FOUR major films impacted the Jamaican landscape throughout the 1990s. They were The Lunatic (1991), Kla$h (1995), Dancehall Queen (1997), and Third World Cop (1999).
The Lunatic was directed by Lol Crème and produced by Paul M Heller. It starred Paul Campbell and featured a Jamaican cast including Reggie Carter, Rosemary Murray, Lloyd Reckord, Linda Gambrill, Carl Bradshaw, Tony Hendriks and Michael London.
Kla$h starred American actress Jasmine Guy who rose to fame as Whitley Gilbert in the hit comedy series A Different World. American film and television actor Giancarlo Esposito was also among the cast, which also included Lucien Chen, Cedella Marley, Paul Campbell, Stafford Ashani, and entertainers Mad Cobra and Snow.
The film is based around a New York City photographer who goes on assignment in Jamaica and is lured by a gangster's girlfriend into a web of drugs, power and lust. The soundtrack had songs by some of the hottest dancehall acts of the day including Shabba Ranks, Snow, Bounty Killer, and Papa San.
According to Palace Amusement Company Limited, which exhibits and distributes films in Jamaica, Dancehall Queen was the most successful Jamaican film of the 1990s. It ran for 16 weeks.
The film was co-directed by Don Letts and Rick Elgood. It was co-produced by Chris Blackwell, Carolyn Pfeiffer and Carl Bradshaw.
Written by Suzanne Fenn, Ed Wallace and Letts, the film tells the story of Marcia, a single mother and streetside vendor who struggles to care for her two children.
She develops an alter ego, Mystery Lady, who dances in clubs at nights and eventually competes in a dance competition for a cash prize.
Paul Campbell, Cherine Anderson, Audrey Reid, Carl Davis, and Beenie Man were among the film's stars.
Beenie Man and Chevelle Franklin did the film's title track which spent 10 weeks at number one on Jamaican charts. It also entered Billboard magazine's R&B Singles chart.
The film's soundtrack, released by Island Jamaica, contained hits from Bounty Killer (featuring Sugar Minott), Black Uhuru, Frisco Kid, Wayne Wonder, Baby Cham, Grace Jones and Chaka Demus and Pliers.
Paul Campbell was also in Third World Cop, which had a 12-week run at the local box office. Audrey Reid, Carl Bradshaw, Mark Danvers, and Winston 'Bello' Bell completed the cast.
Entertainers Desmond 'Ninja Man' Ballentine, Boom Dandymite, Harry Toddler, Elephant Man, Hawkeye, Captain Barkey, Buccaneer, Junior 'Heavy D' Frazer, Nitty Kutchie, Angel Doolas, Amelia 'Milk' Sewell and musician Robbie Shakespeare also appear.
The film's soundtrack album featured songs from Beenie Man, Luciano, Tanto Metro, Mega Banton, Lady G, Innocent Kru, Red Dragon, the Ghetto Youths Crew, the Marley Brothers and Sly and Robbie.