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Forgotten: Blacula (1972)

"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!" - best line of dialogue ever committed to celluloid.

Blacula (1972)
Starring: William Marshall
Directed by: William Crain

Poor naive me. I never experienced blaxsploitation until recently. I don't know why, but just the name, "blaxsploitation" made me think it had racist overtones to it. Exploitation, and Blacks.

I didn't know that it was cinema made by and for (at the time) the urban audience. Of course that has changed and the films are now widely available on DVD and some have reached cult status.

Oh, man. Blacula is a good film.

Mamuwalde - an African Prince - is bitten by Dracula himself, turned and locked away to suffer an eternity of thirst. Awoken in the present day (read: 70s) Mamuwalde seeks a bride, tries to come to terms with this new fangled L.A. and generally vamps around.

Sure, this is a movie that has aged, and not very well. It looks and feels as old as it is. But that is also part of its charm.

As a horror film it falls short in the scare. The thing is, I don't think it was ever supposed to be scary. It is shy on gore, suspense and all things in the middle.

But shit, is it bonkers.

This film just works.

It is a retelling of the Dracula/Vampire mythos with a confused hero/anti-hero. Mamuwalde - Blacula - is a confused soul, fighting himself as much as the world he has found himself in. And that is why it works.

Don't get me wrong. It's bandy, big time, and with a couple of beers you can't help but watch and laugh, and enjoy. But the fantastic portrayal of a monster by the wonderful William Marshall is touching, whilst 'scary', and believable. Right down to the twist ending.

The thing is, Blacula can be taken in two ways. It is a horror movie, just a tame one, played more for story than scares, but also it can be seen as a light-hearted, almost parody of the Dracula mythos.

What more can I say?

If you like horror, comedy, a dash of daft, and a side of extra cheese, check it out. It's widely available on DVD. Mine even came with the sequel. Scream, Blacula, Scream.

See you in the lobby, film fans... 

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