The more I think about it, the more that Variety article on blaxploitation films infuriates me. I’ve always defined blaxploitation two ways. First, is as an era. Blaxploitation lasted from 1970 to 1979, and if you wanted to get a bit liberal with the timeline, you could start as early as 1968 (to include movies like THE SPLIT and UPTIGHT), and go as late as 1988 (to include films like ACTION JACKSON and THE LAST DRAGON). But as far as I’m concerned, everything after 1979 is something else – we can call it neo-blaxploitation, or whatever we want, but it falls outside the era. The second definition of blaxploitation is as a genre/movement. Within the context of a genre, it is primarily action films, but that fails to include comedy, horror, drama, or documentary, which means defining blaxploitation as a genre is a bit inaccurate. This is why I talk about blaxploitation as an era and a movement more than a genre. COOLEY HIGH or SOUNDER don’t fall into the genre of blaxploitation, but they are part of the larger movement. This movement is defined by films that were primarily made for and marketed to a predominantly black audience. If you go by the definition of era and movement/genre, there were over 200 blaxploitation movies made in the 1970s. And yet that list of 12 on Variety only included two. With that in mind, I’ve created a second list…12 Blaxploitation Movies That Are Terrible, But Actually Are Blaxploitation.
TOM (a.k.a. N***ER LOVER, a.k.a. THE BAD BUNCH) – there is nothing good about this movie (except maybe the theme song, which is great…in a terrible way).
THE $6000 NIGGER (a.k.a. SUPER SOUL BROTHER) – yes, this is a real movie — Wildman Steve was a popular comedian (at least on the chitlin’ circuit). Yes, this is truly awful. Honestly, I believe this movie was funded with money laundered from drug dealing.
SPEEDING UP TIME – the title is a trick…this movie is so bad and so boring that it actually slows down time.
THE BLACK GESTAPO – okay, I actually like this movie, but it is bad. And offensive. And bad. But I still like it.
BAD, BLACK, & BEAUTIFUL – for years, there was no information online about this movie…which was a good thing. If ever a movie deserved to be lost, this is it.
THE GUY FROM HARLEM – all the production value of a 1970s porn, only without the sex.
VELVET SMOOTH – from the director of FORCE FOUR (another terrible blaxploitation movie) comes an even worse blaxploition movie.
MEAN MOTHER – this actually is an older Italian movie that was re-edited with new footage added so it could be sold as a blaxploitation. It’s almost worth watching just to see how bad it is. “Almost” is the operative word.
DEATH JOURNEY – Fred Williamson was the King of Blaxploitation. He also made some truly terrible movies, and this is just one of them. Seriously, any film he directed could be on this list.
BLACKENSTEIN – I know, it’s on the other list I created…but it is so bad that it has to be on this list.
BLACK LOLITA – if I told you there was a blaxploitation soft-core porn movie that was also in 3-D you might want to see it. Well, there is, and you don’t. Not even out of curiosity. Trust me.
BLACK HOOKER – Somewhere, beyond the realm of so-bad-it-is-good film, where movies are just so bad they are bad, and your eyeballs want to bleed from having seen this nonsense, you will find this movie, playing in constant rotation.