right movie. This movie is still a good time and I definitely recommend a watch, especially if you enjoyed the first movie.” 3 stars

Advertisements

Black Mama, White Mama

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , on July 16, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Brought to a women’s prison in a tropical country which resembles the film’s Philippines-set location, Lee (Pam Grier) and Karen (Margaret Markov) encounter sadistic matron Densmore (Lynn Borden) who voyeuristically observes through a peephole as the inmates take a shower. Prone to emotional outbursts, she orders a guard to escort Lee to her private room, puts on a black glove and strikes Lee across the face, but is almost immediately restrained when the level-headed warden Logan (Laurie Burton), with whom she has a lesbian relationship, forcibly enters the room and orders Lee’s return to the prisoners’ area.

Following a fight in the prisoners’ meal hall between Lee and Karen, which spreads into a free-for-all, the two are punished by lockup inside a metal box exposed to the broiling tropical sun, with only enough space to stand back-to-back and, shortly thereafter, scheduled for transfer to a maximum security prison. As the lightly escorted bus traverses a country road close to the jungle, the convoy is attacked by revolutionaries, led by Ernesto (Zaldy Zschornack), bent on rescuing his companion, Karen, a key member of the group. In the ensuing battle, Lee and Karen, who are chained to each other, strangle matron Densmore with their chain, while warden Logan is fatally shot by the rebels. At that point, army reinforcements led by Captain Cruz (Eddie Garcia) arrive on the scene, the rebels retreat and Lee and Karen run into the woods. They subsequently force a couple of nuns to give them their habits, then travel on a bus in this disguise and, later, after getting a ride from a truck driver (Bruno Punzalah), throw him out of the truck and drive off.

Before being sentenced on a drug charge, Lee was a prostitute for the region’s most prominent pimp and drug dealer Vic Cheng (Vic Diaz), whose $40,000 of ill-gotten profits she managed to hide and, as a result, is now being hunted by him and his henchmen. Captain Cruz, pressured for results by his superior, Galindo (Alfonso Carvajal), visits the pool hall frequented by Ruben (Sid Haig), the cowboy-styled leader of a rival criminal gang and offers him the opportunity of a substantial financial gain in exchange for interrupting the activities of his rival, Vic Cheng, as well as the revolutionaries’ gun-running. However, when Cruz, with Galindo in the back seat with a female companion, attempts to follow Ruben by driving at a distance behind his vehicle, Ruben doubles back, forces Cruz to stop, makes Cruz and Galindo drop their pants and announces that, based on their respective sizes, he intends to castrate them with a gunshot, but actually only fires a shot at the tire of their car. He then drives off with members of his gang, taking Galindo’s attractive young woman with him.

Ruben subsequently visits the house of one of his subservient associates and immediately takes the man’s all-too-willing two daughters into the bedroom, locking the door. After several minutes pass, the concerned and discomfited associate knocks on the door, informing Ruben that Ernesto and his revolutionaries are nearby, having taken possession of the tracking dogs which Ruben has been using to search for Lee and Karen. The ensuing shootout with Ernesto’s men results in death for Ruben and all members of his gang. Ultimately Karen is reunited with Ernesto who, with a single shot, severs the chain linking her to Lee. Later on the docks, in another shootout and explosive blast between Vic Cheng’s henchmen and Ernesto’s revolutionaries, almost everyone is killed, including Karen, while wounded Ernesto manages to get away with a couple of his men. Lee, helped by an older, armed friend (unbilled Andy Centenera) also survives and leaves the island, as Captain Cruz oversees the inspection and identification of the numerous dead bodies strewn over the docks.

REVIEW:

It’s about time for some Pam Grier love around here, don’t you think? Digging through what Netflix has to offer, I came across Black Mama, White Mama. Now, that title alone, makes me think this is some kind of 70s revolution flick, but I could be totally wrong. Let’s find out more, shall we?

What is this about?

Chained together, two female prisoners of different races stab their way to freedom while igniting a shooting war between gangsters and militants.

What did I like?

Prison. For some reason, during the period in which this film was made, there was a slew of female prison films to be released, many of which featuring the same cast, led by Pam Grier. You can compare it to today with reality TV or superhero films. Having never been in prison, especially a women’s prison, I don’t have a clue as to how accurate these portrayals are, but I can say that I do enjoy using the prison as a way to set up and develop characters, rather than each have their individual stories, randomly come together, and then we get the film. Personal taste, I suppose.

