Ganja & Hess

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Ganja & Hess
Ganja & Hess.jpg
DVD cover
Directed by Bill Gunn
Produced by Chiz Schultz
Written by Bill Gunn
Starring Marlene Clark
Duane Jones
Music by Sam Waymon
Cinematography James E. Hinton
Edited by Victory Kanefsky
Release dates
April 20, 1973 (USA)
Running time
110 min.
78 min. (cut version)
Language English
Budget $350,000.

Ganja & Hess is a 1973 horror film directed by Bill Gunn and stars Marlene Clark and Duane Jones. The film follows the exploits of archaeologist Dr. Hess Green (Jones) who becomes a vampire after being stabbed by his intelligent, but unstable, assistant (Gunn) with an ancient cursed dagger. Green falls in love with his assistant's widow, Ganja (Clark), who learns Green's dark secret.

This film contains the only other lead role for Duane Jones, best known for starring in the 1968 film Night of the Living Dead (though he appeared in bit-parts in other movies). The film's extras included the postmodern novelist William Gaddis and his wife Judith Thompson.[1]

The film was screened at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival.[2] Spike Lee's 2014 film Da Sweet Blood of Jesus has been described as being "...a remake — at times scene for scene and shot for shot — of Ganja and Hess, playwright and filmmaker Bill Gunn’s landmark 1973 indie that used vampirism as an ingenious metaphor for black assimilation, white cultural imperialism and the hypocrisies of organized religion." [3]


  • Marlene Clark as Ganja Meda
  • Duane Jones as Dr. Hess Green
  • Bill Gunn as George Meda
  • Sam Waymon as Rev. Luther Williams
  • Leonard Jackson as Archie
  • Candece Tarpley as Girl in Bar
  • Richard Harrow as Dinner Guest
  • John Hoffmeister as Jack Sargent
  • Betty Barney as Singer in Church
  • Mabel King as Queen of Myrthia

See also[edit]


The movie received positive reviews.[4][5][6][7][8]


Spike Lee's 2014 film Da Sweet Blood of Jesus is an unofficial remake of the film.[9]


  1. ^ Moore, Steven. Introduction to The Letters of William Gaddis. Ed. Steven Moore. Champaign, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 2013. 9.
  2. ^ Harris, Brandon. "Bill Gunn Surfaces at BAM." Filmmaker Magazine. 31 Mar. 2010. Retrieved 18 February 2011. [1]
  3. ^ Foundas, Scott."Film Review: ‘Da Sweet Blood of Jesus.’" 23 June 2014. Variety.
  4. ^ Jane, Ian (27 April 2012). "Ganja & Hess: Kino Classics Remastered Edition (Blu-ray)". DVD Talk. 
  5. ^ Christley, Jaime N. (8 May 2012). "Ganja & Hess". Slant Magazine. 
  6. ^ Rabin, Nathan (9 May 2012). "Ganja & Hess". The A.V. Club. 
  7. ^ Harris, Brandon (6 July 2014). "Spike Lee: “The black audience is not monolithic”". Salon. 
  8. ^ Obenson, Tambay A. (16 April 2012). "Kino Lorber Releasing Restored Version Of "Ganja & Hess" on DVD and Blu-ray 5/8 (Cover Art & Specs)". 
  9. ^ "Spike Lee’s Da Sweet Blood of Jesus pseudo-remake of 1973’s Ganja & Hess". 16 April 2012. 

External links[edit]