J.D.’s Revenge – USA, 1976 – reviews

 

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J.D.’s Revenge is a 1976 American blaxploitation horror feature film produced and directed by Arthur Marks from a screenplay by Jaison Starkes for American International Pictures (AIP). The movie stars Glynn Turman, Lou Gossett and Joan Pringle.

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Isaac Hendrix (Turman) is a young college student studying law and a taxi-cab driver in New Orleans. While out on a night of fun with his friends and wife, Christella during a hypnosis act, he becomes an unwilling host for the restless spirit of J.D Walker, a hustler killed during the 1940s.

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“Ike” gradually finds his own personality gradually being taken over by the sociopathic Walker, even eventually going so far as to adopt his hair and fashion style, mannerisms, and psychotic tendencies (including an attempted rape on his wife after she mocked his J.D. haircut).

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With the spirit of J.D. in complete control he turns his attention toward wreaking vengeance against the man responsible for killing his sister, Theotis Bliss. Ike commits havoc all over town along the way before making his way to the church where Theotis’ brother works as a preacher, where he finally reveals himself and instructs Elijah to tell Theotis to meet him “on the killin’ floor”.

Meanwhile, Ike’s wife goes to her ex-husband, a cop who is out for Ike’s blood believing him to be a simple psycho hiding behind a false persona — until he mentions to the Chief that Ike claimed his name was J.D. Walker, a man who was not only real, but had died over 30 years ago…

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On 30th and 31st October, 2017, J.D.’s Revenge is released as a Blu-ray + DVD combo in the UK and US by Arrow Video. The special features are:
 

  • Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original 1.0 mono sound
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
  • Brand new interview with producer-director Arthur Marks
  • More interviews to be announced!
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Arthur Marks trailer reel
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips
  • Collector s booklet containing new writing by Kim Newman, author of Nightmare Movies

 
Reviews [click links to read more]:

‘What makes the movie work, to the degree that it does, are the performances by Turman, Lou Gossett and Joan Pringle. Turman, in particular, has fun transforming himself from the mild-mannered law student to the zoot-suited 1940s two-bit gangster that J.D. used to be, complete with straight razor.’ RogerEbert.com

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‘To its credit, the ending is pretty clever and slightly alters your perception about some of the characters. J.D.’s Revenge also becomes progressively more entertaining as it unfolds and you realize this isn’t just Black Caesar done up in horror digs.’ Brett Gallman, Oh, the Horror!

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‘Mark’s movie has a lot of sleaze appeal mostly with the abundant nudity and several dream sequences featuring a cow being slaughtered, but it doesn’t have the level of violence found in so many other movies of the genre. This is predominantly a character study and all the better for it. It’s one of the best, if not the best representations of blax-horror…’ Cool Ass Cinema

J.D.’s Revenge is not as much fun as Blacula, but it still has some nice things going for it and it was an obvious influence for Ernest Dickerson’s recent Bones. It’s played completely straight despite the silly premise, and good performances mixed with an ample dose of sex and blood make this one very tolerable.’ George R Reis, DVD Drive-In

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‘An efficient and effective piece of blaxploitation, the film is very much in the Southern gothic tradition and uses its New Orleans locations to great effect to create an atmosphere of incipient, imminent violence. Turman’s slow transformation has its welcome moments of humour and the film is crisply photographed and tightly directed, with a fairly liberal helping of blood scenes.’ The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror

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‘This here movie sounds whack but, straight up, it is dope: we got violence, blood, plenty o’ older-than-old-school badass, and even some titties.’ The World of Mr Satanism

Choice dialogue:

“Yeah, I’m gonna cut you every which way but loose!”

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Main cast and characters:

  • Glynn Turman as Isaac aka Ike
  • Louis Gossett Jr. as Reverend Elijah Bliss
  • Joan Pringle as Christella
  • Carl W. Crudup as Tony
  • James Watkins as Carl
  • Fred Pinkard as Theotis Bliss
  • Jo Anne Meredith as Sara Divine
  • Alice Jubert as Roberta ‘Betty Jo’ Bliss
  • David McKnight as J.D. Walker
  • Stephanie Faulkner as Phyllis
  • Fuddle Bagley as Enoch Land
  • Earl Billings as Captain Turner
  • Paul Galloway as Garage Man

 

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