We have another real treat for you. From the film vault of Svengoolie comes this unique take on the Dracula franchise.
It’s Part One of the review of Blacula!
This interesting movie is part of what was/is called the blaxploitation genre. Unlike most films of the genre, this one features a vampire. I can only assume that William Marshall (who plays Prince.Mamuwakie/Blacula) must’ve been
desperate for work anxious to do a movie. I remember him from when he appeared on Star Trek as Dr. Richard Daystrom, the inventor of the Star Trek equivalent of the Intel processor. Don’t ask me what it was called. M-something-or-other. M5, M6, I don’t know. It’s been a while, okay?
Dr. Daystrom the prince takes a trip to Transylvania of all places to seek Count Dracula’s help in ending the slave trade. Why he expected to get assistance from that quarter, I’m not quite sure. What he does get is definitely not what he hoped for. A new set of fangs and eternal existence as a non-dead person. In short, he becomes a vampire, courtesy of a bite on the neck from the count, who pronounces him Blacula. Dracula does all this while forcing the prince’s wife. Luva, to watch. Then he leaves her to die with her non-dead hubby.
We flash forward a few centuries to 1972, when a mysterious container is shipped to the United States—the city of Los Angeles, in particular. It is, of course, the coffin that contains Blacula. A real find for a couple of collectors, who happen to be
flaming gay. They snap up that coffin and take it to a warehouse. I’m not sure what they intend to do with it, as they never get a chance to follow through on whatever plan they had for it. One of them removes the lid. Can you guess what happens next? And, yes, it does involve an undead prince sinking his fangs into some gay man’s someone else’s neck. Which, of course, leads to yet another gay man being indoctrinated into the cult of vampirism.
One of the undead bodies is placed on display at a funeral home, where many of his friends come to pay their respects. I’m not at all sure what an undead person is doing at a funeral home, but whatever, right? I would have thought you’d have to be stone cold dead to enjoy the pleasures of a coffin at a funeral home. But what do I know? Not much about vampires or funeral homes, eh?
One of the undead (or maybe slightly dead) guy’s friends, Tina, bears a striking resemblance to Luva, the dead wife of Prince Blacula. It helps just a little that they’re played by the same actress, Vanetta McGee. In any case, once Blacula observes her among the gathered friends, he reaches the conclusion that she is the reincarnation of his long dead wife/princess/queen. He becomes quite obsessed with her, as a result.
Complications result however, when Tina’s sister, Michelle has a boyfriend named Dr. Gordon Thomas who works as a pathologist for the Los Angeles Police Department. Dr. Thomas observes a few “oddities” with the man’s “death” that are consistent with vampire lore. I would tell you what those are, except that
my husband fast-forwarded through most of the movie I got distracted by a piece of lint failed to pay strict attention to the details.
So, Blacula follows Tina, which freaks her out, and she runs away from him. This causes Blacula to cross the street without looking both ways, and he ends up getting hit by a cab. This could be an homage to An Affair to Remember, except Blacula doesn’t end up in a wheelchair. He does, however, take out his frustration on an innocent cabbie, who ends up joining him in Undead Land.
Nonetheless, in what could be an homage to Cinderella, Blacula retrieves the purse Tina dropped whilst running from him and shows up during Michelle’s birthday party at a nightclub to return it to her. Then, Dr. Thomas gets a phone call from the funeral director, who tells him McCoy’s body is missing. I believe McCoy was one of Blacula’s victims, which hardly kept me from making Star Trek-related commentary throughout the
fast-forwarded flick movie.
Luckily for him, Blacula does his level best to impress Tina enough to persuade her to see him again. However, they are interrupted by a photographer named Nancy, who takes their picture. This will lead to problems for Nancy later on, mainly because the photo of them will develop into an image of Tina only (i.e., Blacula isn’t in the picture). Uh-oh. Look out Nancy, because Blacula will hunt you down, pierce your neck, and destroy the damning the photo. And, yes, he does just that.
Then Blacula goes to Tina’s apartment and gives her the full rundown on her presumed past life as his significant other, as well as the whole vampire business. He explains the vampire curse so nicely, they end up spending the night together.
That’s it for now. More to come! 🙂