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Fantasm Jones

With a fall slate brimming with the usual celluloid pablum and bijou detritus, it is an absolute delight to stumble upon an unexpected triumph in the form of the mighty Fantasm Jones. A full-bore, fast-paced, high-octane thrill-a-coaster geared to the urban black market, this rippingly fabulous drugs-and-violence ghetto extravaganza is sure to find a happy homecoming in the lilliest of lily-white picket-fence America. “Will it play in Peoria?” the producers ask. “Damn straight!” says Fantasm Jones.

This rollicking bauble kicks off in overdrive when the daughter of a voodoo priestess flips her wig on skag and ends up with a one-way ticket to ODeadsville. The fearsome voodoo mama wreaks bloody vengeance, laying a deadly curse on all the heroin in Harlem, transforming zonked-out junk zombies into the cannibalistic flesh-eating kind. Who can possibly save Harlem’s junkie scene?

Fantastic Jones, that’s who! A lovable scoundrel and rogue, Fantastic is a high-level heroin distributor cut from the finest cloth, dealing exclusively in 90% pure China White and offering a sliding price scale that affords even the poorest of the poor easy access to prime horse, Fantastic gets to puzzling over why his dealers are dropping like flies and his track-armed customers keep trying to gnaw his manly black flesh. Quick on the case like a zombie-busting Superfly, a brain-shooting Shaft, and a too-sexy-by-half Cleopatra Jones all rolled into one awesome spectacle of superblackness, Fantastic takes on the voodoo squares like Ahab takes on whales. However, unlike that pantywaist twinkletoes Ahab, Fantastic gets the job done right!

Four big black stars for this one. Special kudos go out to newly-minted Afrosuperstar Pierce Crabtree — a man among men, the toughest knuckle-dusting punk-smoker since Lee Marvin – who would, if there were any justice in the film business, take the reins of the James Bond series from that tweedletwink polesmoker Roger Moore by next Thursday.

A pulsatingly romantic soundtrack album, featuring the sultry single “Fantasm Jones,” is availably on Soul Dec Records. Buy it on your way home from your second consecutive viewing of the utterly fabulous Fantasm Jones.

Rex Reed. Valentines And Vitriol. 1977.

Clipping from The Plain Dealer, Friday, June 15th, 1973.

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