Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 21: Ganja & Hess

The only thing I new about Ganja & Hess going into it is that it was the only other movie Night of the Living Dead star Duane Jones had a lead role in, and that it was also known as Double Possession, because the above ad for it is in The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film

But what really blew my mind was finding out Spike Lee remade the film as Da Sweet Blood of Jesus just five years ago, and I had NEVER HEARD of that movie! How is it possible Spike Lee made a Kickstarter-funded remake of a low-budget art house/black exploitation/vampire movie, and I had never, ever heard about it?

Well, I ended up watching both, and I think it's a worthy double feature. Ganja & Hess is very low budget, and very arty, and at times, it's kind of hard to completely follow what's going on. Spike Lee's version has some almost shot-by-shot replications, and uses much of the original dialogue (Bill Gunn, writer and director of Ganja & Hess, even gets a co-writing credit), but it's much more straight forward in its storytelling. In some ways. Lee's version is an improvement. But there are some moments in Ganja & Hess that are just so original and odd (I'm thinking of a moment in a tree), that the original version just can't be beat.

Ganja & Hess is currently streaming on the Criterion Channel. Da Sweet Blood of Jesus is available on Amazon Prime.

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