is a 1972 horror film, produced by American International Pictures, featuring the blaxploitation
version of the Dracula
character. It stars William Marshall (who some may recognize as The King of Cartoons from the later Saturday-morning television series Pee-Wee's Playhouse
) in the title role. The movie was successful enough to spawn a sequel, Scream Blacula Scream
, which starred both Marshall and Pam Grier
, and later brought about a number of imitators
, including Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde
, which like Blacula
itself was directed by William Crain.
In 1780, African Prince Manuwalde and his lovely wife Tuva visit Transylvanian Count Dracula, to dine and discuss a proposition put forth by Manuwalde: end the slave trade out of Africa. Dracula finds this ridiculous, given the "merit" he feels is inherent in slavery. He then makes a pass at Tuva. This leads into a fight between Manuwalde and Dracula's mooks
, and both are captured. Dracula turns Manuwalde into a vampire, names him "Blacula", and seals him in a coffin, leaving poor Tuva to trapped with the coffin in a chamber in the dungeon below the castle.
Years later, Blacula's coffin ends up in the basement of a large California home. Two men purchase the house, discover the coffin, and decide to open it—only to end up attacked and killed by the freshly released and seriously hungry vampire. Blacula roams the Los Angeles streets at night, a suave and good looking black gentleman who happens to suddenly grow a pair of wild sideburns when his hunger rises, and the body count increases around the neighborhood. This draws Dr. Gordon Thomas, a forensics expert with the LAPD, to the case. Meanwhile, Blacula has discovered a young woman, Tina, who looks exactly like his long-deceased wife.
This film provides examples of:
- Animated Credits Opening: It, like the rest of the 70's, is funky as hell!
- Camp Gay: The two men who purchase the large house where Blacula's coffin ends up are very flamboyant. Well, it is California.
- Driven to Suicide: Blacula drags himself out into the daylight after Tina is shot and thus lost to him forever.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Canadian actor Gordon Pinsent, best known as the voice of Babar and 90% of everyone on CBC, plays Lt. Peters.
- Jive Turkey: Blacula himself speaks in a very refined manner, but several other characters are very much a product of their time and place.
- Man on Fire
- Our Vampires Are Different: Everyone Blacula kills comes back as a vampire themselves. Sometimes they take long enough to come back for them to be buried, sometimes they come back almost immediately. They are vulnerable to crosses, to the point where one vampire is apparently killed by one. Blacula himself gains both fangs and a wild set of sideburns whenever he gets hungry and attacks.
- Further, vampires cannot be photographed, and Blacula can turn into a bat.
- The vampires also seem to gain wild features when they turn to the point they almost look like zombies. The sequels play this up a bit as two turned characters, Willis and his girlfriend Denny, are shown looking like normal humans when not showcasing their fangs.
- Red Shirt: Most of the uniformed cops in the movie's climax.
- Reincarnation Romance: Manuwalde's wife, Tuva, is apparently reincarnated as Tina, whom he pursues relentlessly.
- Salt and Pepper: Gordon Thomas and Lt. Peters.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Blacula, trapped for over two centuries in a sealed coffin, until the two Camp Gay men unleash him.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness - Blacula wishes for you to understand that he does not wish to engage in an exchange of psuedointellectual banalities with a dignitary of a stature of that such as yourself.
- Sequel: Scream Blacula Scream (1973) has the vampire revived by Voodoo cultists.
- Sideburns Of Evil: Blacula. When he vamps out, it's like his face grows fangs, too.
- Suicide By Sunlight: Blacula ends his un-life this way, once he decides there's nothing to keep him in the world anymore.
- Tragic Monster: Blacula himself, turned into vampire by Dracula and forced to give into his vampiric urges. He actually seems like a decent person most of the time. The sequel goes a little further with him trying to get Lisa to undo the vampirisim on him via a voodoo ritual.
- Values Dissonance - In-movie example: Blacula himself is turned into a vampire by Dracula for suggesting that all of the slave trade in Africa be ended. Dracula does not agree, finding the very notion laughable. Then again, this is Dracula who, as he shows with his undead harem of girls at the beginning of the flick, makes a habit of turning people into his unwilling slaves.
- Vampire Hunter: Dr. Gordon Thomas.
- Waking Up At The Morgue: One of Blacula's unfortunate victims rises from death after her body is removed from the freezer and defrosts.
- Wicked Cultured: Blacula, even moreso than Dracula.