"One of the most literate, allegorical, and evasive of all horror films."
-- David Walker and Tim Lucas, Video Watchdog
New York, NY- April 16, 2012 - Kino Classics is proud to announce the Blu-ray and DVD release of Bill Gunn's rarely-screened feature Ganja & Hess, a 1973 erotic thriller that revolutionized the vampire film and has become recognized as a cornerstone of the African American cinema.
For years circulated in a bastardized version created without Gunn's involvement, this Kino Classics edition presents the original director's cut, mastered in HD from a 35mm negative restored by the Museum of Modern Art, with support from The Film Foundation. Kino Classics is releasing Ganja & Hess (1973) on May 8, 2012, with a SRP of $29.95 (on Blu-ray) and $24.95 (on DVD).
In one of his few screen appearances, reclusive actor Duane Jones (Night of the Living Dead) stars as anthropologist Hess Green, who is stabbed with an ancient ceremonial dagger by his unstable assistant (Gunn), endowing him with the blessing of immortality, and the curse of an unquenchable thirst for blood. When the assistant's beautiful and outspoken wife Ganja (Marlene Clark in an unforgettable performance) comes searching for her vanished husband, she and Hess form an unexpected partnership. Together, they explore just how much power there is in the blood.
In is landmark book American Film Now, James Monaco called Ganja & Hess, "An underground classic...the most complicated, intriguing, subtle, sophisticated, and passionate Black film of the Seventies."
Almost forty years after its original release, Ganja & Hess remains an utterly unique viewing experience -- blending an experimental audiovisual style with elements of the 1970s blaxploitation film.
An award-winning screenwriter, playwright, and actor, Gunn's voice as a director is defiant, lyrical, insightful and one-of-a-kind, making it all the more tragic that he died in 1989, of encephalitis, at age 54. In a 2010 article in Filmmaker Magazine, Brandon Harris praised Gunn as, "a man who came before his time...a man with a vision we were never quite ready for, black or white, studios or independents, 1970 or 2010."
Ganja & Hess (Video Review)
* Mastered in HD from the new restoration 35mm negative.
* "The Blood of the Thing" (25 Min.) an interview-based documentary produced for the 1998 DVD release.
* Audio commentary by producer Chiz Schultz, actress Marlene Clark, cinematographer James Hinton, and composer Sam Waymon.
* Original screenplay by Bill Gunn
* Essay on the making of the film (and subsequent recutting) by David
Walker and Tim Lucas (ROM access only).
* Photo gallery
Ganja & Hess (1973)
U.S. 1973 Color 113 Min. 1.66:1 2.0 Mono
Released by Kelly-Jordon Enterprises
Written and directed by Bill Gunn / Produced by Chiz Schultz
Photographed by James F. Hinton / Music by Sam Waymon
With Duane Jones, Marlene Clark, Bill Gunn, Sam Waymon, Leonard Jackson, Mabel King
Restored by the Museum of Modern Art and The Film Foundation
Produced for video by Bret Wood
Special features produced by David Kalat
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News Editor April 26, 2012, 7:01 am