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For February: The Five Best Blaxploitation Epics

It's Black History Month, when America commemorates Africa-American culture with Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reruns on TBS and wholly unpredictable jokes about Februrary being the shortest month of the year. Here at Hair Balls, we know that the 1970s marked the first point when the black community made significant inroads in film. Here, then, are five memorable examples of so-called "blaxploitation" cinema.

5. Blacula (1972) Let this be a lesson to all you interior decorators: when participating in estate sales, you can probably tell them to hold the coffins. It's nice to see a vampire who's not prejudiced about his victim's lifestyle choices, however.


4. Coffy (1973) Foxy Brown is the more recognizable Pam Grier vehicle, but whether it's the razors in the Afro, the ill-fitting jumpsuit worn by Robert DoQui, or the fact she kills Allan "Dr. Sidney Friedman" Arbus, Coffy is by far the superior effort.

3. The Mack (1973)

We all know the film's tragic ending: Goldie pondering his choices as the bus rolls out of town, and Olinga sent to exile in Hawaii, where he'd live out his days chauffering a mustachioed private investigator around in his helicopter.

2. Dolemite (1975)

Sometimes it's not the quality of the movie, but rather the film's cultural impact, that marks it as a classic. In

Dolemite's

case, it's hard to choose between Rudy Ray Moore's coining of the phrase, "rat soup-eating motherfucker" or this, the most obviously fake fight scene since Sonny beat up Carlo:

1. Shaft (1973)

You can argue that any number of movies were the true progenitors of the blaxploitation movement, and classics like

Sweet Sweetback's Baadasss Song

to

Super Fly

have a legitmate claim. What isn't debatable is the fact that

Shaft

is the most recognizable film of that period. And that John Shaft is one bad mother...

-- Pete Vonder Haar


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