"Blaxploitation" Films & Soundtracks
Blaxploitation is a term which means 70´s Movies featuring afro-american actors,
and aimed at that market. It is a combination of the words Black and exploitation.
These films often feature a funky musical score, sometimes far superior to the film itself.
Even though the original target audience must have been afro-american movie-goers,
some Blaxploitation films were imported to Finland as well.
"Shaft" and "Let´s Do It again" were shown in theatres back in the day,
There are also Sexploitation films, which exploit the promise of sex in the title and
promotion of the film. I guess thats where the name of the Blaxploitation-genre originates from.
Sometimes the two genres overlap. Then we have exploitation of black sexuality.
Blaxploitation itself has subgenres, there are dramas, horror films, action films, westerns,
X-rated films, comedies etc.
I will write about these films from a white guys point of view.
I will also comment on the music as it is a central part of these films.
Even some otherwise very bad movies often contain a nightclub scene with some amazing
band playing killer soul-funk and mostly these were never released on vinyl.
The incidental background music is often very funky as well.
So the only way to hear some of these obscure, but super funky tracks is to see the films.
I try not to get too deep about the political / racial reasons why these films exist.
Obviously some films are more exploitative than others, made just to rip people off
of their ticket money, while others are more sincere efforts,
and actually carry a message of black empowerment.
These are my personal opinions, and while some of these films are considered classics,
To Me, they are not entertaining or good movies, and I take the liberty of saying so.
They may have cultural and historical significance, but that is not the main subject of this blog text.
The best thing to do is see these films for yourself and form your own opinion.
I merely report what I have seen and heard, to help other movie enthusiasts to find good films
and avoid bad ones. So here we go, in no particular order.
Directed by Gordon Parks Jr.
The son of the director of "Shaft".
Super Funky classic soundtrack by Curtis Mayfield.
Genre-defining movie but...
Personally I did not like it. I find it slow-paced and boring
Dynamite soundtrack by the afro-funk band Osibisa.
The movie left a lot to be desired.
It has its moments but overall not a classic in my book.
Directed by the multi-talented Gordon Parks.
Maybe the most famous Blaxploitation film, but...
actually quite boring.
Super Funky and famous soundtrack by Isaac Hayes.
Super funky soundtrack by Joihnny Pate.
Better than the original, but not exceptionally entertaining.
The soundtrack by Gordon Parks, the director of the film, is amazing. Killer Funk
Can not remember anything of this movie, so it cant be very good.
Super funky soundtrack.
Good movie worth checking out.
Fun "karate" movie. Worth the price of admission for the opening sequence alone.
Not a great movie but a good one. With Jim Kelly Of Bruce Lee fame.
Soundtrack by Dennis Coffey is super funky.
Great Rudy Ray Moore Comedy.
Great funky soundtrack as well.
Dolemite part 2. Super funny movie.
Super funky music as well, Not released on LP as far as I know.
Another killer from Rudy Ray Moore.
This time battling evil PCP dealers in a disco setting.
"The Devil´s son-in-law"
Its OK, but not Rudy Ray Moores Best.
Same goes for the soundtrack.
For Completists only.
A good little thriller about a bunch of kids who witness a murder.
Amazing soundtrack By Barry White in a Dramatic instrumental mode.
Theres some vocal tracks as well. Recommended.
Melvin Van Peebles directs and stars in this what some call the first
"Blaxploitation" movie. Music by Earth, Wind and Fire is
far better than the movie itself. Enjoys cult status among enthusiasts, though.
Sun Ra movie. Absolutely amazing. Super movie.
Rumour has it that the film originally contained X-rated sequences,
removed at the last minute by Sun Ra. Space visuals, cosmic jazz,
social commentary, spiritual wisdom, humour. Recommended.
This is an X-rated Movie from the 70´s.
It features a guy with a extra long tongue, so he can really please the ladies.
It is like a male / black version of "Deep Throat".
He also has a pet frog.
In one scene cocaine is put in a vagina prior to intercourse.
Sick and quite disgusting movie obviously made by junkies.
Great Funky soundtrack Though, I have only seen the re-issue from 1998.
Maybe it was not commercially released originally.
Another Black Porn film.
Soundtrack by the famous session drummer Pretty Purdie is quite funky and soulful.
The going price for the original soundtrack LP is about 2000-3000 dollars.
I was horrified when I saw the movie.
OK, The opening sequence is quite nice with Purdie playing drums and a stripper dancing.
