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Blacula

By Sean Axmaker

William Marshall, a Shakespearean actor with a rich baritone voice, enriches this otherwise bland blaxploitation vampire film with his strong, seductive performance. He's Manuwalde, a European-educated 18th-century African prince who appeals to the Count Dracula for help in ending the slave trade. Dracula, never known as a great emancipator, puts the bite on Manuwalde's troubles, dubs him "Blacula" (the only time the name is uttered in the film), and imprisons him in a casket. Stirred to life, so to speak, centuries later in Los Angeles by gay antique hunters, he steps into the soulful Super70s and splits his energies between feeding his bloodlust and wooing a young beauty (Vonetta McGee), a dead ringer for his long-dead wife. Thalmus Rasulala (Friday Foster) is a modern medical professor turned urban Van Helsing, and Elisha Cook Jr. has a bit part as a coroner with a hook for a hand. The potential for a clever urban black twist on the European vampire myth is lost in this dull, thoroughly conventional tale. Marshall is under enough sloppily applied facial hair to make him a wolfman, and his victims walk around with a plastic blue pallor. But despite the limitations, Marshall creates a magnetic, aristocratic character and infuses his monster with a sense of loss and sadness in the climax. It was followed by a sequel, Scream, Blacula, Scream, and inspired Blackenstein. For a more interesting and thoughtful African American take on the vampire legend, look to Ganja and Hess.

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Your Memories Shared!

"I love this Movie !!

I first saw Blacula , on the 11:30pm late movie, on TV. I really liked the black take on the classic vampire story. William Marshall's voice was incredible. It commanded your full attention. Along side some of the vampire's best actors (Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, Jonathan Frid & Frank Langella) Marshall can stand tall."

--Michael C.

 

FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this soundtrack from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Rated PGNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: William Crain

Stars: William Marshall, Denise Nicholas

Released: August 25, 1972

Availability: DVD VHS CD


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