I use hands to help my fellow man / I use hands to help with what I can / But when I face an unjust injury / Then I change my hand into FIST OF FURY

Posts Tagged ‘Charles Burnett’

Killer of Sheep

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

KILLER OF SHEEP is the influential 1978 feature film debut of Charles Burnett, who would go on to direct TO SLEEP WITH ANGER and THE GLASS SHIELD, among other things. Filmed in handheld, 16mm black and white, it’s a naturalistic, mostly unstructured (but not documentary) portrait of the working class people of the Watts neighborhood where Burnett grew up.

The lamb-murderer of the title is Stan (Henry G. Sanders, CHILD’S PLAY 3), but that’s not to say he’s some sicko – he works at a slaughterhouse. The job seems to be as exhausting and soul-sucking as it sounds. In his time off Stan always looks tired, often shirtless, just sitting around unless he’s on the floor fixing something or other. Friends are always coming over, sometimes trying to get him to do some crime or other money-making scheme. These leather jacket wearing bigshots try to smooth talk him into something until his wife (Kaycee Moore) comes out to tell them off. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Soul Vengeance

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

tn_soulvengeanceAlot of people have recommended the PENITENTIARY trilogy to me over the years. Apparently it’s a pretty crazy movie property franchise of the VHS era, so it made sort of a minor cult legend out of writer-director Jamaa Fanaka. He came out of the UCLA film school and a group of young black filmmakers known as “the L.A. Rebellion.” Other members include Charles Burnett, Julie Dash and Haile Gerima, so he might’ve been the black sheep of the group, being more interested in exploitation type subject matter than his colleagues.

Although the PENITENTIARYs are what he’s known for, Fanaka (who was born Walter Gordon, by the way – he changed it to a Swahili name in college) actually started in the blaxploitation era. His first feature was 1974’s EMMA MAE, better known now as BLACK SISTER’S REVENGE. In 1975 he did WELCOME HOME, BROTHER CHARLES, which we will discuss here under its current video title of SOUL VENGEANCE. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.