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Interior decorators buy the coffin of an African prince bitten by Dracula centuries before and bring it back to Los Angeles. The African prince starts feeding his hunger while following a woman who looks like his departed wife. Written by
At the time of Blacula's release, studios such as American International and Hammer were pumping out cheap horror flicks for an ever-thirsting legion of young fans (myself included). At the same time, blaxploitation films were also making big bank . . . so why not combine the two genres? It was pure marketing genius, backed by some of the biggest box office of 1972. The great Shakespearean actor William Marshall (Dr. Daystrom to you original Star Trek fans) plays the tormented African prince magnificently; asleep for 200 years, he awakes to find an African-American culture riddled with blaxploitation cliches. It's bad enough such a dignified man has the hunger -- he also has to deal with these people in giant heels and 'fros. The juxtaposition works as a statement about what slavery did to African culture, but is never overtly mentioned. . .after all, this is a horror flick too! Extra points for a musical appearance by The Hughes Corporation (before their big hit, "Rock the Boat") and a fine supporting performance by Denise Nicholas, a wonderful actress who should have had a bigger career. More silly than scary, Blacula endures as a unique film and pop-culture time capsule worth seeing.
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