I first heard of this film by way of Psychotronic Video, one of my most treasured source books. After Fangoria went hardcore mainstream, I gave up on them and discovered the Michael Weldon publication then never looked back. They made it sound so bizarre, that I had to check it out. I rented it in Berkeley at Reel Video, a long lost cult video store on tape under the Xenon Films title of "In Your Face". The cover is a real beauty, it's got a chubby angry guy who sort of looks like Abdullah The Butcher making a crazy face while a 2 Live Crew looking babe attached to his arm makes a duck face.
At the time there were a lot of these Dolemite videos and they all had a similar image only this time it wasn't Rudy Ray Moore, but some miscellaneous dude that never appears in the film (the cover is pretty brilliant though--I couldn't resist!)
The Bad Bunch got me thinking about this film, they are both poorly filmed and centered around a racist environment and use Martin Luther King to illustrate a point. This film however, as inept at it may seem, is much better than the Greydon Clark one in my opinion.
Dr Kinkade (J. Walter Smith), An African American scientist and his family move on up to one of the most disgustingly racist white suburbs. The film gets all the semantics out of the way by immediately establishing how fucked up the white folks are because they see black people moving in and assume that they must be the help!
It's even more frightening to me that this attitude continues to exist even today in America disguised as Patriotism when its really Nationalism or Nativism. Mabel (Dee Turguand) a vile bigot goes apeshit, once she realizes blacks have polluted her white neighborhood and this film came out in the free wheeling multiculturalism era of 1977! This film bangs you over the head with the racist message that certain white people refuse to accept an educated rich African American, it's pure exploitation (I guess whitesploitation could work, but that's feeling sorry for these low life scumfucks)!
|You don't wanna know what she's saying here|
Nazis start picketing Dr. K's lawn and white businessman enter his house and try to buy them out. The Dr. mentions that he's had to move three times in a month and won't budge! I admire his conviction and detest every white face I see in this film. Abar really does its job in making you feel embarrassed by white folk's idiotic behavior. I wonder what people thought at the time they filmed this? This movie is very political and even makes you think that this type of rampant ignorance still exists (I mean, just look at the all white Republican controlled congress).
The social commentary is razor sharp and elevates whatever cheap shoddy elements they patched this film together with. John Abar (Tobar Mayo) shows up with his group "the black front of unity" and tries to convince the doc that he should move back to the ghetto and not make a spectacle out of himself. Mayo is the only actor in the film with any other screen credits like Killer of Sheep and Escape From New York.
|It's ABAR Not Babar, do I look like a honky elephant to you?|
Abar and his bikers are sort of like the guardian angels accept not useless and follow Malcolm X's motto instead of non-violent resistance.
The Doc has an ace up his sleeve, because he has a secret formula that can transform anyone into a super crime fighter! Two crackers in denim outfits whistle Dixie and try to hurt the doctor, but Abar swoops in and punches them out. Dr Kinkade's family are suffering for their fathers principles but he has conviction and stands his ground. The interior of their house has a lot of red walls for some reason. The Doctor approaches Abar, while he preaches on the street to his flock in the ghetto, this is where he convinces him to undergo experimental injections. Mabel the racist bitch faints just before calling Dr. K's son a "pickaninny" and who's there to help out but the only capable doctor in the vicinity. I think he should've let her slip into a coma but his devotion to the hippocratic oath is commendable.
Dr. K's brother shows up in the most ridiculous way possible, by sneaking around in a Halloween mask in the dead of night! This idiot almost gets choked out by Abar, who seems to have moved in the guest room.
|You know you could've rung the door bell ya dumb ass!|
After awhile it gets quiet, but you still expect the white people to do something fucked up-- I mean this movie really taps into that old notion "don't trust whitey" they are the monstrous villains of this film.
Dr Kinkade's poor son gets run over by some shit head attempting to blow up the doctors house with dynamite. After the death, they both discuss Dr. King's life and commitment to non-violent protest. The doctor berates him, using psychology to coerce Abar into taking the injection that will make him indestructible (they prove how it works by shooting a rabbit a bunch of times and it still lives), no animals were harmed thankfully.
A bunch of racist cops go all "Rodney King (or Michael Brown R.I.P.)" on Abar and blow him away, luckily he took the super serum and strikes back with a vengeance!
|These mealworms could use some Crystal Hotsauce|
He uses his powers to change the ghetto by first stopping graffiti, then wino's booze transforms into milk, people eat worms and other random events happen as he stares into the camera and strange wind noises are heard. Although I wonder if he's really using his powers for good? At any rate the last few minutes get really wacky and we also learn that Mabel is holding on to a secret connected to her hatred of black people (and it doesn't justify her reprehensible behavior). Abar is a clunky blaxploitation flick with an uplifting message that overshadows the technical difficulties, definitely check it out!