There are very few Black horror movies that still have relevance in today’s pop culture, including the ’70’s cult classic Blacula and the 90’s film, Tales From The Hood. In 1974, the film Abby became a bit of a hit before it was taken out of theaters for being an essential copy of the 1973 horror hit, The Exorcist.
Written and directed by late white Blaxploitation filmmaker William Girdler, Abby stars Carol Speed in the lead role of the possessed woman. Blacula lead William Marshall also stars in the film as the priest tasked to cast the West African deity of mischief, Eshu, out of Abby.
While much of the plot is centered around Abby having senseless romps with strange men in Louisville, the film’s climax ends inside a dive bar where the exorcist battles with Eshu to finally liberate Abby.
The film wasn’t the only one to copy The Exorcist’s plot but Warner Bros. went after the independent film and successfully sued for copyright violation. The film was eventually booted from theaters but not before snagging a respectable $4 million in box office receipts despite being made for a reported $100,000. (You can still find it online.)
Abby has seen a resurgence of late by film fans who study the Blaxploitation Era and those who enjoy good, if unintentional, camp.
Speed has only appeared in two other movies since her turn in Abby, and became an author as well. One of her books, Inside Black Hollywood, was released in 1980.