Bad Movies Beware!
Let me start with this: There is a LOT to say about this movie.
Don’t worry, I won’t drag it out. However, this won’t be a normal review.
If I’m to speak about the crime that was committed with this movie, I’ll need to get going right away.
Dr. Hess Green is doctor of anthropology who goes on a trip to Myrthia for research. While there, he’s stabbed three times with an old ceremonial dagger. Afterwards, he develops an addiction to drinking blood. Also, he can’t die or be killed.
Thing is, we don’t find this out right off the bat. In fact, it’s almost ten minutes into the movie before we get this information. Plus, it’s not given in the dialogue, but in a written narrative that just pops up in the middle of the action. But then, later on in the film, he says that it was George Meda, his assistant, that turned him.
He has George Meda over at his lush mansion for a weekend of aristocratic living. During Meda’s stay, they discuss the trip to Myrthia and the practice of consuming blood during rituals.
The first night there, Meda gets drunk and tries to commit suicide. Hess finds him in a tree, the two have an exchange, and Hess takes Meda back into the house. Meda grabs the dagger and stabs Hess, then shoots himself. Hess finds Meda’s body and drinks the blood.
There are a few more incidents, but what stands out in the narrative is Hess’s refusal to kill for blood. This is funny because he kills the s**t out of a few people to get their blood, so I wonder if this is part of the hack job done on this film.
Don’t worry, there’s more on that.
About halfway through the movie, Hess gets a phone call from Ganja Meda, George’s wife. She tells him that she’s coming over to wait on her husband to return, and is a no-nonsense person with zero tolerance for bulls**t.
Hess and Ganja meet, and they hook up that very night. As their relationship develops both emotionally and sexually, Hess begins to talk about marriage to Ganja. Ganja eventually discovers Meda’s body in the cellar, confronts Hess, and marries him anyway. Hess decides that he wants Ganja to live forever like him, and he murders her with the dagger. When she returns, he teaches her how to hunt for blood.
Hess begins to see that his way of life is murderous, and researches on how to destroy the both of them. He attends a local church and finds out that the cross causes him pain. He goes home, repents, and stands in front of the cross until he dies.
Credits. Yes, that quick.
But there’s a reason.
VERDICT: This should be a felony.
It’s rare that I find a crappy movie to stick up for, and this one came completely by accident. While I was watching Blood Couple, I kept getting lost on the character names because the voice audio lousy unless the characters are almost shouting at each other. I hit the internet to look at the cast list, and Blood Couple yielded NOTHING on IMDB.
Something else came up, though: Ganja and Hess.
Okay, let’s start with this: What is Blacksploitation? Blacksploitation is a genre, most notable in film, that exploits the interests and culture of black urban audiences. Most people think of Foxy Brown or Shaft. In this case, the aim was supposed to be Blackula.
Bill Gunn was commissioned to write and make a film that was, essentially, another Blackula. Bill Gunn took the concept to a whole new level, and shot the film Ganja and Hess. In his film, Hess Green is stabbed three times with a dagger by a tribe in Myrthia, and becomes a vampire. So the essential story stays intact, but that’s about it.
Bill Gunn, who also played Meda in the film, wrote and directed a visual nightmare that is as unforgiving as it is artful. It’s literally like watching someone’s drug-induced waking terror. I was even able to find a paper written on Ganja and Hess that studies deep into the insane amount of symbolism this art film as.
So, naturally, it tanked in theaters. BAD.
Art House films typically don’t do so well in the theaters. It’s why they’re usually released straight to video, and only released on select screens if they do have any kind of theatrical release at all. Rob Zombies House of 1000 Corpses only made about $12 million in Box Office Revenue, if that tells you anything.
So Kelly and Jordan, the producers on Ganja and Hess, decided to take matters into their own hands. What do they do? They take this strong, highly expressionistic, highly symbolic film and do the MOTHER of all hack jobs on it. Scenes are changed, sequence of events is changed, dialogue is dubbed over or downright eliminated, and even the storyline is altered. The result is a watered-down joke of a film that can’t even make up its own mind as to what’s going on at any given point.
The sound is trashed, the dialogue so subdued that the lines are often lost in the sea of “old film hiss” and lousy club music. The acting from some of the characters is out of place and just plain bad, which could also be a byproduct of the dub-over done by the two criminals who took their scissors to this movie. Throw in the plotline that does literal loops around itself at different points in the film and contradicts itself in almost every scene, and you have the uproarious s**t show that is Blood Couple.
Since Blood Couple is the film I watched, it’s the film that gets the rating. And I have no problem giving it the full 6 Piles of S**t. It fails on every level to convey a coherent story on a subject, and should’ve just been left as it was.