Sunday, August 26, 2012

Top of the Heap (1972)

Director: Christopher St. John

Starring: Christopher St. John, Paula Kelly, Florence St. Peter, Leonard Kuras, John Alderson, Patrick McVey, Allen Garfield

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Justice shall be swift and deadly!

Plot: Officer George Lattimer (St. John) is caught between racist white cops and low-life black scum. White cops who see him on the street hassle him and don’t believe he’s a cop, while the criminals he busts don’t take him seriously. His home life is a shambles, and his mistress is whacked-out on god knows what. George fills his hellish life with ridiculous fantasies/flashbacks/flash forwards of life as an astronaut, a jungles dweller, and more.

My rating? 7/10

Will I watch it again? It's not necessary but I'm really glad I saw it.

This is the most surreal Blaxploitation picture I've ever seen...and it makes sense. St. John pulls off a doosey as writer/director/producer/star of this picture but the standout performance (for my money) is Florence St. Peter as George's (St. John) mistress. She's terrific. The scenes are all over the place but they go a long way into getting you inside George's head as he struggles with the world immediately around him from his work as a street cop to a husband, father and lover. Everything is coming together for a perfect storm ready to take down his mind and his ability to control anything. I'm really impressed. You're best bet in finding this is looking in the corners of the web. The best you'll find is a fullscreen VHS rip but it's worth seeking out and try out one of the most (if not the most) cerebral Blaxploitation pictures ever made.

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