Lord Shango

1975

Drama / Horror

0
IMDb Rating 5.5 10 101

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
October 17, 2021 at 03:32 AM

Director

Cast

Marlene Clark as Jenny
720p.BLU
875.17 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 35 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by cfc_can 6 / 10

Weird but not wonderful

Lord Shango is a pretty offbeat story of a woman (Marlene Clark) and the relationships between her, her teen daughter and an odd man who may or may not have odd powers. It doesn't always make sense but it is far more intelligent than you would think. The end result though is not overly satisfying. It's nowhere near as exploitational as say, Blacula or Blackenstein but it's also a lot less well known than those two films. It was filmed down south and has a great sense of atmosphere.

Reviewed by dmgrundy 6 / 10

"The days of blaxploitation are over"?

I came to this curious 1975 film through the late Milford Graves, who is very briefly glimpsed as part of the percussion ensemble. Not really a horror movie, though it was marketed as such, stars Marlene Clark of Ganja and Hess fame, and concerns spirit possession and the dead. Written by playwright Paul Carter Harrison--who also scripted 'Youngbood' (1978) and an un-produced biopic of Sam Cooke--and shot in Friendsville, Tennessee, it concerns the clash of Yoruba religion and Christianity, centring around the idea of sacrifice. (Graves, who served as African percussion consultant on the film, illustrates the Yoruba side, juxtaposed with the Howard Roberts Choir's spirituals--Roberts scored the film). Like 'Ganja and Hess'--on which Harrison explicitly modelled the film--it doesn't really fit any of the generic categories placed on Black cinema of the time--horror, Blaxploitation, drama--though it perhaps includes elements of all of these. And while it lacks the sheer surreal, a-narrative strangeness of Ganja--the pacing is more sedate and telegraphed--it's certainly distinctive.

Nicholas Foster has an interesting article on its production history and evasion of categories for black film at Black Camera which recounts more details. From Foster, we learn that it was a coproduction between the Ronald Hobbs Literary Agency, who represented Amiri Baraka, Larry Neal and other Black Arts Movement literary figures, and distribution company Bryanston Pictures who'd also put out 'Andy Warhol's Dracula', Andy Warhol's Frankenstein', and 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' and later, 'Deep Throat' (obscenity charges surrounding the latter leading to the company's collapse), with Hobbs apparently inviting the likes of Baraka, Neal and Adrienne Kennedy to evaluate the film at screenings. For all the sensationalist aspects suggested by Bryanston's involvement, 'Lord Shango' was consciously seeking *not* to be a Blaxploitation film--"the days of Blaxploitation are over" ran a newspaper report on its production. If Gunn's 'Ganja and Hess' is very much an auteur film--starring role, with the distinctive editing, the removal of exposition and backstory for the distinctive dream-like atmosphere--the director here, Ray Marsh, appears to have minimal input. He made a couple of shlock films and is never even mentioned in Harrison's reminiscence at Black Camera. As a result, the film lacks the visual distinctiveness of Gunn's film, with its slow-motion, temporal leaps, and slow zooms: camera angles are generally static medium shots, cutting between incidents to create tension--amplified by contrasts of drumming and singing--that are obvious and hackneyed. The opening scene, in which church-goers either deliberately or accidentally drown a Yoruba devotee who interrupts a Baptism, should be resonant and tense: instead it's near-plodding, desperately crying out either for longer, more patient atmosphere-building or some severe editing. At times-particularly in Clark's performance-we get glimpses of a better film, and it's worth watching for those-and for the chance to see Milford Graves in his motion picture debut!

Reviewed by ascheland 6 / 10

Better than Expected, but Falls Short of Potential

If you go into "Lord Shango" expecting blaxploitation horror schlock along the lines of "Blacula" or "Sugar Hill," you're going to be disappointed. Once you adjust your expectations, however, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

The movie opens with the baptism ceremony of Billie (Avis McCarther), the teen-age daughter of Jenny (Marlene Clark). Interrupting the ceremony is Billie's voodoo-practicing boyfriend. A struggle ensues with the church elders, who attempt to forcibly baptize the boyfriend, "accidentally" drowning him. Jenny doesn't entirely believe the drowning was accidental, even though her boyfriend Memphis (Wally Taylor) is one of the church elders involved. While Jenny is at her waitress job, Billie is seemingly possessed, writhing on her bed and beckoning for Memphis. Yeah, we know where this going, and once Jenny discovers what went on all hell breaks loose. Billie, ashamed, runs away, while Memphis begs for Jenny's and God's forgiveness. God may forgive, but Jenny doesn't, renouncing Christianity in favor of voodoo, using its rituals to find her daughter and get revenge.

"Lord Shango" actually has a lot in common with "Ganja & Hess," which also starred Clark. Like that movie, "Shango" seems better suited for the art-house than grindhouse. Many of the supernatural elements are implied, and, in some instances, may not be supernatural at all. Fanning the flames is a character named Jabo (Lawrence Cook), the local drunk who may—or may not—be Lord Shango reincarnate. If he has any special power, it's his ability to manipulate by suggesting that some characters face dire consequences, as he does when he plays on Memphis' paranoia, or greater rewards, as he does with Jenny, who seems convinced she knows his "real" identity.

But while "Lord Shango" is far more intelligent than one might expect, it doesn't entirely live up to its potential. For starters, this movie often drowns in its own soundtrack, with music—be it gospel, tribal drums, funk, jazz—blaring in practically EVERY scene, whether it's necessary or not. It's frequently difficult to hear the dialog, and there are many times when the music deflates the tension. The movie could also benefit from some tighter editing (you have to sit through an awful lot of gospel singing and voodoo drumming before the story really kicks into gear) and a more satisfying ending. Having raised our expectations, screenwriter Paul Carter Harrison and director Ray Marsh can't quite meet them.

It's no "Ganja & Hess," but "Lord Shango" is still worth seeking out. The acting, for the most part, is fairly strong, and the story is pretty compelling, even if it's clumsily told.

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