It is not often that black power types make films, let alone highly experimental British avant-garde ones, so I was naturally quite surprised when I discovered the once ‘lost’ Afro-Anglo agitprop piece Death May Be Your Santa Claus (1969) directed by black Brit Frankie Dymon Jr., who has the distinction of being probably the only member of the British Black Panther Party. Among cinephiles, Dymon is probably best remembered, if remembered at all, for being one of the Black Panther militants that appeared in celluloid Marxist pseudo-messiah Jean-Luc Godard’s Rolling-Stones-doc-cum-Marxist-agitprop-experiment One Plus One (1968) aka Sympathy for the Devil. Assumed lost for a number of decades, a print of Dymon’s X-rated 36-minute micro-feature was rediscovered somewhat recently and since then has been routinely screened as part of the 'Black World' initiative by the British Film Institute (BFI). Additionally, the film was included as an extra feature on the BFI Flipside Blu-ray/DVD combo release of Michael Sarne’s Joanna (1968), which also deals with themes of black-male-on-white-female miscegenation in late-1960s London. A curious piece of celluloid negro nihilism of the pseudo-existentialist sort in an idiosyncratic quasi-Godardian style that director Dymon himself once labeled “Afro-Saxon” (which is certainly an apt, if not seemingly oxymoronic description), Death May Be Your Santa Claus would probably be best described as an Afrocentric artsploitation flick featuring ultra-violence, including cock-chomping cannibalism, and quasi-pornography that deals with the somewhat hypocritical dilemma that some black power brothas have regarding their love and obsession with white women. After all, you usually do not see even the most boneheaded of Uncle Adolf fetishizing neo-Nazi skinheads running after black or mestizo broads, yet it always seems that non-white racial nationalists, especially of the negroid sort, cannot get enough of honky whores. Indeed, it is not uncommon for certain black power and/or far-leftist types associated with groups like the Black Hebrew Israelites, Black Panthers (early leader Eldridge Cleaver was a serial rapist who considered his routine raping of white women to be a “an insurrectionary act”), and Symbionese Liberation Army (the leader of which, Donald DeFreeze, apparently routinely raped heiress Patty Hearst after kidnapping her) to lust over the white cave wench, thus inadvertently revealing their inferiority complex and pathological resentment towards the white man and obsession with defiling and appropriating the white man’s most sacred counterpart, the white woman. Conceived over a six month period and shot in a mere ten days, the project initially intimidated director Dymon, who later reflected that his execution of the film was quite easy, stating in Volume 1, Number 11 of the British sexploitation magazine Cinema X that it was, “easier than I thought. Films are, basically, just pictures. Nothing new to Africans. We tell all stories in pictures.” Featuring a score by the British proto-progressive rock group Second Hand (whose song ‘Death May Be Your Santa Claus’ the film is named after, with the band even releasing a full-length album of the same name in 1971), who appear in the film, and packed with tons of wonderfully politically incorrect imagery of the racially, sexually, and politically-charged sort, Death May Be Your Santa Claus will ultimately probably be better appreciated by libertine cinephiles and eccentric exploitation fans than modern day black power advocates who, like most contemporary viewers, will probably find the material to be somewhat inexplicable.
Opening with an iconoclastic title screen featuring a black dagger with a savage-looking negro head featuring a nose ring as a handle that has split through the flag of Great Britain, Death May Be Your Santa Claus then introduces protagonist Raymond Parker (ex-photographer/ex-model Ken Gajadhar), who is a college student, black power advocate, and Marxist lecturer of the exceedingly egocentric sort who lectures to a bunch of white students that, to the chagrin of white men and black women, the black man and white women desire each other most, and then makes the following nonsensical, convoluted statement, “The power that stands on privilege - and goes with women, pot, champagne and bridge - broke. And democracy regained her reign, which also goes with women, pot, and screwing. Therefore, if you want things to stay as they are, things will have to change - won't they? You see, the French Revolution, begun in 1789, did not end in 1830, but gained true victory in May 1968...” Probably due to the fact that he does not bother with his studies and spends more time agitating, Raymond is kicked out of the school by an old authoritarian WASP, who states, “Look… You know I have to do this” and complains about “bloody academics” when the belligerent black neo-bolshevik buck leaves his office. As Raymond narrates, juxtaposed with a scene of him walking away from the university in a decidedly defiant fashion, “In a convention, there must be two things. I, for one, must be the soul. They tell me that all things that have been done in the world must first come after evil has been done. My name is Raymond and that is the slave mark I must forever lose to be true to my own cause.” What he means is anyone’s guess, but it probably involves his dilemma regarding his embarrassing and seemingly paradoxical addiction to cracker chicks and his need to stay true to his pure jigaboo blood and spirit. Of course, as a black man that speaks more eloquently and literately than the average white Brit, was born and raised in a nation that colonized his ancestors, and worships a racist anti-black white man like Che Guevara, Ray suffers from a number of internal conflicts and is plagued by contradiction, as a man that seems to suffer from racial schizophrenia and attempts to compensate for it by espousing a sort of faith-based black liberationist theology.
