Film Review: The Black Gestapo (1975)

Also known as: Black Enforcers, Black Nazi, Ghetto Warriors
Release Date: March, 1975
Directed by: Lee Frost
Written by: Lee Frost, Wes Bishop
Based on: a story by Ronald K. Goldman, Lee Frost, Wes Bishop
Music by: Allan Alper
Cast: Rod Perry, Charles P. Robinson, Phil Hoover, Ed Cross, Angela Brent

Saber Productions, Bryanston Distributors, 88 Minutes

black_gestapoReview:

The Black Gestapo is a pretty rare film that came out during the height of “race hate” cinema. It also came out in the midst of the blaxploitation era. It made its rounds in grindhouse theaters in the mid 70s but certainly didn’t have any sort of mainstream success and is mostly forgotten – not that it was ever really known.

I heard about this film in a few different places, over the years. I was finally able to see it, as it is surprisingly on YouTube. That really shouldn’t surprise me though, as a lot of obscure films like this are making their way onto streaming services. This could also be in the public domain, at this point, but I’m not sure.

The film is a non-stop bonanza of racial hatred and violence. While it isn’t intended to be a comedy or a parody, it is sort of humorous to watch, over forty years later. It is also really bad ass and has a legit grittiness to it.

In the film, we meet a group of militant black men who are sick of the white mob shaking down the ghetto for money while they rape their women. The group decides to get even more militant and starts recruiting heavily, training hard and even turns to the black criminal element to help fight the white gangsters. Eventually, the evil white men are defeated but the criminal element within the black militant group starts to use the powers of their new militia to hold a fascist grip over the neighborhood. A powerful pimp turns the group into a bigger threat to the ghetto than the whites were. The protectors and the heroes become the villains. The founder of the group is then pitted against the evil pimp in a final showdown to put things right, once and for all.

Interestingly, the film has a lot of layers to it and it is smarter than what one would think at first glance. Considering that it is a cornucopia of endless violence and sex, the social and political context is very clear and the story is pretty interesting. There is rape, there is testicular disembowelment, there is torture and explosions, yet the film isn’t necessarily cringe worthy. It effectively tells its story in spite of the gimmickry of trying to shock its audience at every turn.

The Black Gestapo is far from a perfect movie but it is a hell of a lot of fun for its 88 minutes. It will certainly make the overly sensitive or politically correct people a bit uneasy. Probably to the point where they despise the film and don’t see what it actually represents: a very stark commentary on the post-Civil Rights racial tensions in 1970s America. More clearly, it examines the anger between races, as well as black people’s need to unify and not become their own worst enemy.

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