Blacula (1972)

Blacula (1972)

“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
  • Vampires

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

Must See?
Yes, as an enjoyable cult classic.


  • Cult Movie
  • Historically Relevant


2 thoughts on “Blacula (1972)

  1. ⭐️⭐️1/2 out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Uneven but entertaining blaxploitation vampire epic. Marshall is fabulous in the lead but it’s not as good as the sequel Scream Blacula, Scream (1973).

    As one of the most high profile Blaxploitation films it’s a must see for the FFs though.

  2. First viewing. Not must-see.

    Not as much fun as I’d (at least) hoped. I kept waiting for evidence of the adjectives Peary uses (“hip, fast-moving, erotic, clever, well acted”); they don’t really apply (though they do, for example, apply to ‘The Hunger’).

    Generally speaking, genre fans will find the territory here familiar. It’s not a particularly terrible or boring variation but there are no real surprises – aside from McGee and (the admittedly classy, if not-all-that “sympathetic”) Marshall being allowed a genuine love interest.

    Bizarre remark by a policeman, re: “fags”: “They all look alike.” (?!)

    Fave moment: the slo-mo attack on Cook, Jr. (bless his long-career heart).

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