Aside from his academic career being more or less over, Raymond has problems in the area of love and friendship, or as he narrates after waking up and reading a copy of the book Castro: A Political Biography (1969) by The New York Times comsymp writer Herbert L. Matthews regarding he and his white friend’s recent addiction to miscegenation: “Can a man realize the very dimensions of his life? Do I know what precise amount of horror is involved mine? Oh yes…it was at this point that my whole world crumpled from under my feet. I fell in love with a white girl and my best friend married a black woman.” From there a beauteous scene of Raymond’s friend and his black wife walking in a sunny London park erupts into a completely random bloody and ultra-violent castration scene of two longhaired white dorks and a seemingly half-retarded King Kong-esque negro, who was pushed into a pond only seconds before by his two heinous honky comrades (!), assaulting another longhaired white dork and ripping apart and cannibalizing his cock in a moment of savage sadomasochistic ecstasy that can be interpreted as an allegorical representation of miscegenation and multicultural ‘castrating’ and thus destroying the white race. Meanwhile, Raymond dreams of defiling his tall blondhaired and blue-eyed white beauty (white South African model Donnah Dolce) in between scenes of prog-rock band Second Hand performing in their underwear in an abandoned house along with sardonic surrealist scenes of two walking and talking caricatures, a stereotypically dressed Maoist Chinaman and the Catholic Pope. In one particularly hilarious scene, a swarthy commie rebel sporting a Che Guevara costume steals a mulatto baby from its homeless mother, who also has a white baby, and hands it to the Pope, as if it is the Catholic Church’s job to find the negroes whose nations had been plunged into starvation by Marxist rebels.
Unquestionably, one of the most potent scenes of Death May Be Your Santa Claus involves seemingly authentic footage of a black power revolutionary heckling a bunch of poor, dirty, and largely toothless white Brits by remarking that they are “not prepared to accept the fact that there are many stupid and ignorant whites all over the world.” Unwittingly demonstrating that virtually all communist theory and propaganda has been invented by far-leftist Jews who hate Europe and everything it represents and have no real interest in ‘liberating’ the colored people of the world but are instead using them as pawns in their war against the Occident, the black heckler also reads the following absurdist agitprop screed compiled from writings by Judaics that were kicked out of Germany to the angry white lumpenproles: “Bruno Springer tells of the African strain even in the Germans…Professor Einstein says all modern people are the conglomeration of so many ethnic mixtures that no pure race remains with exception of the negroid, who are rapidly declining…many of Europe’s most famous men, past and present, are of mixed marriages. Racial fusion tends to come before the development of any high state of culture. One cannot find any records anywhere to find that a pure race, on its own initiative, has ever developed a high culture with the exception of the negroid stock.” Meanwhile, the Chinaman continues to contemplate revolutionary theory while the Pope takes a priestly poop in the crapper.
In a twist ending, it is revealed that Raymond’s beloved is not a blonde Nordic nymph but a black as coal soul sister named Georgina (Jamaican-born model Merdelle Jordine). Indeed, all the sex scenes between Raymond and the Aryan beauty were just fantasies of the protagonist, who fell in love with the (non)white girl after merely talking to her on the phone and assuming by her voice that she was white. In the end, both the protagonist and the black, who are both wearing red, walk in the same direction, while the white girl, who is wearing blue, heads in the other direction, thus assumedly signifying that Raymond is finally headed in the right direction in his life, as he has finally decided to chase members of his own race. What auteur Frankie Dymon Jr.’s intention was with Death May Be Your Santa Claus is hard to say, but I do not think it would be a stretch to say that it is ultimately an anti-miscegenation piece directed by a conflicted negro who is ashamed of the fact that he prefers white devil dames to African queens. Unquestionably, Dymon's film is the kind of no bullshit work that gets under the rather thin skin of white liberals because, aside from featuring some white dork getting his dong devoured by a rapid negro Donkey Kong, it offers no sentimental messages of hope or racial reconciliation, but instead goes a much more nihilistic route that makes racial harmony seem like the silly and ultimately intangible pipe dream of idiotically idealistic whites and blacks who love miscegenation and think they somehow have the right to tell everyone else how to live just because they have a malignant case of jungle fever. In fact, Dymon went so far as to compare white woman to sensual spy Mata Hair in a scene where footage of the protagonist having sex with his white love interest is juxtaposed with a photo of the (in)famous Frisian femme fatale. While certainly original and intriguing, if not obscenely outmoded like a rotten overdosed hippie inside a broken down Volkswagen bus, Dymon’s film was nothing all that new as demonstrated by Sarne’s Joanna. Additionally, compared to Italian erotica maestro Tinto Brass’ pre-porn avant-garde feature nEROSubianco (1969) aka Attraction—a part collage/part agitprop piece about a white woman who swoons over a black buck after her cuckold Guido hubby drops her off at Hyde Park that premiered at the 1968 Cannes Film Festival (thus technically predating Dymon’s work)—almost makes Death May Be Your Santa Claus seem somewhat tame by comparison. Still, compared to Melvin Van Peebles’ undeniably entertaining yet exceedingly technically inept black power epic Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971), Dymon’s Afro-Saxon artsploitation short seems like a highly intricate and nuanced work of a seasoned master who had the potential to be the next Ousmane Sembène or a black and rampantly heterosexual Lindsay Anderson. Like Van Peebles’ Black Panther-approved film and the underrated black arthouse vampire flick Ganja & Hess (1973) directed by Bill Gunn, Death May Be Your Santa Claus is not some silly Blaxploitation movie directed by some monetary-motivated Hebrew, but an authentic work of Afro-cinema that makes a serious and wholehearted attempt to speak to and for blacks living in the white world. Why Dymon never directed another film is a mystery to me, especially considering the relative artistic bankruptcy of British cinema during the the late-1960s in comparison to other European nations like Germany and Italy. I don't know about other people, but I am fully supportive of Garveyites, schizophrenic Black Israelites, and black power bros of every stripe attempting to make avant-garde films full of pure unadulterated race-hate and blood mysticism.