Suspense. Going into this flick, I didn’t know what to expect in terms of genre. As it turned out, this fell in the category of  action/suspense. Grier and Margaret Markov’s escape was not the easiest to accomplish. Once they got away, they were hunted, still chained together, and had to deal with outside forces who were paid to take them dead or alive. As the audience is watching this, all they can think of is, will they make it? Quite exciting, actually.

Bondage…er…bonding. Who among us could be chained together with someone while trying to escape a prison island and not develop some sort of bond with our compatriot, no matter our feelings for them? The relationship between these two women is a major selling point for the film, hence the title. Watching them go from enemies in the prison, to the hot box, to frenemies, and finally to such close friends that when one is killed, the other is in tears as the final credits roll is some pretty decent character development.

What didn’t I like?

More Pam. Obviously, Pam Grier is the star power that drives this film, and yet we don’t get much of her. Sure, she’s on screen for a nice amount of time, but she seems to be more of the, pardon the term, “bottom bitch”, while Markov makes her attempt to become a star. Had that plan worked, I probably wouldn’t bring this up, but considering how Grier’s star was on the rise with films like Foxy Brown and Coffy, films like this and The Big Doll House are why her film career stalled until Quentin Tarantino brought us Jackie Brown. Grier didn’t necessarily need to be the star of this, but she could have been given a juicier part, or at least something else to do.

L-word. Apparently, it is a prerequisite in order to work in a women’s prison to be a lesbian. I say this because just about every women’s prison film seems to involve lesbians, one of which is a sadistic taskmaster. Is this just a stereotype that has turned into a trope? Or just something to excite the male viewers (as if sweaty, nearly naked women in close quarters wasn’t enough…not to mention the shower scenes!!!). I don’t know, I guess I’ve seen this so much now that it is starting to become an annoyance, rather than the pleasurable, for lack of a better term, character relationship it is meant to be.

Fight the power. As it turns out, one of our escapees is actually a freedom fighter. Here’s a hint, it isn’t Grier’s character. While it is hinted at throughout the film, this part never really comes to fruition until the final scene when they are actually about to escape, and then all hell breaks loose. For me, while understanding the quandary it would be to do the freedom fighter thing while escaping prison, I felt that this is an angle that should have been explored a bit more, rather than just skated over as an excuse to bring in some men.

I don’t understand why they call Black Mama, White Mama a Blaxploitation flick. Grier is the only African-American in the cast, from what I recall, save for some extras, I believe. As far as the film goes, it isn’t as the last few Grier flicks I’ve watched, but it isn’t on par with the flicks that made her a star. The acting is horrible, the sets look recycled from all the other prison films that were done at this time, and the story seems uninspired. Do I recommend this? Perhaps if you’re having a Pam Grier viewing party and need some filler before you get to the good stuff. Even then, I feel that this would be a stretch, especially considering that you could take her out of this flick and it wouldn’t matter, except that you would need someone else to fill the title role. Don’t waste your time on this one. Look for her better flicks, if you’re in the mood for some kick-ass Pam Grier action (and who isn’t?)

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Revisited: Coffy

Posted in Movie Reviews, Revisited with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Nurse “Coffy” Coffin (Pam Grier), seeks revenge for her younger sister’s getting hooked on drugs and having to live in a rehabilitation home, a product of the drug underworld, mob bosses and chain of violence that exists in her city. The film opens with Coffy showing her vigilante nature by killing a drug supplier and dealer. She does this without getting caught by using her sexuality as an attractive and athletic woman willing to do anything for a drug fix.

She lures the men to their residences, which gives her the privacy to kill them both. After the killings, Coffy returns to her regular job at a local hospital operating room, but is asked to leave when she is too jumpy when handing tools to the surgeon.

The film introduces Coffy’s police friend Carter (William Elliott), who used to date Coffy in their younger years. Carter is portrayed as a straight-shooting officer who is not willing to bend the law for the mob or thugs who have been bribing many officers at his precinct. Coffy doesn’t believe his strong moral resolve until two hooded men break into Carter’s house while she’s there and beat Carter severely, temporarily crippling him. This enrages Coffy, giving her further provocation to continue her work as a vigilante, killing those responsible for harming Carter and her sister.

