1970s Black horror double feature: Blackenstein vs. Devil’s Express

It’s a double feature of Black horror from the 1970s! Is it everything we expect from the Blaxploitation era?

DEVIL’S EXPRESS (1976)

I swear Devil’s Express is like The Last Dragon meets Raw Meat…with the vibe of 1970s cop shows like Baretta and SWAT, from the soooooo 1976 disco soul music to the city street action.

After an opening scene of men being sacrificed with a katana in 200 BC China, we meet our main cop/karate teacher and his student…who pack up and head to Hong Kong.

The scenes of them learning from martial arts experts are quite boring.

But then the student goes down into a creepy cave, which unleashes a demon…

…that hops into a guy on a boat back to The US, giving him possession bug eyes in the process.

He’s quite freaky, and eventually the demon busts out of him (awesome), but as bodies begin piling up in the subway system and detectives investigate, there’s no sign of an onscreen kill involving the demon. Bummer.

Instead we get one big montage of the leading man living and loving in the city for a majority of the film…when he’s not busy getting into martial arts fights with baddies on the street.

It’s a long time to wait to see the demon. We finally do when the main man dons a gold spandex outfit right out of Dance Fever to go underground and fight it.

The final battle rocked (or discoed), but I was a little disappointed with this one overall, which had a lot of horror promise that didn’t come to fruition.

BLACKENSTEIN (1973)

Blackenstein does a great job of bringing the vibe of Hammer horror to a Black horror film.

Our scientist, Dr. Stein, is a white dude experimenting with DNA when a former female student comes to him for help; her military man has been badly damaged in war. She wants the doctor to try to fix him.

Unfortunately, as she begins to work with the doctor, his other assistant starts having feelings for her. When she rejects his advances, he sabotages the doctor’s work.

Pretty soon, a monster has been created…Blackenstein! He looks like a traditional Frankenstein, and he seems to have it out for horny couples.

I had my concerns when the first kill was done fricking shadow puppet style.

But after that, Blackenstein hits the town and kills for the camera.

After an unnecessary club scene complete with stand-up comedy and a singing performance, Blackenstein gets a gander at a girl’s tits in an alley (that’s as exploitative as it gets), and then goes home to take care of those who made him a monster.

Aside from a flash of guts, this isn’t a gory film. There are classic horror shadows and dramatic lighting, but the kills are 1970s tame. It’s entertaining enough, but this is no Blacula. For a more campy Black Frankenstein tale, check out this SNL sequel…

 

 

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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