a/k/a The Love Wanga
a/k/a Crime of Voodoo
a/k/a Drums of the Jungle
Year of Release: 1936
Runtime: 56 mins.
Director: George Terwilliger
Fredi Washington (Klili/Clelie Gordon), Philip Brandon (Adam Maynard), Marie Paxton (Eve Langley), Sheldon Leonard (LeStrange), Winifred Harris (Aunt Sarah), Sid Easton (Jackson), Babe Joyce (Susie), George Spink (Johnson).
The story centers around a light skinned Black woman, Klili (also known as Clelie on posters) who is a voodoo practitioner. She possesses a medallion called a “love wanga” that if lost will result in hardship and even death. Klili is in love with Adam Maynard, a White man she “kept company” with while they lived on the same plantation a few years back.
Adam brings Eve Langley, a woman he met on a trip to New York and is intent on marrying, to Haiti. Klili throws herself at Adam, insisting she’s White and that her skin color won’t impede their happiness, but he rejects her.
The Black plantation overseer, LeStrange (played by white actor Sheldon Leonard) is in love with Klili but she only wants Adam. With the help of a voodoo leader, Klili visits a graveyard and resurrects two zombies to abduct Eve and offer her up for sacrifice. As Klili and her followers prepare Eve for the ceremony, LeStrange tries to stop her, but she shoots him. Though Injured, LeStrange steals Klili’s love ouanga and sets it on fire. Klili runs off into the jungle, where he follows her and strangles her to death.
Although originally scheduled to film in Haiti, production on Ouanga had to move to Jamaica when locals expressed hostility at the idea of having voodoo exploited for cheap thrills.
Some sources cite that the movie was completed in 1935 or 1936, but wasn’t released in the United States until 1941 and was billed as adult only entertainment under the title The Love Wanga possibly because the film’s themes of miscegenation and the occult were impossible to pass under the Production Code prior to that time.
Remade as The Devil’s Daughter in 1939.
Source(s): DAARAC.org; Black Horror Movies; I See A Dark Theater, World Cat.