Coffy’s boyfriend Howard Brunswick (Booker Bradshaw) is a city counselor who appears to be deeply in love with Coffy at the beginning of the film. Coffy admires Brunswick for his body as well as his use of law to solve societal problems. She is very happy when he announces his plan to run for Congress, and his purchase of a night club. The two share a passionate love scene in the first part of the film.

Coffy’s next targets are a pimp named King George (Robert DoQui), who is supposedly one of the largest providers of prostitutes and illegal substances in the city, and Mafia boss Arturo Vitroni (Allan Arbus).

Coffy questions and abuses a former patient of hers who was a known drug user to gain insight into the type of woman King George likes and where he keeps his stash of drugs. This is the first scene where Coffy brutalizes another woman and shows no remorse because the former patient is using drugs again and thus a societal deviant. Coffy quickly goes to a resort posing as a Jamaican woman looking to work for King George.

George is quickly interested in her exotic nature and asks her to come with him back to his house to experience Coffy himself first. One of the prostitutes returns from a far away job and gets disgruntled and jealous when seeing George taking such a liking to Coffy. At a party later that day Coffy and the other prostitutes get into a massive brawl, which entices mob boss Vitroni and he demands that he have her tonight.

Coffy prepares herself to murder Vitroni and just when she is about to shoot, is overtaken by his men. She lies and tells Vitroni that King George ordered her to kill him, which makes Vitroni order George to be murdered. Vitroni’s men kill George by dragging him through the streets by a noose.

Coffy then discovers her clean-cut boyfriend is actually corrupt when she’s shown to him at a meeting of the mob and several police officials. He denies knowing her other than as a prostitute and Coffy is sent to her death. Once again, Coffy uses her sexuality to seduce her would-be killers. They try injecting her with drugs to sedate her, but she had switched these out for sugar earlier. Faking a high, she kills her unsuspecting hitmen with a piece of glass.

Running to avoid capture, Coffy carjacks a vehicle to escape. Coffy drives to Vitroni’s house, murders him, and then goes to Brunswick’s to do the same. He pleads forgiveness and just as she is about to accept, a naked white woman comes out of the bedroom. At this, Coffy shoots Brunswick in the groin. The film then closes with Coffy being satisfied at having avenged her sister and Carter.

REVIEW:

I am such a glutton for punishment! The luscious, busy, beautiful, Nubian goddess Pam Grier will be making an appearance down the road in New Orleans at Comic Con. However, due to budget restrictions, I won’t be able to go. So, I decided to give Pam some love her on this little blog by checking out some of her films, starting with Coffy. Before I forget, if anyone wants to donate to the cause, feel free to do so!

What is this about?

Determined to avenge her young sister, a tough nurse goes on a bloody rampage to execute the drug dealers and corrupt cops who hooked her on heroin. Coffy appoints herself judge, jury and executioner in this classic 1970s blaxploitation flick.

What did I like?

Drugs. Blaxploitation films at the time this was released were more interested in pushing drugs in the African-American community, rather than showing the dark side of becoming addicted. A prime example of this is Superfly. However, with this filmmaker’s ball of steel, he turned the genre on its head and turned drugs into basically the villain of this film.

Goddess. The very first time I saw Pam Grier was in an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Ever since then, I’ve been in love with this vision of loveliness. Sure, she’s a bit older now, but no less gorgeous, but back then she had a “banging’ body”. There was a video on Youtube that I was watching the other day that used “Brick House” by the Commodores and another used “She’s a Bad Mama Jama” by Carl Carlton. Both songs perfectly describe Pam. The character of Coffy is a badass chick who doesn’t take anything from anyone. She also is brutal in her quest for revenge, something that wasn’t seen on film from a female during this time.

Set the tone. From the opening scene, the audience knows they aren’t in for some watered down, girly flick with guns. Yes, that is what some people thought this was going to be when it was released, if you can believe it. Using her sex appeal to get her way and then becoming a cold-blooded, vengeance seeking killer is what you get in the opening and that is what you can expect for the entire film.

What didn’t I like?

Acting. I hate to say this about my goddess Pam, but she cannot act in the film. For that matter, neither can the rest of the cast. For a somewhat major produced film, one would expect better out of this and not this wooden acting, especially from Grier. She may be easy on the eyes, but I can’t help but think she was the Megan Fox of her time, based on this performance. That is, she had the looks but no discerning acting talent.

