Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Blu-ray Review: BLACK MAMA, WHITE MAMA (1973)
BLACK MAMA, WHITE MAMA
Directed by: Eddie Romero
Distributed by Arrow Films / MVD Entertainment Group
Arrow Films continues to keep putting out some of the greatest releases of classic horror, exploitation, and grindhouse flicks. One of their latest releases is BLACK MAMA, WHITE MAMA, a great exploitation film from the early 70's. Here is a synopsis of the film courtesy of the MVD website:
Before her iconic turn in Coffy, Pam Grier starred alongside Margaret Markov in a grindhouse spin on Stanley Kramer's The Defiant Ones, fusing the Women in Prison film with the emerging Blaxploitation movement for a riotous romp of bullets, babes and blood! Lee (Grier), a tough prostitute and Karen (Markov), a revolutionary, are admitted to a tough women's prison where almost immediately (after some playful showering that prefigures Porky's) they clash. Packed off to a maximum security prison, their transport is ambushed by Karen's guerrilla friends and the two escape into the Filipino jungle. Chained together and with differing escape plans their clash intensifies as Lee wants to retrieve a stash of stolen cash to get her off the island and Karen wants to re-join her revolutionary group. Escape isn't easy as they come up against a series of obstacles including a corrupt cop, a bounty hunter, a sadistic Drug Lord and guerrillas who threaten to turn everything upside down. Chock full of girl fights, gun battles, nudity and humour, Black Mama White Mama, which was also known as Women in Chains and Hot, Hard and Mean, lives up to all its titles as well as featuring a brilliant Sid Haig (Spider Baby, House of 1000 Corpses) as a cowboy bounty hunter and Lynn Borden (Frogs, Dirty Mary Crazy Larry) as a lesbian guard from a script co-written by Jonathan Demme (Caged Heat) and a score sampled by Quentin Tarantino for Kill Bill.
I have to admit I've always loved the women-in-prison films from the 70's and 80's. This film is has many elements of that type of film, along with elements of the more extreme ILSA films of the 70's. The film is also a revenge flick, and an action flick with tons of gun fights and explosions. Part of this film reminded me of the old Charles Bronson DEATH WISH films. Pam Grier was excellent as the no holds barred, strong leader of the women. She never backed down from a fight with fellow prisoners or from the many people after her and her partner once they escaped.
A special treat for horror fans will be the appearance of genre vet, Sid Haig. A lot of horror fans these days might only know Haig from his more recent films like HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, and THE DEVIL'S REJECTS. If that's how you know him, you will hardly recognize him as Rueben the bounty hunter in this film. He is always a great actor and brings a certain charm to any character he portrays, and this is no different.
While not a horror film by any means, it's an exploitation/sexsploitation film at it's finest. I highly recommend this one to all genre fans!
BLACK MAMA, WHITE MAMA is available now from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment and contains the following special features:
* High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
* Original mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
* Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
* Commentary by filmmaker Andrew Leavold, director of The Search for Weng Weng
* White Mama - An interview with star Margaret Markov
* Sid’s Filipino Adventure - An interview with star Sid Haig
* The Mad Director of Blood Island - A previously unseen archive interview with director Eddie Romero
* Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips
CLICK HERE to watch the trailer
CLICK HERE to purchase the Blu-ray