“You know, he is a strange dude!”
After a fatal encounter with Count Dracula (Charles Macaulay), an African prince (William Marshall) is sealed in a coffin as the vampire “Blacula” and doesn’t emerge until centuries later, when two interior designers (Ted Harris and Rick Metzler) unintentionally bring him to L.A. Upon being freed from his coffin, Blacula begins a vampiric killing spree, then quickly finds his reincarnated wife (Vonetta McGee) and attempts to regain her love — but a police officer (Thalmus Rasulala) and his girlfriend (Denise Nicholas) are determined to find and capture Blacula before he’s caused too much mayhem.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- African Americans
- Elisha Cook, Jr. Films
- Horror Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this “hip, fast-moving, erotic, clever, well acted” blaxploitation horror film “shouldn’t be dismissed so easily,” noting that “deep-voiced, tall, handsome, and intelligent William Marshall, a solid actor, is as sympathetic and aristocratic a vampire as there has been in movies.”
He points out that Blacula is a “vampire [who] can fall in love and can make love (how happy he is — you’ve never seen a vampire smile so broadly and sincerely — when McGee hugs him and asks him to spend the night).” Indeed, everything about this film works well — starting with the clever opening premise in which we learn that Marshall effectively gives up his life while attempting to end slavery, thus making it incredibly easy to sympathize with him from then on. We don’t blame McGee in the slightest for falling for Marshall, and their romance is surprisingly touching.
Action scenes and make-up are handled well, with some effectively spooky moments — including all the vampires Blacula has already managed to infect descending upon their new prey:
… and a former taxi-driver-turned-vampire (Ketty Lester) running after nebbishy Elisha Cook, Jr. (who doesn’t stand a chance).
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- William Marshall as Blacula
- Fine supporting performances
- Atmospheric sets, cinematography, and make-up
- Creative opening credits
- An awesome funky score
Yes, as an enjoyable cult classic.
- Cult Movie
- Historically Relevant