Spillage. Normally, I wouldn’t complain about this, but it seemed like every possible chance, Pam Grier was spilling out of her dress. Granted, who wouldn’t want to see her beautiful breasts on display? However, there is such a thing as too much. Seeing this happen in nearly all of her scenes just took the specialness, for lack of a better term, out of it. The same thing would have been said if she would have gotten completely naked in all those scenes, but instead there is just that once scene, and it is a special treat.

Plot. Don’t kid yourself with the plot. It is mostly irrelevant. All you need to know is that Grier is out for revenge. If this was a more comedic film, rather than the serious revenge flick it ultimately turns out to be, then that would be fine, but this feels like the kind of picture that you would want to have a plot that the audience can sink their teeth into. Sadly, that is not the case.

Coffy is regarded as the film that launched Pam Grier’s career, and with good reason. At the time she was an unknown and burst on the scene with a role and film that takes chances like this, of course she is going to have her career launched. The sad part, though, is that nothing else is really memorable about this film. I would have liked for there to have been more action, but looking at Pam and a decent enough story made this a watchable film, albeit average. If you’re a fan of nostalgia, especially one that seems to have a plot that was later reused for Black Dynamite, then give this a shot. What harm could it do?

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Big Doll House

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Collier (Brown) enters prison, having been found guilty of killing her husband. She is introduced to the pulchritudinous companions of her cell, in for crimes ranging from political insurgency to heroin addiction. The women trade tiffs, which leads to their torture by sadistic guard Lucian (Kathryn Loder). The torture ceremonies are viewed by an impassive cloaked figure.

Collier’s cellmates Alcott and Bodine (Collins and Woodell) plan to escape. Collier and another cellmate Ferina (Gina Stuart) agree to go along. Assisting is their other lesbian cellmate Grear (Pam Grier), though there are doubts Grear’s heroin addict girlfriend Harrad (Brooke Mills) will be equipped to escape.

Ferina, Alcott and Bodine break from the solitary confinement sauna and take their revenge on Lucian. The escapers wield guns, attitude, and a vacillating feminist/submissive sexuality to free themselves.

During their escape they round up various personnel from the prison as hostages, taking elegant prison warden Miss Dietrich (Christiane Schmidtmer), sympathetic prison medic Dr Phillips (Jack Davis), and two local men regularly allowed access to the prison to sell market produce, Harry (Sid Haig) and Fred (Jerry Franks).

REVIEW:

Who doesn’t want to see a good prison flick? Well, if that’s what you’re in the mood for, then The Big Doll House is the perfect flick for you. Well, maybe I should retract the “good” part of that statement, as I’m not sure this would qualify.

What is this about?

In this campy addition to the women in-prison genre, the systematic brutality and corruption of a grim Philippine prison leads a resourceful inmate and her fellow convicts to plan a big breakout with help from a pair of unwitting accomplices.

What did I like?

Girls with guns. Let’s not try to make this some kind of high brow flick, because that isn’t what it is. This is a 70s flick that focuses on two things, scantily clad women in prison and guns. In other words, this is more of a flick for guys. As a guy, I’m perfectly ok with that.

Torture. The torture scenes were something to behold, as you actually feel the pain that these women were enduring as the sadistic guard was having the pleasure of torturing them, while the hooded man watched on in silence. It gives a new definition to the term sadistic voyeur.

Men. There are 3 men in this film. One is the prison doctor who seems to know that something is a bit off and appears to truly care for the prisoners well-being. The other two deliver produce (and other things) to the prison and provide comic relief. None of these guys give top-notch performances, by any stretch of the imagination, but they don’t drag the film down, which is a plus.

What didn’t I like?

Submissive dominant. I’m all for a submissive woman as much as the next guy, but one of the chicks that was playing the submissive role had me scratching my head. When we first see her, she’s one of those women that mouths off to authority. For goodness sakes, she killed her husband for a reason I forgot. Does this sound like a woman who is going to submit to anyone? Of course, it is Pam Grier she is submitting to.

Authority. During the torture scenes, Lucian takes her hair down. For what reason, I don’t know, but she does it. Seems to be that she would be putting it up to perform torture, but what do I know. The warden is a truly beautiful woman, probably the best looking I’ve ever seen. Dar I say it, but she may have been too beautiful for this position. Think about it, a woman with model looks in a prison full of women who are sure to be jealous of her since they can’t make themselves all girlied up any time soon.

