Peter’s Retro Movie Review: Coffy (1973)

September 10, 2012

Coffy (1973) movie posterby Peter Nielsen

It’s time to go back to the early 70’s again, my friends. An era that produced a vast amount of great thrillers, along with some superb action and horror movies too. So, there’s a deep well to dive into for some awesome entertainment! I’ll certainly return to that funky well many a time, I can promise you that. It’s always better to have company on these excursions, so I hope you’ll join me for the ride and dive in!

So… what gem have I found for you this week, you ask?

I’ve picked a little revenge-flick for you to feast your eyes on. It’s called Coffy (1973) and stars the very beautiful, and very shapely, Pam Grier. Some of you might remember her from “oldies” such as Foxy Brown (1974) and Scream Blacula Scream (1973). While some might recognize her from her more “recent” movies like Above the Law (1988) and Class of 1999 (1990).

Coffy and King George

Coffy and King George

And maybe a few of you never saw her before Quentin Tarantino gave her career a jump start with his movie Jackie Brown (1997). Needless to say, I’ll return to more of Ms. Grier’s movies in the future, that’s for sure.

This week, however, we’re talking about Coffy!

One of the taglines for this flick was: “They call her Coffy and she’ll cream you!” I love that tagline! It makes you want to watch it right now, doesn’t it?

Because Coffy kicks ass!

Not even ten minutes in and Coffy’s already blown one drug-dealer’s head off with a sawed-off shotgun and forced a small time pusher to O.D. on his own drugs. She does this to get revenge, because they got her 11-year-old sister addicted to heroin. She doesn’t stop with the street-level thugs though, but decides to take it all the way to the top.

There’s a new, big-shot player on the market by the name of Arturo Vitroni who wants a piece of the action too. Coffy sets her sights on him. He’s played by an actor named Allan Arbus from Crossroads (1986) and many episodes of the TV-show M*A*S*H, wherein he played Sidney the psychiatrist.

Don't bite your nails, man. Get a manicurist!

Don’t bite your nails, man. Get a manicurist!

In order to get to him, Coffy has to go through another dealer and pimp called King George. She uses all her charm and sex appeal to get close to him. And let’s face it, looking as good as Pam Grier does, she has no problems getting what she wants! There’s actually a fair amount of nudity in Coffy, courtesy of Ms. Grier, which I didn’t mind one bit. Of course, neither did the men in the movie!

King George is played by Robert DoQui, who played Sgt. Reed in all three Robocop movies. He’s disposed of in a brutal, messy fashion when he’s dragged behind a car driven by Omar, one of Vitroni’s henchmen, who’s played by an old genre favorite, Sid Haig.

Haig isn’t a name everyone recognizes, but take a look at just a few of his credits: Spider Baby (1968), Galaxy of Terror (1981), House of 1000 Corpses (2003) and Devil’s Rejects (2005). He also made many appearances in classic TV-shows like BatmanGunsmokeMission Impossible and Jason of Star Command.

Getting ready to blow off heads...

Getting ready to blow off heads…

Sid Haig and Pam Grier have worked in several movies together. Apart from Coffy, they both starred in The Big Doll House, Foxy Brown, The Big Bird Cage and Jackie Brown. I really liked Sid Haig in Coffy. He has a great screen presence. And his character, Omar, is a mean son of a bitch who would kill you without giving it a second thought. But, at times, he can also make you laugh.

One little side-story involves a police officer whom Coffy used to date. His name is Carter and he’s played by William Elliot, an actor I’ve never heard of. However, one title did stand out on his resume… Night of the Lepus (1972). It’s an obscure little horror-flick involving giant, killer bunnies! Yeah, I know what you’re thinking… “Giant killer bunnies? There’s NO way that can be a good movie?” Well, you’d be correct… it isn’t good, but it’s highly amusing and worth at least one viewing.

Coffy, baby... why're you pointing the shotgun at my groin?

Coffy, baby… why’re you pointing the shotgun at my groin?

Carter is an honest cop and doesn’t want to “go on the take”. Vitroni sends two men to Carter’s home to help “persuade” him and teach him a lesson. They end up beating the crap out of him with baseball bats. But since Coffy’s also there, they rough her up too. This, of course, further fuels her rage and she becomes more determined than ever to bring them down.

Coffy is a slow-paced movie. However, the slow pace makes the violence stand out more. And this is a violent movie, make no mistake about that! Slow-paced doesn’t mean boring, because this movie is NOT boring!

It has a good story, a good cast, a nice funky soundtrack and even a messy little chick-fight. Sure, the acting isn’t 100% all of the time. Even Pam Grier is a bit so-so once in a while, but it’s never so bad it puts you off or takes you out of the movie in any way.

So if you haven’t seen Coffy before, please do yourself a favor and watch it. You won’t regret it!

So, my friends… until next time, please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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