A Forgotten Catalysis: Son of Ingagi
by James Goodridge
In 1940, a B-grade science fiction/ horror movie of high mellow drama flavor titled Son of Ingagi (ten years earlier Ingagi a B-movie staring Bela Lugosi a jungle horror movie seems to have been a vague influence) ran in black inner city neighborhood theaters and in segregated movie houses in the United States. At the time a movie produced by SACK’s attractions to occupy matinee theater goers time, Son of Ingagi faded from cinema memory soon after. But the recent emergence over the last ten years of the Afro-futurism movement which broadly has connected all black speculative mediums as a whole has brought the movie back into light.
Connecting the legacy dots, Son of Ingagi has the late honor of being the first black horror/scifi movie with an all black cast no less. Ingagi was directed by Richard C. Khan from a screen play by Spencer Williams who would go on–depending on your opinion–to later fame on the Amos n’ Andy television show. The cast : Zack Williams as N’Gina aka the monster (an actor of mystery in that no record or bio can be found of him), Laura Brown as Dr. Jackson, Alfred Grant as Rober Lindsay, and Daisy Bufford as Eleanor Lindsay. Spencer Williams does double as Detective Nelson. A break from the 1940’s mellow dramatic music soundtrack is provided by the Toppers.
Having returned from Africa, Dr. Jackson has come home with secrets: a missing link creature she commands with the strike of a mallet on a gong named N’Gina and two sacks of gold. Tirelessly working on a mysterious chemical that will be a boon to mankind (we never get to know what the boon is) unfortunately, Dr. Jackson doesn’t get a chance to share her life’s work due to N’Gina’s developing a taste for blood mixed with the mysterious chemical, he murders the stern doctor in her basement lab which starts mayhem in the house. You really have to love Khan’s editing use of a bottle of ink signifying the spilling of blood I won’t spoil it for the reader of this who may want to search for the movie online, so I’ll only go on to write that mellow dramatic sub plots involving lost love, an inheritance, and a visit from Dr. Jackson’s no good brother add to the suspense.
What I found just as interesting was the back story behind Miss Laura Bowman (Dr.Jackson) seems she had a successful career as a performer in vaudeville and the chitin’ circuit (black vaudeville) with her common law husband Mr. Pete Hampton around the turn of the 20th century. Son of Ingagi wasn’t a great movie, but I (being a B-grade horror/scifi grind house fan) give it the Ed Wood award for passion and effort. Like W.E.B Du Bois’s science fiction short story The Comet (1925), Son of Ingagi is an important part of the black speculative time line.
Watch the movie now!
Born and raised in the Bronx , New York James is new to writing speculative fiction. After ten years as an artist representative and paralegal James decided in 2013 to make a better commitment to writing. Currently writing a series of short twilight zone inspired stories from the world of art, (The Artwork) and a diesel/punkfunk saga (Madison Cavendish/Seneca Sue Mystic Detectives) with the goal of producing compelling stories.