Sunday, February 14, 2010
Blacula (1972, William Crain)
What would a Blaxploitation marathon be without Blacula? Inferior, that's what. The fact that I love Horror films and my blog reviews a good amount of them made Blacula a no-brainer. Though I had never seen it before, I had heard of Blacula many times in the past. The first time I remember hearing about it was in Junior High School. A couple of my friends used to rent the worst movies they could find and many Blax films (particularly the ones with the most ridiculous titles) frequently popped up. I remember The Avenging Disco Godfather being one and Blacula was one of the other most memorable. The most ironic thing about Blacula though...well I'll get to that later.
Blacula tells the story of Mamuwalde (William Marshall), an African prince who pissed off Dracula (who happened to be a racist) a few hundred years ago and, as punishment, is turned into a vampire named Blacula and is trapped in a casket. Flash forward to the present when two gay art collectors buy an estate which includes the casket. After it is opened, out pops Blacula who turns them into vampire servants. Soon, Blacula is on the prowl and finds Tina (Vonetta McGee), the reincarnation of his love from the past, Luva. Blacula hypnotizes her and it is up to her friend Gordon (Thalmus Rasulala) to save her.
As I was saying, the ironic thing about Blacula is that it's a straight up horror film. The only real silliness is its name and how dated it is. It's really nothing more than a vampire story taking place in the present time (well present for when it was released). I half expected the film to be an over the top spoof (see Love at First Bite) but it is actually a solid vampire film. The story is interesting, the characters have more to them than expected and probably the biggest surprise for me, it's kind of scary. The vampire slaves have a terrifying look to them and seem to pop out when you least expect. William Marshall proves to be one of the most charismatic Draculas to grace the silver screen and pulls off the role with much success. His voice is what really does it, sounding oddly enough, just like Christopher Lee. Also of note is Vonetta McGee, who was in one of my favorite movies of all time (The Great Silence), a beautiful and fitting partner for Blacula.