Flirting with the conventions of blaxploitation and the horror cinema, Bill Gunn’s revolutionary independent film GANJA & HESS is a highly stylized and utterly original treatise on sex, religion, and African American identity. Duane Jones (NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD) stars as anthropologist Hess Green, who is stabbed with an ancient ceremonial dagger by his unstable assistant (director Bill 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) 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.
Later recut and released in an inferior version, this edition represents the original release, restored by the Museum of Modern Art with support from The Film Foundation, and mastered in HD from a 35mm negative. (Synopsis from Kino Lorber)
“One of the most literate, allegorical, and evasive of all horror films.” —David Walker and Tim Lucas, Video Watchdog
“An underground classic... The most complicated, intriguing, subtle, sophisticated, and passionate Black film of the ‘70s.” —James Monaco, American Film Now
“The phantasmagoric outpouring of a singular artist whose voice cannot be easily categorized…. GANJA & HESS continues to haunt with its jarring imagery and aural schisms, it also inspires with its dissenting strain of individualism and self-actualization, captured in a remarkable piece of filmmaking.” —Brian Eggert, Deep Focus Review