The Film Detective announced this past week that they have a new 2K transfer of recently unearthed 35mm archive elements of the 1975 Horizon Films domestic theatrical release of famed Spanish voice actor-turned-filmmaker Manuel Cano García’s (aka: Manuel Caño; aka: Michael Cannon) Voodoo Black Exorcist, which will be available as both DVD and Blu-ray product offerings on May 23.
During the Christmas season of 1973, a little film from director William Friedkin caused quite the stir and launched a wave of films designed to take full advantage of his terror masterpiece. Of course it was The Exorcist and Cano, being no stranger to the film world — since the mid-1960s he was Spain’s go-to guy for dubbing American actors, which included the likes of Steve McQueen, Robert Redford and even Sidney Poitier — was right there with a Spanish language entry titled Vudú Sangriento, which was subsequently dubbed into English for domestic consumption as Voodoo Black Exorcist.
For film buffs and genre fans this golden nugget not only checks off the horror box, but there was another film trend — another film exploitative trend, that is — in full bloom during the mid-1970s and that was Blaxploitation … and Voodoo Black Exorcist checks that box off as well (although, technically, perhaps in name only … but that’s another story)!
Of course producer director William Girdler’s Abby — another Blaxploitation/Exorcist film — beat Cano to market by five months (but ran into legal challenges from Warner Bros. at the time), but who is counting such minor details.
As the story goes here, the mummified remains of a West African prince (it is best not to ask to too many questions about the “mummy” traditions of that particular region of Africa) are unearthed (a quick backstory fills us in how things went south for him) and loaded onto a cruise ship, bound for the Caribbean.
Once at sea, he escapes his sarcophagus and takes human form (played by veteran Spanish actor Aldo Sambrell, who played just about any type of character thrown his way during a career that spanned over 40 years), but when the prince needs to kill, he transforms back into the mummified black prince Guedé Nibo.
Dr. Kessling (Alfredo Mayo) and his lover/assistant Silvia (Eva León) are desperate to get their murderous cargo to Haiti, but Jamaica will have to do as the captain of the ship becomes concerned over the carnage. So it is pretty much a race against both time and discovery … to complicate things even further Nibo is convinced that the lovely Silvia is his reincarnated soul mate.
Voodoo Black Exorcist is what it is … an exploitation masterpiece that is to be savored and enjoyed (it defies criticism). No vintage horror collection, or for that matter, no Blaxploitation film library, is complete without this mixed-genre film gem. So circle May 23 on your release calendar for the addition of this new 2K transfer from The Film Detective to your home entertainment film library.