Penitentiary II (1982)

Let’s go back to the story of Martel “Too Sweet” Gordone for this week’s new B-Movie Enema.

Some time ago, I covered the first story in Too Sweet’s trilogy. This week, we pick up where the last left off with Penitentiary II. As seen at the end of the first film, Too Sweet won the prison boxing tournament and was released. However, there’s a bit of a caveat with that freedom as we’ll see in this week’s sequel.

As with the first, Penitentiary II is written and directed by activist and leading member of the L.A. Rebellion, Jamaa Fanaka. Fanaka would ultimately make three films in the saga of Too Sweet Gordone. However, this film has a couple other notable actors appearing in it.

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Disco Godfather (1979)

In the history of comedy, there is probably no one whose cadence and timbre is more recognizable than Rudy Ray Moore. He’s loud. He’s crude. He’s insulting. He’s hilarious. He’s extremely likable. He also made a lot of really fun movies to watch.

Whether you know him by way of his blaxploitation movies of the 70s, especially Dolemite, or you know him through some of the recordings he made, or you even actually know him as “the Godfather of Rap”, or you only just learned of him through Eddie Murphy’s marvelous portrayal of him in Dolemite Is My Name, he’s someone that once you become aware of him, Moore never really leaves you.

I’ve wanted to do a Rudy Ray Moore movie for some time on the site. There are four primary choices I could have made. I settled on Disco Godfather to be the one that brings Rudy Ray Moore to my humble little website. Before we get into the movie proper, let’s talk about Moore a little bit and what makes him such a fun and interesting character.

And yes, I said “character” and not “person” because I think that’s how Moore lived most of the last 40 years of his life.

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Sheba, Baby (1975)

After last week with The Apple, I needed a reprieve. I need a palette cleanser. I need some blaxploitation. Thank fucking god William Girdler is here to help me out – and he’s brought Pam Grier!

This is Girdler’s 1975 action flick Sheba, Baby!

Now, I’ve talked about William Girdler twice before – once on Film Seizure’s Monster Mondays show (which some asshole with the same name as me hosts… wait, I’M the asshole). First up, I did The Manitou for Monster Mondays. That was a fascinating Exorcist rip-off centered around some Native American lore. That was neat. Then, over here, just this past October, I wrote about the blaxploitation Exorcist rip-off Abby. That one was fun too. He’s an interesting director. Sadly, he was killed scouting locations in Manila, Philippines for his 10th film.

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Abby (1974)

B-Movie Enema’s October 2020 theme of Exorcist Rip-Off Month is back, and this time we got a pretty well-regarded one.

This week’s film is Abby, and it’s best described as one of the handful of blaxploitation horror films alongside Blacula, Blackenstein, Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde, and Ganja and Hess.  This was part of a trio of blaxploitation films by William Girdler.  One of those, Sheba, Baby, will someday be on this blog because I LOVE blaxploitation.  I’ve talked about Girdler before, though.  He’s probably best known for making Grizzly in 1976.  However, his final film, The Manitou, dealt with Native American themes and was something I covered over at Film Seizure on my Monster Mondays show earlier this year.

Abby isn’t without some prestige, though.  It stars Carol Speed who was in several exploitation films of the 70s, and Blacula himself, William Marshall!  It also has Academy Award nominated actress Juanita Moore.  So it is not at all lacking in talent here. Continue reading “Abby (1974)”

Penitentiary (1979)

We’re getting back to some good old blaxploitation with this week’s B-Movie Enema.  Penitentiary was written, produced, and directed by Jamaa Fanaka.

Fanaka was part of the L.A. Rebellion from the late 60s and into the late 80s.  This was a movement of black filmmakers whose whole intent was to make films that offered an alternative to what most deemed “classical” Hollywood films.  This was mostly influenced by Latin American and Italian cinema, but also from an emerging African cinema.

You see, the 1960s was a particularly turbulent time.  After a series of events like the Civil Rights Act, Affirmative Action, and the Watts Riots, society shifted and evolved very quickly.  Affirmative Action allowed for many more black students to attend colleges – and particularly at UCLA which got urged to create an ethnographic studies program to allow black filmmakers to tell more of their story and stories that would expose their struggles. Continue reading “Penitentiary (1979)”