Blacula is Dracula's Soul Brother
May 24, 2008 6:22 PM   Subscribe

Shaft was so cool that he had his own theme song. Shaft walked across the street whenever he wanted to. Shaft was a complicated man. But not all Blaxploitation heros were Private Dicks. They could be a Pimp, a Power-Hungry Criminal, a Coke Dealer, or a Male Prostitute. One was a Former Green Beret, one was a Bounty Hunter, and one was a Prize Fighter. Some were Foxy Ladies, such as Vigilante Nurses, US Special Agents, or Escaped Convicts. They might even be a Karate Master or a Vampire.

The stars of the Blaxploitation era, among them Richard Rountree, Fred Williamson, Pam Grier, Jim Kelly, William Marshall, Tamara Dobson, Rudy Ray Moore, Jim Brown, and Ron O'Neal, were some of the first legitimate black film stars. They came after the first major black film actor, Sidney Poitier, and before later stars like Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy. When the era ended in the mid 1970s, so did most of their careers. Although many stayed in show business as actors, none found many significant starring roles in later films.

One of the most distinctive characteristics of the genre is the music. Other than Isaac Haye's theme to Shaft, Curtis Mayfield's Superfly soundtrack is probably the most famous. Other major artists such as James Brown and Marvin Gaye wrote soundtracks too. In fact, nearly every Blaxploitation film had a decent soundtrack.

The Blaxploitation genre itself lasted only a few years. Since then, there have been many parodies, in the form of brutal satire, nostalgic throwbacks, modern genre spoofs, or random pop-culture references. Quentin Taratino is probably the most vocal advocate of Blaxsploitation films, going as far as to cast Pam Grier as the lead in Jackie Brown. John Singleton also directed a "remake" of Shaft starring Samuel L. Jackson, but his version managed to drain all of the charm and groove out of the original. Although some recognize the political statements that the films made, and the subtle impact that they made to today's culture, as a whole the Blaxploitation films continue to get no respect.
posted by burnmp3s (23 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
Shut yo mouth!
posted by cog_nate at 6:27 PM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

posted by cog_nate at 6:28 PM on May 24, 2008

Wait. Blacula is real?

The spherical hair is so wrong and yet so, so right.
posted by DU at 6:49 PM on May 24, 2008

I'm just talkin' about Shaft!
posted by milestogo at 6:57 PM on May 24, 2008

If Shaft were a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he were a woman, he would not be in this position.
He happens to be very lucky to be who he is.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:16 PM on May 24, 2008 [2 favorites]

Then we can dig it!
posted by Alterscape at 7:36 PM on May 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

They can also be hairdressers (possibly NSFW)
posted by Bookhouse at 7:47 PM on May 24, 2008 [2 favorites]

They bled yo' momma, they bled yo' poppa...

..but they ain't gon' bleed me!
posted by Venadium at 7:53 PM on May 24, 2008

weapons-grade pandemonium I'm gonna steal that rimshot link for later.
posted by nola at 7:55 PM on May 24, 2008

I only regret that this thread is too awesome to be closed... because it deprives someone the chance to reply,

"Close it YOURSELF, Shitty!"
posted by evilcolonel at 9:12 PM on May 24, 2008

Dolemite rules.
posted by Jikido at 10:12 PM on May 24, 2008

There was this amazing zine called BadAzzMoFo about 10 years ago which was mostly about blaxploitation flicks. I googled the title as I read this (motherfucking awesome) post, and apparently it's a blog now.
posted by the_bone at 11:15 PM on May 24, 2008

Wow, cool post.
I've been doing a little
blaxploitation research of my own lately and am really curious about these two films:
Darktown Strutters

Black Gestapo
The Black Gestapo movie poster is not subtle.
posted by PHINC at 11:51 PM on May 24, 2008

The is one black, bad ass post.

Where you been Shaft?

"gettin' laid."
posted by GuyZero at 11:53 PM on May 24, 2008

Blaxploiters are targeting the young:
Black Kid's Computer Desk.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:20 AM on May 25, 2008

The soundtrack that Charles Earland did for Dynamite Brothers is really great.
posted by box at 9:24 AM on May 25, 2008

I don't know whether to be impressed or kinda-scared that you were able to find this many great links about fucking Blacula (and related topics).

I'll go with a little bit of both.
posted by sparkletone at 10:34 AM on May 25, 2008

one of my all-time favorites, The Spook Who Sat by the Door.
posted by anansi at 10:38 AM on May 25, 2008

So maybe I missed the link but I didn't see I'm Gonna Get You Sucka, the funniest send-up of the genre ever made. The first movie directed by Keenan Wayans, the first appearance of Chris Rock, and heroes Jack Spade, Hammer, Slammer (can't find a YT of Slammer coming through the window), and Kung Fu Joe. Theme song by Curtis Mayfield and Fishbone.
posted by CCBC at 3:04 PM on May 25, 2008

Now harmless cartoon fodder
posted by IndigoJones at 4:15 PM on May 25, 2008

By coincidence I watched Coffy last night... Pam Grier is absolutely stunning in it.
"So, you wanna play with knives, huh? Well you picked the wrong player!"

Oh and does this count? Probably not...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:38 AM on May 26, 2008

Man, I missed this earlier. Thanks for putting it together, you born-insecure, rat-soup eating motherfucker (no, not you, I just love that line).

Plus, some special love to Antonio Fargas needs to be shown, if it hasn't already.
posted by sleepy pete at 11:10 AM on May 26, 2008

How about Space Is The Place...?
posted by zoinks at 4:34 PM on May 26, 2008

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