Blaxploitation Horror: Blackenstein (1973) + Abby (1974)

July 9, 2017 | By

The Blaxploitation genre – often low budget crime & action films, packed with new and veteran African-American talent – ran roughly from 1970-1979, but its peak years 1972-1975 yielded a massive wave of productions, with more than a few delving into the horror realm.



Lesser known indie efforts include the arty vampire flick Ganja & Hess (1973), Frankenstein riff Blackenstein (1973), zombie entry Sugar Hill (1974), and the self-explanatory Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde (1976) but the best-known are American International Pictures’ The Thing with Two Heads (1972) with a racist white dude sharing headspace with football star Rosey Grier, the vampire diptych Blacula (1972) and Scream Blacula Scream (1973), and The Exorcist rip-off Abby (1974).

Blackenstein was recently beefed up as a special edition Blu-ray from Severin (with cooperation from Xenon Pictures and Vinegar Syndrome), but Abby is still an orphan film because no one seems willing to resolve the lawsuit which had AIP pull the film and all prints, keeping the movie out of circulation for decades.


Actually, this beautiful poster is quite accurate!


Bootlegs abound, but no legal DVD transfer exists, and in my review of Abby I opine on its ongoing unavailability and genuine merits as one of the more inventive blaxploitation horror films.


NOPE. There is NO tool-wielding caveman. NONE.


Blackenstein was far luckier, enjoying a home video release in an expanded cut, and Severin’s BR sports both theatrical & TV editions, with extras on the film’s making and producer-writer Frank Saletri who was murdered in the early 1980s.



Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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