But in essence,
Its extreme low budget crap. In one scene a hot dog is inserted into a womans vagina, while she is being called "bitch". That about sums it up. Get The soundtrack, forget about the movie.
A low-budget masterpiece and a forgotten classic about a black panther caught in a shoot-out
with the pigs. The story unfolds in flashbacks as the brother reminisces how he got in
the situation, all the while battling the 5-0.
Soundtrack LP on Blue Note by Grant Green is essential. Dark and moody funk.
Not a good movie.
Soundtrack By Gene Page is absolutely amazing.
The movie is not.
Bad movie. Do not waste your time, even though it has
Pam Grier on it.
Real good movie with a message.
One of a kind. A real gem.
A real weird one. I dont know if these people were completely sober when they made this film.
Very low budget. Has its moments though.
AKA "Soul Vegneance"
Another weird one, this time about a guy with a huge penis.
He uses it to strangle his enemies (white folks).
Low budget, and very strange ( in a bad way) film.
Pam Grier Women In Prison flick.
Very similar to "The Big Bird Cage".
It is a Sexploitation / Blaxploitation film targeted at a male audience.
Nothing to write home about but Pam Grier is always a pleasure to watch.
Maybe the best Pam Grier film.
Gritty and violent. Not for kids.
Roy Ayers soundtrack is a killer.
Pam Grier at her best. Kicking butt, both male and female.
Classic. Willie Hutch handles the soundtrack. Funky.
Pam Grier as a private eye.
Forgettable movie. Soundtrack by Monk Higgins is quite funky though.
Not a good movie.
Soundtrack by Isaac Hayes is Killer though.
I believe I have seen this movie, but I can not remember any of it.
It usually means the movie was not that good.
The Isaac Hayes soundtrack is an absolute classic. Super funky stuff.
This Movie is very good.
The soundtrack is good as well. Recommended.
Pam Grier escapes from a womens prison camp in the jungle.
Low budget and very generic of the genre.
Blaxploitation / sexploitation.
Not very interesting unless you are a Pam Grier completist.
AKA "Abar, the black superman"
This movie is super low budget, idiotic script, amateurish execution.
I wonder why this film was made.
In one scene "Abar" stops graffiti vandals with his psychic super powers
and makes them clean up instead.
A black version of the Excorcist.
Very low budget. Not a good movie.
Actually a decent feel-good comedy.
The soundtrack by Norman Whitfield was a huge hit.
Many Good funky tracks here.
Dont Waste your time.
Some of the worst "Kung-Fu" fights ever in a movie.
The Soundtrack LP by Solomon Burke is excellent.
Many Funky Instrumentals.
The movie itself is hard to come by, and I have to admit I have not seen it.
A comedy about a skinny guy being hypnotized to believe he is the greatest boxer
in the world. Quite Funny.
Excellent soundtrack By Curtis Mayfield and The Staple singers.
A strong black female character kicks butt.
as brainless entertainment Its OK.
Strong, Funky soundtrack by Joe Simon, Millie Jackson and others.
Beautiful Tamara Dobson kicks more butt in part 2, this time in Hong Kong.
Not a masterpiece, but still worth checking out as an introduction to the genre.
According to IMDB this movie was banned in Finland.
Luckily we got a VHS release years later!
The soundtrack was not released at the time but is available on CD.
This film is about a medical experiment where they stitch a black guys head
onto a white guys body, so he has 2 heads.
I havent been able to see it (only the trailer).
The soundtrack album has good funky tracks, but it seems to be at least partially a compilation,
not an original score, since it has tracks from the Bongo Rock LP by The Incredible Bongo Band.
Still worth purchasing as it is not very expensive. The movie itself is quite hard to find.
AKA "Ghetto Warriors"
This is a B- movie that has to be seen to be believed.
A bunch of Black Militants take it a notch too far and form a Nazi-style black army.
This is a genre-defining film. It is not artistic in any way or very high in production values, but it
shocks and surprises you for sure. Worth checking out.
It even features (white) Voluptous vixen Uschi Digart of Russ Meyer-films fame.
Good, if somewhat downbeat movie about a boxer whose family gets killed
in the beginning of the film. He then goes on to become a fighter in illegal boxing,
while hunting for the bad guys. Quite Nasty and violent film.
Great soundtrack LP by Paul Humphrey and others.
Boring Blaxploitation from major studio.
I can not remember anything of it.
It probably had a chase scene and lot of fist fights.
The title says it all. A rip-off.
Dont waste your time on this.
