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Directed by Bill Gunn

United States 1973 113 mins.

Hired to cash in on the box office success of Blacula, Bill Gunn chose to make a stranger and more personal take on the black vampire narrative that challenged the then-popular blaxploitation subgenre. Shot on 16mm, leaning towards the avant-garde in structure, and piled high with sex and violence, this low-budget film tells the story of a doctor driven to dark desires after being stabbed by an ancient blade. This new restoration of Ganja & Hess, brought back to the big screen for the first time in several decades, features footage that the producers cut and presents the director’s original vision. “A story full of symbolic imagery, abstract philosophical concepts, and challenging ideas of sex, religion, and cultural and racial identity.” —Brent McKnight, Popmatters