While the standard cinematic mystical darkie is a benevolent being who uses his or her powers to aid a Caucasian in need (CIN) — see The Legend of Bagger Vance, The Family Man, The Green Mile, The Stand, The Shining, etc. — The Offspring paints quite a different picture. This overlooked anthology, which should be subtitled Mystical Darkies Strike Back, shows the “dark” side of the MDs, who are not to be screwed with. CINs, take heed.
The four tales in The Offspring are tied together by their setting, the cursed town of Oldfield, Tennessee. In the second story, Harry Caesar plays swamp-dwelling old-timer Felder Evans, who, in typical MD fashion, saves the life of poor white trash Jesse Hardwicke (Terry Kiser, or Bernie of Weekend at Bernie’s fame). He finds Jesse shot (deservedly so) and floating in the river and takes him to his shack to recuperate. Once he wakes, Jesse discovers that Felder knows some hocus-pocus voodoo-hoodoo mumbo-jumbo that’s the key to eternal life. Being an inbred hillbilly, he fails to absorb the concept of immortality and thinks that he can kill the 200-year-old man and steal his secret. Oops. Felder proceeds to whup the good ol’ boy right good.
The third tale features Rosalind Cash as yet another voodoo-ish mystic, known as “the snake woman,” but this time she’s the unsympathetic villain, ruling a carnival of freaks with an iron fist. Her M.O. is to take in people on the run from the law and give them a place to hide, but for a price: she gives them a freakish power (the ability to eat glass, for instance, or the stamina to watch an Adam Sandler movie) and forces them to perform in her show. If anyone tries to leave, she, uh, well…just don’t try to leave. Twisted and gory to the last drop, The Offspring will make you think twice about asking a black person to help you out of a jam.