FullyÂ updated to includeÂ Baadassss and The Hebrew Hammer and to cover the deaths of Isaac Hayes and Rudy Rae Moore
In the early 1970s a type of film emerged that featured all-black casts; really cool soul, R 'n' B, and disco soundtracks; characters sporting big guns, big dashikis, and even bigger 'fros; and had some of the meanest, baddest attitudes to shoot their way acrossÂ the screen. An antidote to the sanitized "safe" images of blackness that Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby presented to America, these films depicted a reality about the world which African-American audiences could identify with, even if the stories themselves were pure fantasy. This guide reviews and discusses more thanÂ 60 Blaxploitation films, considering them from the perspectives of class and racial rebellion, genre, and Stickin' it to the Man.Â Subgenres covered include Blaxploitation horror films, kung-fu movies, westerns, and parodies.
During the early years of the motion picture industry, black performers were often depicted as shuckinâ and jivinâ caricatures. Specifically, black males were portrayed as toms, coons and bucks, while the mammy and tragic mulatto archetypes circumscribed black femininity. This misrepresentation began to change in the 1950s and 1960s when performers such as Dorothy Dandridge and Sidney Poitier were cast in more positive roles. These performers paved the way for the black exploitation or blaxploitation movement, which began in 1970 and flourished until 1975. The movement is characterized by films that feature a black hero or heroine, black supporting characters, a predominately black urban setting, a display of black sexuality, excessive violence, and a contemporary rhythm and blues soundtrack. Blaxploitation films were made across varying genres, but the questionable elements of some of the pictures caused them to be referred to as "blaxploitation" films with little or no regard given to their generic categorization. This book examines how Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970), Blacula (1972), The Mack (1973), and Cleopatra Jones (1973) can be classified within the detective, horror, gangster, and cop action genres, respectively, and illustrates the manner in which the inclusion of "blackness" represents a significant revision to the aforementioned genres.
Beyond Blaxploitation, the first book-length anthology of scholarly work on blaxploitation film, sustains the momentum that blaxploitation scholarship has recently gained, giving the films an even more prominent place in cinema history. This volume is made up of eleven essays employing historical and theoretical methodologies in the examination of spectatorship, marketing, melodrama, the transition of novel to screenplay, and racial politics and identity, among other significant topics. The book fills a substantial gap that exists in the black cinematic narrative and, more broadly, in film history.
Beyond Blaxploitation is divided into three sections that feature original essays on a variety of canonical blaxploitation films and others that either influenced the movement or in some form represent a significant extension of it. The first section titled, "From Pioneer to Precursor to Blaxploitation," centers on three films-Cotton Comes to Harlem, Watermelon Man, and Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song-that ignited the African American film cycle. The second section, "The Canon and the Not so Canon," is dedicated to forging alternative considerations of some of the most highly regarded blaxploitation films, while also bringing attention to lesser-known films in the movement. The final section, "Was, Is, or Isn't Blaxploitation," includes four essays that offer significant insights on films that are generally associated with blaxploitation but contest traditional definitions of the movement. Moreover, this section features chapters that address industrial factors that led to the creation of blaxploitation cinema and highlight the limitations of the term itself.
Beyond Blaxploitation is a much-needed pedagogical tool, informing film scholars, critics, and fans alike, about blaxploitation's richness and complexity.
Soulemite's Big Black Book of Blaxploitation Films, is the ONLY reference you will ever need for blaxploitation / exploitation films. Blaxploitation is an ethnic subgenre of the exploitation film. It emerged in the United States in the early 1970s. Blaxploitation films were originally made specifically for an urban black audience, but the genre's audience appeal soon broadened across racial and ethnic lines. This edition contains plot summaries, influence of the films, cast members, and tons of information on over 135+ blaxploitation films.
With the Civil Rights movement of the sixties fresh in their perspective, movie producers of the early 1970s began to make films aimed toward the underserved African American audience. Over the next five years or so, a number of cheaply made, so-called blaxploitation movies featured African American actresses in roles which broke traditional molds. Typically long on flash and violence but lacking in character depth and development, this genre nonetheless did a great deal toward redefining the perception of African American actresses, breaking traditional African American female stereotypes and laying the groundwork for later feminine action heroines. This critical study examines the ways in which the blaxploitation heroines of the early 1970s reshaped the presentation of African American actresses on screen and, to a certain degree, the perception of African American females in general. It discusses the social, political and cultural context in which blaxploitation films emerged. The work focuses on four African American actressesâPam Grier, Tamara Dobson, Teresa Graves and Jeanne Belleâproviding critical and audience response to their films as well as insight into the perspectives of the actresses themselves. The eventual demise of the blaxploitation genre due to formulaic plots and lack of character development is also discussed. Finally, the work addresses the mainstreaming of the action heroine in general and a recent resurgence of interest in black action movies. Relevant film stills and a selected filmography including cast list and plot synopsis are also included.
