Blacula (1972)
Directed by William Grain

Starring Charles Macaulay Vonetta McGee William Marshall

1972 was one of the best -- if not the best -- years for horror on film. One of the most memorable titles to come up was this, ultimate blaxploitation horror movie.

The film opens in 1815. An African prince, African Prince Mamuwalde, played by deep-voiced Shakespearean actor Marshall, takes his wife Luva (Vonetta McGee) visits Count Dracula (Charles Macaulay) with the hope of getting the vampire's help to combat the slave trade. He's bitten, officially given the name "Blacula" by the Count, and left in a coffin for 147 years.

"You shall pay, black prince!" Dracula tells him. "I shall place a curse of suffering on you that will doom you to a living hell! A hunger! A wild, gnawing, animal hunger will grow in you! A hunger for human blood! Here you will starve for an eternity torn by an unquenchable lust! I curse you with MY name! You shall be BLACULA!!!"

Cut to modern-day 1972. The coffin has been transported to Los Angeles following the ransacking of Dracula's castle. Two gay interior dealers become the first L.A. victims of the prince, you get the idea where the film is heading.

The Prince falls in love with a modern-day lookalike of his late wife, while police begin investigating an outbreak of vampirism in Los Angeles.

An entertaining 1970s schlocker, it features a cameo appearance by hitmakers the Hues Corporation. Not a classic by any stretch of the imagination but a fun ride. It spawned a sequel, "Scream Blacula Scream," starring the legendary Pam Grier.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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