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A seminal work of African American cinema which flirts with the conventions of blaxploitation and 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. The 1973 film was honored as one of the ten best American films of its decade by the Cannes Film Festival but was barely distributed to American audiences. Commissioned at a time when ‘blaxploitation' movies like Shaft played as blockbusters in African American neighborhoods, it was suppressed in the U.S. because it didn't turn out to be the Hollywood genre film the producers intended, so Ganja & Hess was withdrawn when Gunn went beyond the vampire genre and turned in an original product.
The original cut was donated to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) whose restoration work and screenings helped build the film's reputation as a neglected classic of independent African American cinema. The restored version later received a superior DVD and Blu Ray release through Kino Lorber and in 2014 the film was remade by Spike Lee as Da Sweet Blood of Jesus.
Even more haunting than the film is its music! Composed by Sam Waymon (brother of Nina Simone), he created an innovative, ahead-of-its-time mixture of soul, tribal chants, gospel and trippy, dissonant experimental cues that make for one of the strangest scores for a vampire film. Now, for the first time on vinyl (or on any format) Strange Disc proudly presents a deluxe colored vinyl edition (with insert containing exclusive liner notes and rare photographic materials) curated and supervised by the composer himself.