The sixties were a tremendously important time of transition for both civil rights activism and the U.S. film industry. Soul Searching examines a subject that, despite its significance to African American film history, has gone largely unexplored until now. By revisiting films produced between the march on Washington in 1963 and the dawn of the âblaxploitationâ movie cycle in 1970, Christopher Sieving reveals how race relations influenced black-themed cinema before it was recognized as commercially viable by the major studios. The films that are central to this bookâGone Are the Days (1963), The Cool World (1964), The Confessions of Nat Turner (never produced), Uptight (1968), and The Landlord (1970)âare all ripe for reevaluation and newfound appreciation. Soul Searching is essential reading for anyone interested in the politics and cultural movements of the 1960s, cinematic trends like blaxploitation and the American âindie filmâ explosion, or black experience and its many facets.
Dazzling, highly stylised, excessively violent and brimming with sex, blaxploitation films enjoyed a brief but memorable moment in motion picture history. Never before, and never since, have so many African-American performers been featured in films, not in bit parts, but in name-above-the title starring roles. Here's a new and appreciative look back at a distinctly American motion picture phenomenon, the first truly comprehensive examination of the genre, its films, its trends and its far-reaching impact, covering more than 240 Blaxploitation films in detail. This is the primary reference book on the genre, covering not just the films' heyday (1971-1976) but the entire decade (1970-1980). Includes: film posters and ads
In the early 1970s, a new breed of film emerged that would completely change the way black people were presented in movies. With their afros picked to spherical perfection and their guns blazing, big bad soul brothers and super sexy sisters lit up movie theaters across the country. Never before had black men and women appeared on screen in quite this way. In time, these films would be called "blaxploitation." And while it has long been debated exactly which film launched the blaxploitation era, the financial success of Melvin Van Peebles's Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song and Gordon Parks's Shaft helped open the flood gates for the more than 200 films that are now considered blaxploitation.
Reflections on Blaxploitation: Actors and Directors Speak is a collection of interviews with many of the men and women who defined the genre. In candid conversations, some of the most important figures of the era describe what it was like to work on these films and what impact they had on American culture. Among those interviewed are such icons as Jim Brown (Slaughter), Antonio Fargas (Foxy Brown), Gloria Hendry (Hell Up in Harlem), Jim Kelly (Black Belt Jones), Ron O'Neal (Superfly), William Marshall (Blacula), and Fred Williamson (Hammer). Also featured here are some of the most influential names behind the scenes, including Larry Cohen (Black Caesar), Oscar Williams (Five on the Black Hand Side), and Melvin Van Peebles. This volume also includes a filmography of every known (or rumored) blaxploitation film, including their availability on VHS and DVD.
From the moment motion pictures were invented, fearless entrepreneurs, poverty row profiteers and money-grabbing grifters gave cinemagoers what they truly cravedâ¦. the sex, horror and cheap thrills that were too hot for Hollywood to handle. And so the exploitation industry was born. Nothing was taboo and selling sin, shock and sensation became an art form.
Soon, what were once the dirty little secrets of the film world became the most sought-after must-sees in every grindhouse and drive-in, as an ever-growing legion of fans travelled miles to witness the most unbelievable sights ever put on celluloid.
From MANIAC to ANATOMY OF A PSYCHO, DERANGED to ZOMBIE, I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE to THE SEXUALIST, THE JESUS TRIP to NAKED FIST and ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS to AFRICA EROTICA â just 10 of the 200 hand-picked outrages covered in this comprehensive and representative history â critically acclaimed film critic, author and broadcaster Alan Jones takes you on a startling tour through the astounding exploitation movie extremes of its 1935 to 1985 Golden Era.
Enter, if you dare, into the sordid, sleazy underworld of Z-studio slime and punishment, where orgies of the dead, cesspools of vice and shameless desires featured tantalizing titles, lurid artwork, daring advertising campaigns and overblown hype.
Exploitation movies have never gone away. Inside youâll discover the unbelievable reasons why.
Jack Hill stands as one of the great B-movie directors and influenced an aspiring filmmaker named Quentin Tarantino. The director who gave the world Coffy, Foxy Brown, Spider Baby, Switchblade Sisters and other exploitation classics broke gender and racial barriers in his low-budget work. He launched the careers of Pam Grier, Ellen Burstyn and Sid Haig and worked with Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney in the twilight of their careers. This filmography covers all of Jack Hill's works. Each entry offers alternate titles, cast, credits, a plot summary, extensive critical information, quotes, and an interview with Jack Hill about that particular film.