Make-up. Speaking of being all girlied up, it seems as if all the prisoners are wearing make-up. How is this possible in prison and when they’re all sweaty? Something isn’t quite right here, especially when it look as if all the guards, with the exception of the sadistic head guard, are not wearing any. I know this flick isn’t exactly trying to be the most realistic, but come on!

The Big Doll House is probably the best of these women in prison flicks. The plot actually makes sense, as opposed to Women in Cages and The Big Bird Cage. Having said that, it still is just an excuse to show scantily clad, and sometimes nude, women in prison, wrestling in mud, etc. I recommend this to those that have a flair for 70s flicks, but that’s about it. Even Pam Grier fans will be disappointed, especially since she comes to an abrupt end. To say I was disappointed is an understatement, but there is still some joy to be had from watching this. You have to make your own call, though.

3 out of 5 stars

The Big Bird Cage

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , on July 27, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

A buxom bad girl named Blossom (Pam Grier) is the rough-and-ready girlfriend of a radical guerrilla leader named Django (Sid Haig). But when Django’s mercenary friends itch for some female companionship, they devise a plan to liberate the inmates of a local women’s prison. With the help of another new inmate (Anitra Ford), Blossom and Django go up against a tyrannical warden (Andrés Centenera) to stage an explosive breakout.

REVIEW:

It is no secret that Pam Grier is one of my favorite classic actresses, ranking up with the likes of Lucille Ball and Jayne Mansfield, tied with Marilyn Monroe. So, it should come as no surprise that I try to see all of her films, especially the older ones. This is how I came across The Big Bird Cage. This doesn’t really fall into the usual blaxploitation films Pam is known for, but rather a female exploitation flick involving women in cages.

What did I like?

Pam. In all her buxom, busty glory, we get the Nubian goddess Pam Grier. When they talk about the total package of the 70s, they really must have been talking about her. Not only does she have the acting chops (hindered by these badly scripted films she’s been in), but she also has a killer body. I think this may have been the most she’s shown it off, without actually stripping down. Having said that, I’m not so sure I was a fan of her role in this film, but I can forgive just about anything because it’s Pam.

Location, location, location. Going in, I was of the belief that this film was going to be 90 minutes of nothing but women in the middle of the jungle in prison. I can’t say that I was relieved it wasn’t, but there was something that felt a bit like a breath of fresh air to have parts of the film, even if it is just the first couple of scenes, be in the city.

Females. Look, I’m a guy. I like seeing naked, sweaty women, so for me to not say this was something U liked would not give this film the credit it deserves, not to mention, most of the people who actually watch this film are watching ti just to see if they can get a peek at some massive mammaries, let’s be honest. I wish there was more of it, but the little we get is enough.

What didn’t I like?

Cage. The big bird cage is not used at all in this film, and yet it is the title. All we get from it is that these women are being forced into building it. You’d think they would have thought of a way to utilize it more or come up with a title that reflects how it is used, rather than having us believe we’re going to see some giant gird cage.

Guards. It is never really said, but there is the implication that the guards are of the homosexual variety. I guess for a prison fill of scantily clad, sweaty women, you can’t exactly be a horny straight guy, but these guys just run you the wrong way. Of course, their characters aren’t exactly supposed to be the most lovable, are they?

Escape. The final scenes are a daring escape, but it isn’t as daring as one would imagine, especially after all the build up. It was just a bid let down.

The Big Bird Cage can be considered a big bird poop by some. For me, I didn’t love or hate it. Yes, I’m, rather indifferent to this film, which is a shock since it star’s my beloved Pam. Do I recommend it? I can’t that I do, but it won’t hurt you to check it out.

3 out of 5 stars

 

Sheba, Baby

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on July 6, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Sheba Shayne (Pam Grier), a tough-talking Chicago private eye, returns to her Kentucky roots to help her father fight a hostile business takeover. But when the mob brutally murders him, Sheba must battle evil crime lord Pilot (D’Urville Martin) to reclaim her family’s honor and get revenge. Armed with curve-hugging outfits and shiny firearms, this lady killer takes her vendetta to new depths, setting sail on the high seas.

REVIEW:

Quentin Tarantino once said that Pam Grier may have been film’s first female action star. With films such as Coffy, Foxy Brown, Friday Foster, andSheba, Baby,I don’t think there can be any doubt that she is definitely at least one of the first. Unfortunately, though, this isn’t her best work.

What did I like?

