Tuesday, August 30, 2011
THE BLACK GESTAPO
When I first heard about this movie only two words came to mind: HOLY and SHIT. Balxploitation is already a mixed bag of themes but this one somehow managed to completely take the cake without leaving a single crumb behind. While this is not the most epic box art for this release (The Unicorn Video edition (I think that's it?) has the full original poster art on it) you have to admit its pretty damn noticeable. Plus, I only paid like two dollars for it- and got way more than my money's worth in sheer unbridled entertainment. Whoever put the 99 cent rental sticker right in the middle of the box art is a total schmuck. Way to spoil the greatness you turd...
View the trailer NOW:
I mean seriously, YES! Can you really argue with a trailer like that? If your answer is no then go jump into your hotrod and hit the road. Plot synopsis time, you jive mutha: Watts is being run down hard by Mafia bosses and the pressure is too much for the citizens to bare on their own. A grant of money from white run organizations comes to the ghetto to form a force to help stop the problem, but manages to fall completely on its face due to lack of training and a decidedly non agressive stance. Malcontent about the severe injuries and a rape that occurs because of the groups inaction, the second in command of the group demands to form an agressive defense splinter group to counter. Little does anyone realize but once they succeed in erasing the mob threat that they become something worse than any mobster- they become The Black Gestapo...
Most Blaxploitation is pretty dull. Sure this has some flat acting and a rather pedestrian plot but I find the premise behind it all quite interesting actually. The Black Gestapo wind up using their power to run the very rackets they were supposed to destroy. They act for profit and gain as opportunists rather than the militant defense force they initially promised to be, leaving using their own violence against them as a last resort. Its actually a really strange reimagining of George Orwell's novel Animal Farm if you boil it down a bit.I do have to admit that this is all pretty much cookie cutter action fare and there really is no way this film can rise above its frankly absurd plot elements, but seeing a bunch of dudes in black fatigues giving the Black Power salute while we hear samples of WW2 era German crowds shouting "zeig heil!" over the top of it does have a peculiar appeal to anyone looking for something out of the ordinary. While I cannot find a clip of it, the opening credits is nuts too, with images of goose stepping German soldiers and a snippet of film of uncle Adolf that goes from black and white to negative to make him appear black before the movie title hits the screen shortly afterward, WOW! The closest thing I could find was this still image:
Other film highlights (beyond the those already mentioned) also include:
- A pretty awesome castration sequence
-Nazisloitation sleaze queen Uschi Digard as General Kojah's girlfriend
Apparently this film was released at some point under the title "Ghetto Warriors". I have to be honest with you, I like "The Black Gestapo" way better. This film is also unique for that fact that despite being a relatively small film it actually had a proper soundtrack release. This is pretty rare amongst Blaxploitation films as usually only bigger budget stuff from major studios (like the big time cash in of the Shaft series) got them, or if you were lucky enough to have a known artist do the score (Like Curtis Mayfield's amazing score for Superfly). An original lp for The Black Gestapo ost is really insanely rare, but some nice dudes a while back reissued it with a free full size movie poster so if you see it don't hesitate (like I did, much to my chagrin)!
The score for this is awesome, check out the theme song:
There are quite a few different releases of this over the years on both vhs and dvd. The dvd editions are sometimes a double bill with a really awesome movie titiled "The Black Six" which has the distinction of being one of the very first all African American biker gang movies (check it out! I'll review it eventually!), and sometimes appears in box sets of Blaxploitation flicks you find for cheap on the value racks now and again. This movie has all the exploitation cinema prerequisites- action, an improbable plot developed with little cinematic knowledge, frontal nudity, hip dialogue, etcetera. Definitely a bizarre gem of a film if there ever was one. I recommend you pick it up!