HomeMovies Ganja & Hess: The Complete Edition

Ganja & Hess: The Complete Edition

Bill Gunn  Actor Candece Tarpley  Actor Duane Jones  Actor Marlene Clark  Actor Sam Waymon  Actor Enrico Fales  Actor Tara Fields  Actor


MPAA Rating: R
Contains:Violence,Nudity,Adult Situations,Not For Children,Sexual Situations,Drug Content

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Ganja & Hess: The Complete Edition

UPC: 014381351125

Studio: Image Entertainment

MPAA Rating: R   Contains:[Violence, Nudity, Adult Situations, Not For Children, Sexual Situations, Drug Content]

Summary: A scientist stricken with an insatiable hunger for blood dominates this strikingly atmospheric drama. Dr. Hess Green (Duane Jones), a wealthy and respected African-American anthropologist, is assigned a new assistant, an intelligent but unstable man named George Meda (Bill Gunn). One drunken night, George stabs Hess with a dagger from the ancient African tribe of Myrthia and then kills himself. The Myrthians were cursed with a thirst for human blood, and, by the time George's wife, Ganja (Marlene Clark), comes looking for him, Hess has developed a similar addiction to blood. Hess and Ganja fall in love, and they soon marry, but Hess infects his new bride with the Myrthian curse, which gives them eternal life, but at a terrible price. Actor, playwright, and novelist Bill Gunn was hired to write and direct a low-budget black vampire movie, but instead he delivered a thoughtful, impressionistic film that uses addiction to blood as a metaphor for African-American cultural and spiritual identity (and never once uses the word "vampire"). Ganja and Hess proved too deliberately paced and self-consciously surreal for the producers, who chopped it to 83 minutes, removed Sam Waymon's superb musical score, and retitled it Blood Couple. This mangled version was for many years the only one available, and it appeared under six different titles on home video before Bill Gunn's original version was restored for DVD release in 1998. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Category: Horror

Features: Audio commentry by the filmmakers
Restored footage
Featurette "The Blood of the Thing" on the history of the production
Featurette examining selected sequences in detail
Animated photo gallery
DVD-ROM supplements
Original screenplay by Bill Gunn
Article on the film by Tim Lucas adn David Walker

Ganja & Hess: The Complete Edition

Format: DVD

Release Date: 10/03/2006

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Alternate Wide Screen

Audio: DD1 Dolby Digital Mono

Runtime: 113 Minutes

Sides: 1

Number of Discs: 1

Language(s) English

Region: USA & territories, Canada

Chapters: Disc #1 -- Ganja & Hess: The Complete Edition
1. Introduction [5:19]
2. Opening Titles [2:21]
3. House of Hess [3:36]
4. Sleepless [5:20]
5. Murderer/Victim [2:58]
6. To the Black Male Children [3:35]
7. The Blood of Meda [3:31]
8. Survival [4:18]
9. The End of Dolores Kinkade [7:11]
10. Letting Go [4:07]
11. Ganja [4:41]
12. The Attic [3:49]
13. Impolite Questions [6:40]
14. Grocery Shopping [5:00]
15. Revelations [3:13]
16. A Full Case of Ganja [4:55]
17. Two Weddings and a Funeral [7:58]
18. Having a Guest for Dinner [2:55]
19. The Black Widow [4:56]
20. Undead [3:53]
21. You Got to Learn to Let It Go [10:51]
23. Closing Titles [4:38]

Mark Deming

Ganja and Hess is a film that exists in an odd sort of limbo -- while a handful of fans (among them Spike Lee, James Monaco, and Tim Lucas) consider it a masterpiece, the film has been so inaccessible for so long that plenty of knowledgeable film enthusiasts have never even heard of it, and until recently most interested film buffs were forced to make do with the incoherent short version of the film (variously titled Double Possession, Blood Couple, and Black Vampire, among other things) which was ineptly re-cut to more easily sell the picture as a horror film. But Bill Gunn's original edit of Ganja and Hess (now thankfully available on DVD) not only doesn't play by the rules of a horror film, it eagerly confronts the formal structures of American genre filmmaking in general. Ganja and Hess is a film about addiction, not vampirism; and as Hess Green's dependence on human blood grows, it pulls him toward a heritage and a mindset that he's preferred to ignore as an educated and assimilated African-American, while his relationship with Ganja Meda at once parallels his dilemma and intensifies it. Ganja and Hess is a elliptical, dreamlike film that often disdains the literal in favor of the imagined or implied, and for a filmmaker with only one picture to his credit, it's a remarkably accomplished and visionary work. With a valuable assist from cinematographer E. James Hinton, Gunn brings a rich and troubling atmosphere to the proceedings, and he draws excellent performances from Duane Jones and Marlene Clark, both of whom are strong enough to make clear just how poorly they'd been used in most of their previous roles. While it's flawed in some small ways, and its pacing begins to flag in the last act, Ganja and Hess remains a singular work from a unique creative mind. If you're hoping for a knock-off of Blacula, you'll be disappointed, but if the notion of Carl Dreyer's Vampyr viewed from an African-American cultural perspective sounds intriguing to you, this is a film you ought to seek out. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast and Crew: Jack Jordan  Producer 
Sam Waymon  Composer (Music Score) 
Bill Gunn  Director 
Bill Gunn  Screenwriter 
Chris Schultz  Producer 
Bret Wood  Producer 
Bill Gunn  Actor 
Candece Tarpley  Actor 
Duane Jones  Actor 
Marlene Clark  Actor 
Sam Waymon  Actor 
Leonard Jackson  Actor 
Richard Harrow  Actor 
John Hoffmeister  Actor 
Betty Barney  Actor 
Mabel King  Actor 
Betsy Thurman  Actor 
Tommy Lane  Actor 
Enrico Fales  Actor 
Tara Fields  Actor 

Country: USA