Action. Say what you will about the film itself, there is no denying that the action here is totally awesome. Pam Grier really knows how to kick butt. One has to wonder why she was never chosen to be a Bond girl, though.

Pam Grier. Nothing more need be said.

Story. Sometimes the most basic of plots, such as a revenge story about a chick coming back to get revenge for the death of her father, works better than complex, confusing, convoluted plots.

What didn’t work?

Cast. As gorgeous ans Pam is in this flick, she and the rest of the cast just don’t cut it. They’re acting is beyond horrific. I can’t tell if it is them or the way this was written, but it is bad…real bad.

Curves not on display. It is no secret that in the 70s, Pam Grier was cast for her curvaceous bod. Unfortunately for us, though, most of her outfits in this film, with a couple of exceptions, don’t accentuate those assets. On top of that, she doesn’t disrobe like in her other films. Such a disappointment!

Sheba, Baby is not one of Miss Grier’s finest works, but it is a fun little blaxploitation flick, if you take it for what it is. I don’t recommend this to anyone who is looking for a good crime or revenge flick, but it is worth recommending in general, despite it being one of the worst acted films I’ve seen in quite some time. If you’re up for it, give it a shot.

2 3/4 out of 5 stars

Scream, Blacula, Scream!

Posted in Classics, Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

After a dying Voodoo queen, Mama Loa, chooses an adopted apprentice, Lisa Fortier (Pam Grier) as her successor, her true heir, Willis, (Richard Lawson) is outraged. Seeking revenge, he buys the bones of Mamuwalde the vampire from the former shaman of the voodoo cult, and uses voodoo to bring the vampire back to do his bidding. Returning to life, Mamuwalde turns Willis into a vampire and makes him his slave. Meanwhile, Justin, an ex-police officer with a large collection of African antiques and an interest in the occult, investigates the murders caused by Mamuwalde and his vampire horde. Justin meets Mamuwalde at a party he is hosting. Mamuwalde meets Lisa at the party and they talk about voodoo. Mamuwalde later asks Lisa for help to cure him of the curse of the vampire, using a voodoo doll that looks like the prince. Justin pulls together other cops to go to the Mamuwalde residence to investigate the recent deaths. While she is performing the ritual, Justin interrupts with other cops performing a raid on the house. Lisa refuses to help Mamuwalde after she sees him kill the other police in the house. In his anger, Mamuwalde, now calling himself Blacula, is about to bite Justin when Lisa stabs the prince’s voodoo doll killing Mamuwalde and forever destroying Blacula.

REVIEW:

A friend of mine posted on facebook about how awesome Blacula was. This led to he and I getting into a discussion about the sequel, this film, Scream, Blacula, Scream! I have had this on my radar for a while now, but just haven’t gotten around to it until now.

So, what do I like about this film?

That voodoo that you do so well. I tend to be a fan of voodoo related things, so the aspect of this film that brought in that culture really captured my attention.

Pam Grier. She’s hot…need I say more?!?

Real vampires. In this day and age, vampires have become shadows of what they should be. Back in the day, though, they were to be violent creatures that were to be feared and not some sparkly drama queens! It was nice to see vampires who suck blood the way they should!

What didn’t I like?

Jealousy. Typical of flicks like this, there is the jealous boyfriend who makes things worse. What I mean by that is that he barges in during a voodoo sequence as Blacula was getting the evil expunged. Had he not barged in, then that would have been the end of Blacula, but nooo, he just had to barge in and ended up getting quite a few cops killed and nearly cost him his own life.

Make up. The job they did with the make up was horrible. Yes, they made the vampires look like they were the undead, but something seemed off. Maybe they just didn’t use the right make up for their skin tone?

Resurrection. At the end of the first film, Blacula was killed, and yet through the ritualistic voodoo practice, he is brought back to life, and with the exception of one small flashback, his exploits from back then are forgotten. I guess you can make the case that this was forgotten when he dies, but he remembers what Dracula did to him, so what’s the difference.

Please don’t get the wrong idea. I did enjoy Scream, Blacula, Scream!, but it wasn’t as enjoyable as the first film. This is one of those films that severely suffers from sequel-itis. They should have left well-enough alone, especially since the first one ended so completely. I’ll never complain about a film that has Pam Grier in it, but this one just should not have been made. That being said, it doesn’t suck, but rather is just an average outing that you can be best served avoiding.

3 out of 5 stars