James Brown was asked to do the soundtrack, he was going to give them some old recordings,
but his arranger at the time Fred Wesley insisted on writing some original music for the movie.
The soundtrack thus became a stone cold funk classic.
A mediocore film at best.
The soundtrack LP by Jerry Butler is a Classic. Funky and soulful.
Evil White supremacists plan to poison the water supply with a chemical
lethal to black people only. A trio of bad-ass black guys goes on to stop them by any means necessary.
Sounds great on paper, but Superfly director Gordon Parks Jr. manages somehow to make it a boring and cliched movie.
The soundtrack LP by the Impressions is great, more soul than funk but still great
Animator Ralph Bakshi of Fritz the Cat and Wizards-fame made this cartoon-movie.
about life in the ghetto. Worth checking out if you can find it.
Featuring the voice of Barry White.
A good movie. Well Worth seeing.
Amazing Soundtrack LP by James Brown.
Have not seen the movie. (at least I cant remember it!)
Soundtrack by Edwin Starr is pretty Alright, not 10/10 but still funky.
This is a very good movie. See it.
The Soundtrack By Willie Hutch is very good as well.Soulful and melancholic.
There is another soundtrack LP from 1983 with totally different music.
This soundtrack is more uptempo and funky.
The 1983 reissue of the movie contained this alternate score added by the distributors.
This score was composed by Alan Silvestri.
A significant film about the first afro-american CIA agent, who
is actually a militant Black Panther under cover.
Music produced by Herbie Hancock.
A Black motorcycle gang takes revenge on a white
gang. Worth seeing.
AKA "Pop Goes The Weasel"
Not a very good film.
See it at your own risk.
I had high exceptations, as the soundtrack by Marvin Gaye is an all-time classic.
The film was not very good and I found it cliched and boring.
Voodoo, Zombies, Mobsters and a sexy leading lady with a huge afro.
Sound great on paper, doesnt it!
Major Studio Blaxploitation film about 2 black cops.
Not a good movie, the soundtrack by Galt Mc Dermot is only slightly better.
United Artists seem to have spent more money on the poster (really nice) than the movie.
A made for TV movie about a black female cop.
Spawned a short lived TV-series.
Not a great movie, quite forgettable.
AKA "Get Down And Boogie"
A real strange Movie. The plot was hard to follow, and my overall impression was
not a good one. You might want to give it a try if you are into super obscure movies.
"Super sisters on cycles - better move your butt when these ladies strut!"
Directed by Larry Cohen.
A rough and tough movie about a black guy who does a home invasion on a rich white couples home.
I liked the movie. It is very different from any other movie I have ever seen.
This movie is all right. Nothing wrong with it.
Soundtrack LP by War is funky and worth getting.
Another Pam Grier vehicle. Unfortunately not a memorable one. It is truly a shame that she ended up in a bunch of crappy B-movies because she really has super star potential as an actress. Coffy and Foxy Brown are like the only good films she did. (I did not like her comeback film Jackie Brown by Quentin Tarantino, even though she still looks great in it at 47 years old)
AKA "Ebony, Ivory and Jade"
Three karate chicks kick ass. One blonde, one brunette, one Black.
Good mindless B-movie entertainment with the beautiful Gloria Hendry.
Another wasted opportunity for Pam Grier.
She is seriously the only memorable thing about this very mediocore film.
Of course if you think fistfights and such are super cool entertainment then go ahead and have a blast.
A late entry in the Blaxploitation genre, most people probably dont even consider it Blaxploitation.
This comedy is real great and worth a watch.
Soundtrack is nice as well with Lee Scratch Perry and others.
A white american couple crash lands in Jamaica.
They are rescued by a bush-doctor who teaches the to smoke weed and survive in the jungle.
Good movie and a good soundtrack.
Jimmy Cliff movie about Jamaican rudeboys.
First feature film produced in Jamaica.
Not a great movie but worth seeing anyway,
Classic soundtrack LP as well.
I found this VHS for 1 dollar at a Salvation Army Thrift Store in New York.
I did not know about this movie before.
Directed by Charlie Ahearn of "Wild Style" - fame.
Its a Extremely low budget Karate flick taking place in the ghetto.
So, that was it, a ride thru Blaxploitation classics, a few more obscure items and a bunch of
Films from the outer fringes of the genre.
I know I have seen more, but some I have forgotten even the names of.
I know I have not seen them all, so Looking forward to finding new gems.
Keep your eyes (and your mind) open. You never know what you might find!
Maybe next I will watch