Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Blacula (1971)

In the year 1790, African Prince Mamuwalde (William Marshall) and his wife Luva (Vonetta McGee) visit the country of Transylvania and its most popular resident, Count Dracula (Charles Macaulay) in an effort to get help to end the slave trade. It is soon revealed that ol' Dracula himself is a racist. When Mamuwalde and Luva attempt to leave the castle, they are swiftly held captive by Dracula's vampire minions. Count Dracula bites Mamuwalde turning him into a vampire and curses him with the name "Blacula". After locking Mamuwalde into a metal coffin, Dracula lets Luva know that her fate is sealed as well, and the two are placed inside a hidden dungeon room, never to be seen again.
In the 1970s, two gay interior decorators visit Count Dracula's castle looking for items they can put in their home. They decide that the eerie old coffin, which was found in the discovered secret room, is exactly what they're looking for. They then have it shipped back to Los Angeles. While in their company warehouse, they unlock the ancient coffin. One of the men accidentally cuts himself and like clockwork, our fiend Blacula rises from his tomb and seeks out the red stuff he craves so powerfully. After menacingly attacking the two men and killing both, Blacula begins stalking the streets of LA looking for new victims to drain. A local doctor who works with the deceased, Gordon Thomas (Thalmus Rasulala) begins investigating the deaths of the two decorators after it is revealed they both have massive blood loss.
Meanwhile, Blacula comes across a young woman named Tina (McGee) who he believes to be the reincarnation of his late wife Luva. Blacula follows Tina to a local club where he introduces himself to she and her friends as the African visitor Mamuwalde (NOTE: Its fun to notice that Blacula's clothing (cape etc) fits in perfectly with the pimp style outfits that were so popular at the time). Mamuwalde soon brings Tina into his vampiric clutches and she begins to fall in love with him, but she also doesn't know that while he is a deeply charming and warm man, he has been sporadically sucking the blood of everyone he can sink his pointy teeth into. The bodies drop and turn and soon Blacula's legion of vampires are attacking people left and right. Its up to Doc Thomas and the police to stop the Black Vampire Prince and restore harmony to the urban streets!
When Blacula was released it was a box office success and was immediately followed by a sequel Scream Blacula Scream co-starring Pam Grier. The popularity of the film also inspired the making of several other blaxploitation/horror titles in the mid-seventies, including Abby, Blackenstein, Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde, The Beast Must Die, Ganja & Hess, The House on Skull Mountain, J.D.'s Revenge and Sugar Hill. Rumors also circulated that Brides of Blacula and Son of Blacula were to have been made as well.
As a low budget film, Blacula is very entertaining and is a prime example of exploitation filmmaking at its best. William Crain's sharp direction, along with the funky music score by Gene Page, and of course the late William Marshall's memorable lead performance make this film a classic of the 70s Blaxploitation genre. Highly recommended! --Pete R. 18:47, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Taglines

  • Rising From the Echoing Corridors of Hell, An Awesome Being of the Supernatural - With Satanic Power of Sheer Dread. Chained Forever to a Slavery More Vile Than Any Before Endured...
  • He's black! he's beautiful! he's Blacula!
  • Warm, young bodies will feed his hunger, and hot, fresh blood his awful thirst!
  • His bite was outta sight!
  • Bloodsucker! - Deadlier than Dracula!

Main Details

  • Released in 1972
  • Color
  • Running Time: 93 Min.
  • Production Co: American International Pictures (AIP) | Power Productions
  • Distribution Co: American International Pictures (AIP) (1972) (USA) (theatrical) | Columbia-Warner Distributors (1973) (UK) (theatrical) | Warner Bros. (1973) (Japan) (theatrical)

Cast and Crew

  • Directed by William Crain
  • Written by Raymond Koenig, Joan Torres
  • Starring: William Marshall, Vonetta McGee, Denise Nicholas, Thalmus Rasulala
  • Produced by Samuel Z. Arkoff, Norman T. Herman, Joseph T. Naar
  • Original Music by Gene Page
  • Cinematography by John M. Stephens
  • Film Editing by Allan Jacobs

Synopsis

Blacula is a 1972 blaxploitation horror film produced for American International Pictures. It was directed by William Crain and stars William Marshall in the title role. Blacula was the first film to win the "Best Horror Film" award at the 1972 Saturn Awards. A sequel, Scream Blacula Scream was released in 1973, in which Marshall reprised his role.

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