Most of you probably haven’t seen Bill Gunn’s 1973 blaxploitation vampire flick Ganga & Hess, and that’s a damn shame. It’s a cool, unique meditation on race, class, identity, religion, and addiction, as well as being a strange, creepy horror joint. But don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar, because Spike Lee has seen it, and as if to prove that any film, no matter how obscure, can be remade, his Da Sweet Blood of Jesus does just that. It hits theaters and VOD early next year, and now you can check out this new trailer, which now has me solidly on board.
Lee’s last remake, Oldboy, earned a lot of ire, and while I don’t hate it as much as a lot of people, I still think it was totally unnecessary. Ganga & Hess is a much less known commodity, so it won’t enrage as many people, but from the look of this footage, I can’t wait to see what he’s done. Oldboy followed the source material almost exactly, and it looks like Da Sweet Blood may do the same, especially as Gunn, who died in 1989, gets a co-writing credit.
This project, funded via Kickstarter, premiered at the American Black Film Festival in June, and tells the story of anthropologist Dr. Hess Green, who, after being stabbed by an assistant, becomes immortal and addicted to blood. The original never uses the term vampire, and that continues here. While the surface tale is definitely all horror, there are tons of symbolic imagery, confrontational themes about race, class, and culture, and intense philosophical ideas. Basically, it’s tailor made for Spike Lee.
I’m really curious to see this, and we only have to wait a few more months as Da Sweet Blood of Jesus hits theaters and VOD on February 15, 2015.