28 for 28: 28 Days of Blaxploitation Legends – Day 22, Carol Speed

Carol Speed was one of the premier ladies of the blaxploitation era, appearing in seven movies in just two years. Unfortunately, like many other leading women of the genre, she was typically cast as the male lead’s love interest, but occasionally she got to be tough too.

Her most successful film, depending on your point of view, is probably The Mack, as she had a big role in the film, and it is universally considered a classic. Abby, however, gives The Mack a run for its money.

Speed played a woman possessed by a demon who is in desperate need of an exorcism. The film was off to a great start at the box office until attorneys from The Exorcist got involved.

Pam Grier and Tamara Dobson get all of the attention from the perverts looking back and judging attractiveness, btu Carol Speed is every bit as good looking as those two. She just never had the opportunity to be a true lead in a film or an  on-screen badass like those two did.

We’ll take more Speed please.

Why We Love and Respect Her: Working with Rudy Ray Moore in Disco Godfather and trying to actually act in scenes with him. We’re not sure if anyone else has ever done that before, or since.

Best Known For: Being Goldie’s bottom bitch in The Mack.

CarolSpeedBeachPic

Blaxploitation Role Call:

The Mack (1973) as Lulu: Lulu is Goldie’s bottom bitch who also happens to be a childhood friend. Goldie encounters Lulu shortly after the Blind Man convinces him that pimping is the way of life he should pursue. Lulu is a prostitute without a pimp, but sides with Goldie immediately after learning he was in the game.

Savage! (1973) as Amanda: Amanda is a high wire act performer who gets involved with a black militant trying to lead a revolution. She helps lead an all-women army against The Man.

Dynamite Brothers (1974) as Sarah: In this Al Adamson classic, Sarah is Stud Brown’s girl, and he’ll do anything to protect her. In the meantime Stud Brown has teamed up with Larry Chin to battle local pimps and drug dealers who are making life in the city unbearable. Oh yeah, Sarah is a deaf mute.

Black Samson (1974) as Leslie: Lesile is the girlfriend of nightclub owner Samson, and Samson’s competition, especially from the underworld, are out to bring Samson down, and they aren’t afraid to go through Leslie to get to him. Leslie sports one of the best afros in blaxoploitation history in this one. You get a good look at it around 90 seconds into the trailer.

Abby (1974) as Abby: Abby is one the most controversial films of the blaxploitation era. Sure, there were movies that were a lot more outrageous, but this one was actually yanked from theaters after the people behind The Exorcist unleashed their legal team on it for copyright violation. Abby is a marriage counselor who gets possessed by an African sex spirit, and Blacula, William Marshall, is one of the guys who has to exorcise that spirit.

Disco Godfather (1979) as Noel: Noel is a community activist who helps the Disco Godfather, Rudy Ray Moore, spread the word about the dangers of PCP. The drug has been growing in popularity in the community, and the kids are falling victim to it. The Disco Godfather can’t stand to see kids fall into the clutches of drug addiction, and neither can Noel.

Bio Links:

Neat Interview with Carol Speed by the people at WilliamGirdler.com, where she talks about meeting the filmmaker and her experiences making Abby.

CarolSpeedBlackSamson

Carol Speed in Black Samson.

Carol Speed IMDB

Carol Speed WIki

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