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Go Down, Death!

USA 1944
produced by
Alfred N. Sack for Sack Attractions, Harlemwood Studios
directed by Spencer Williams
starring Myra D. Hemmings, Samuel H. James, Eddye L. Houston, Spencer Williams, Amos Droughan, Walter McMillion, Irene Campbell, Charlie Washington, Helen Butler, Dolly James
screenplay by Sam Elljay, based on the poem by James Weldon Johnson

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Big Jim Bottoms (Spencer Williams) runs a sleazy nightclub, and successfully so, until one day, the people of his town start to listen to the new reverend Jasper, and before long, the nightclub loses patrons - to the church. So Big Jim cooks up a scheme and sends three prostitutes to the reverend and has his men shoot an incriminating picture of the girls with the reverend (even if the background for this picture was totalyl innocent). The good reverend realizes he has been had and wants to give up and resign, but Caroline, the reverend's landlady, the aunt of his fiancée and the adoptive mother of Big Jim (this woman is an awful lot all at once) is not ready to give up that easily, so one day when Jim is out, she sneaks into his room and steals the incriminating picture ... but she is caught by Jim, the two fight, and eventually Jim accidently kills her.

Everyone pretty much knows that Jim has killed his adoptive mother, but Jim managed to make it look like an accident and gets away scott free ... or so he thinks, because at a service for Caroline, reverend Jasper calls upon Jim's conscience, and soon enough, Jim (thinks he) is haunted by the devil, goes virtually out of his mind overcome by guilt, and ends up stepping through the gates of hell.


A rather superficial and unsubtle morality play starring an all-black cast and made by a black crew on a shoestring, Go Down, Death ! for the most part has very little of interest to offer: The story is as thin as it is boring, and the direction doesn't really try to make anything out of it - but still the film is worth a look, even if it's only for the last 10 minutes or so, when Big Jim loses his touch with reality and is drawn into hell - a surreal montage made up from some stock footage (presumably) as well as shots of the gate of hell and the devil - complete with a live human in his mouth. Just too bad the rest of the film couldn't be as good as the finale ...


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD