40th Anniversary of 1972 and 1973 Black Horror Movies

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Horror movies with predominantly Black casts represent a niche segment of the horror genre that has been under appreciated for decades. A number of these films continue to entertain new generations of movie aficionados. These films are national treasures and should be a part of any film collection. The Museum of UnCut Funk pays homage to Blaxpolitation Horror films of 1972 and 1973.

Blacula – Directed by William Crain and stars William Marshall in the title role about an 18th-century African prince named Mamuwalde, who is turned into a vampire and later locked in a coffin by Count Dracula. Two centuries later, the now-undead Mamuwalde rises from his coffin attacking various residents in modern day Los Angeles. Mamuwalde later meets Tina, played by Vonetta McGee, a woman he believes to be the reincarnation of his deceased wife Luva.

Gargoyles – An anthropologist/paleontologist and his daughter, while travelling through the southwestern US, stumble upon a colony of living, breathing gargoyles who in the end only want to be left alone. Gargoyles was a TV thriller.

Night of the Cobra Woman –  Night of the Cobra Woman is a 1972 horror film co-produced by New World Pictures that was shot in the Philippines. Roger Corman expressed great disappointment in the final product and thought its main problem was the script badly lacked logic.

The Thing With Two Heads – Directed by Lee Frost and written by Wes Bishop. The film stars Rosey Grier, Ray Milland, Don Marshall, Roger Perry, Kathy Baumann, and Chelsea Brown. Maxwell Kirshner, played by Ray Milland, is a dying wealthy racist who demands that his head be transplanted onto a healthy body. As his health rapidly deteriorates, there remains only one alternative: graft Kirshner’s head onto the body of a Black death row inmate named Jack Moss played by Rosey Grier.

Alabama’s Ghost – A nightclub janitor discovers a secret room, finds old magician’s belongings, tries on the costumes and becomes “Alabama, King of the Cosmos.”

Black Voodoo Exorcist – The mummy of long dormant, but powerful Caribbean voodoo priest Gatanebo gets revived on a luxury South Seas ocean liner as a big buff bald guy and proceeds to terrorize the passengers. Gatanebo beheads several folks, occasionally reverts back to his prune-faced mummified state, and falls for the ravishing Sylvia, who reminds him of his old flame Kenya.

Blackenstein – Eddie is a Vietnam veteran who loses his arms and legs when he steps on a land mine, but a brilliant surgeon is able to attach new limbs. Unfortunately an insanely jealous assistant (who has fallen in love with Eddie’s fiance) switches Eddie’s DNA injections, transforming him into a gigantic killer.

Ganja and Hess (aka Double Possession) – Directed by Bill Gunn and stars Marlene Clark and Duane Jones. The film follows the exploits of archaeologist Dr. Hess Green, played by Duane Jones, who becomes a vampire after being stabbed by his intelligent, but unstable, assistant, played by Bill Gunn with an ancient cursed dagger. Green falls in love with his assistant’s widow, Ganja, played by Marlene Clark, who learns Green’s dark secret.

Scream, Blacula, Scream – After a dying Voodoo queen, Mama Loa, chooses an adopted apprentice, Lisa Fortier (Pam Grier) as her successor, her arrogant son and true heir, Willis, played by 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 resurrect the vampire to do his bidding. However, while it brings Mamuwalde back to life, he quickly bites Willis upon awakening. Willis now finds himself in a curse of his own doing: made into a vampire hungering for blood and, ironically, a slave to the very creature he sought to control.

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