Sunday, January 19, 2014

Son of Ingagi (1940)

Director: Richard C. Kahn

Writer:Spencer Williams

Composer: no score

Starring: Zack Williams, Laura Bowman, Alfred Grant, Daisy Bufford, Arthur Ray, Spencer Williams, Earle Morris, Jesse Graves, The Four Toppers, Maggie Hathaway

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Terror reigns when the giant of the jungle breaks loose!

Plot: A wealthy old recluse wills her fortune and exceedingly-gloomy house to a pair of newlyweds, Robert and Eleanor Lindsay. Years before, Dr. Jackson had been in love with Eleanor's father, who was younger than her and did not return her love. N'Gina, an ape-man, Dr. Jackson brought back from Africa drinks a potion she had concocted in her laboratory, for a specific reason, but N'Gina turns on her and kills her, which is not what she had planned. Then he murders her attorney, Bradshaw, who is hunting for $20,000 in gold she had hidden in her gloomy house. Her brother, Zeno, an ex-convict, finds the gold but N'Gina isn't bothered by the bullets Zeno fires at him and kills him also. Detective Nelson then goes looking for it.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

This is one of the first, if not THE first, all-black cast horror film.  If it weren't for the very low budget it probably could have been a much better picture.  The sets are sparse, the locations are few and there's no music.  Having a score would have greatly helped the film.  The performances are fine for what it is but there was one scene that got me.  Dr. Jackson (Laura Bowman) is having a conversation with the newly married Eleanor (Bufford).  It was the day of their wedding and Dr. Jackson wanted to know why she was invited when no one in the neighborhood would have anything to do with her.  Eleanor's response and Dr. Jackson's reaction was so touching that I really started to tear up.  Isn't that something? Here's an almost 75 year old low budget horror movie that's moving me to tears.  Amazing. Bowman is the best thing in the film.  Once she's gone, you'll miss her.  It's refreshing to see a film from this era with black actors not in the stereotypical roles we're used to seeing.  Other than that, there's not really much her to dig on.  When you take that out of the equation it's just another grade-Z horror flick from a long time ago.

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