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Welcome Home Brother Charles (1975) - Blu-ray Review

Movie Review

4 beers

Let the beginning backdrop of this Blaxploitation classic be your warning. As the African statue turns to face us, we see what it is depicting: a black man with a very, very big and erect penis in his hands. Need you be anxious about the main “thrust” of this picture, yes, this is a movie where a massive penis becomes a murder weapon thanks to the racism on the Los Angeles police force.

Watch out for the man, indeed. Because in this picture, the only man I see has a dick that grows to 15-feet long and can knock you to the ground with one swift swing. And he lets whitey have it again and again and again. But first he renders the women powerless to turn away.

The legacy of the L.A. Rebellion is alive and well. And Vinegar Syndrome is all over it. Having previously released Penitentiary, the highest grossing independent film of 1979, and its sequel – both directed by Jamaa Fanaka – on blu-ray, they turn their attention to the one-two sucker punch of Fanaka’s Welcome Home, Brother Charles and Emma Mae which tackles culture shock and racism head-on. 

"Welcome Home, Brother Charles nails its message right directly to the wall. And all it took was a swift sling from the anaconda hiding in Carter’s pants"

 Both films were made when Fanaka was a UCLA film student, thanks to grants and loans. Both films are rough looking and yet they deal with some fairly heavy topics, thanks to willingness to GO THERE with statement of black emasculation at the hands of white men everywhere. Both are uncut and uncensored for the very first time. And both are badass. Melvin Van Peebles couldn’t do better than what Fanaka has put together here.

For the first part of the movie, Charles (Marlo Monte) gets busted on the streets of Los Angeles in broad daylight. The arresting officer, so completely pissed off by the whole ordeal, decides that he must end this guy’s family line by performing a backseat castration. One slice and Charles’ manhood is gone.

How ever will a fellow survive on these mean streets without a dick with which to guide him by? It turns out, thanks to righteous black-and-white montage while in prison, Charles gets a second chance at life with a penis when revenge becomes his middle name. Suddenly, he’s back on the street talking to the youth in his neighborhood, refusing to follow the drug life, and loving all the ladies with his lengthy lizard.

Except he wants revenge on those who put him in jail. It’s no whitey installment plan for this brother and, oh yes, there will be blood.

With a solid energy and a great sense of purpose, Welcome Home, Brother Charles nails its message right directly to the wall. And all it took was a swift sling from the anaconda hiding in Carter’s pants. Maybe the movie isn’t for everyone, but it does provide a serious tone when you constantly have to keep your eyes glued to the screen in order to see what satisfying member of a pissed off man might be snaking in and about the area.

It turns out the straight and narrow isn’t that straight at all. 



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Film Details

Welcome Home Brother Charles (1975) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 91 mins
Director: Jamaa Fanaka
Writer: Jamaa Fanaka
Cast: Marlo Monte, Reatha Grey, Stan Kamber
Genre: Action | Drama
Tagline: You done the man's time--now you gonna do ours!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Aw, man! Why you gotta put me though all this. You know the going rate is twenty and three."
Theatrical Distributor: Crown International Pictures
Official Site: Release Date: November, 1975
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: March 27, 2018
Synopsis: In Fanaka’s debut feature, WELCOME HOME BROTHER CHARLES, a young black man is sent to prison, after being brutalized by a corrupt racist cop. Upon release, he takes deadly revenge against the cops, lawyers, and thugs who got him busted, using a most unusual weapon… As much a parody of exploitation films as it is a proud piece of genre cinema, BROTHER CHARLES combines horror and blaxploitation tropes with stirring social subtext resulting in a drive-in movie unlike any other.



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Welcome Home Brother Charles (1975) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome
Available on Blu-ray - March 27, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A, B

Vinegar Syndrome presents Welcome Home, Brother Charles and Emma Mae on 1080p (with 1.85:1 aspect ratio) thanks to their newly restored 2k transfers. The transfer was compiled from the 35mm original camera negative. Shadows are strong and details are a bit clearer than before. This was a low budget flick and there are visual limitations noticeable due to the upgrade and the new HD polish. Black levels are good, shadows are murky, and colors – especially reds – are great. The sound is presented in a English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 which is adequate for this no-budget feature.




Special Features:

Jan-Christopher Horak (Director of the UCLA Film & Television Archives) gets things started with a 30-minute discussion of the history of blaxploitation film. It should not be missed as it is quite interesting. There’s a bonus feature, Emma Mae, and a Q&A session with the star of Emma Mae. Fans also get teaser trailers and a solid couple of trailers.

Jan-Christopher Horak Interview (31 min)

Bonus Feature: Emma Mae (90 min)

Q&A (20 min)

60-Second Teaser

30-Seconf Teaser

Theatrical Trailer



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Welcome Home Brother Charles (1975) - Blu-ray Review