When people mention blaxploitation movies, and you do not know what are they about, just check out Coffy and everything will be clear. They are a source of inspiration for many directors like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. These movies are usually set in the drug-infested parts of town, and the main characters are pushers and pimps leading a hard life.
Coffy adds a twist to that premise with a strong female lead and an anti-drug message. We also have to remember that this is basically the first wave of Blaxploitation movies as Shaft was released just two years earlier. These movies are so strange to watch and analyze. Mostly because they feature violence, nudity and misogyny on one hand. And on the other hand, they are dealing with America’s horrible racial history and tensions in a somewhat liberated seventies society.
They are multilayered and honest, adding corruption, revenge and even vigilantism to the mix. Oh, and I almost forgot, there’s going to be a lot of nudity in Coffy. All of this makes for one hell of an experience. Even if you’re not a fan of the genre, you will be at least entertained. And who knows, maybe you’ll learn something new about our society.
Her real name is Coffin, although everyone just calls her Coffy. She’s a nurse who works in a local hospital and who has witnessed what the drug epidemic is doing to the population of her town. Actually, Coffy’s little sister died of an overdose not too long ago. Angry, smart, and willing to do anything to get the ones responsible for her death, Coffy decides to start a suicide mission of cleaning out her town.
Coffy wouldn’t be Coffy without the one and only Pam Grier. I have to admit that the first time I noticed her was in Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, back in 1997. However, ever since then I’ve been catching up with her filmography. If you’re looking to do the same, I suggest you start with The Big Bird Cage and Foxy Brown. The director of both movies is Jack Hill, a true legend of this genre. He’s also the man behind wrote and directed this one too. Grier has an incredibly strong screen presence and makes any movie she’s in ten times better. And I’m not just saying that because she has a beautiful body.
As I previously mentioned, this is a complex movie. Especially when you consider that it came out almost fifty years ago. You can watch it as a comedy, action movie or even a thriller. However, it’s also one of those so bad that it’s good movies. Some of the one-liners fall so flatly on the floor that you can’t help but laugh out loud. And the music is so freaking cool. Especially when the King arrives with his stylish outfit and plastic sunglasses.
I found myself looking at the furniture and home appliances more than once. It’s so interesting to see what was popular back then especially if you’re setting up the mood or trying to show off. For example, when Coffy ends up in the King’s bedroom, his bed sheets are made out of fur. Fucking fur! I guess that symbolizes prestige and power. Along with a big fucking lamp.
Director: Jack Hill
Writer: Jack Hill
Cast: Pam Grier, Sid Haig, Lee de Broux, Robert DoQui, Booker Bradshaw, William Elliott, Barry Cahill
Fun Stuff: King George rides in a 1961 Cadillac Fleetwood 75, one of 700 ever made.