Of Blacula

Blacula is 1972 horror movie starring William Marshall in the titular role. It was a top grossing movie the year it was released and was the first film to receive an award for Best Horror Film at the Saturn Awards. Its success inspired a wave of black-themed horror movies.

Blacula movie poster

The story revolves around Mamuwalde an African Prince who in 1780 travels to Transalvania to enlist Dracula to help end slavery and instead gets cursed by Dracula to become Blacula a vampire. Mamuwalde is trapped in a coffin to suffer endlessly while the love of his love is left to die next to his coffin. Fast forward to 1972 when people tinkering with what they shouldn’t, release Mamuwalde and he goes on feeding frenzy which leads him to someone who is a doppelganger or possible reincarnation of the love of his life…

The Good

50 years after its release, Blacula has aged well and still holds its on, better than some monster movies I have run into, for example, The Invitation which is based on Bram Stoker‘s Dracula and supposed to give an alternative storyline on how Dracula would have fared had he not been defeated by Van Helsing.

William Marshall delivered a stellar and chilling performance which when coupled with his rich bass voice oozing Shakespearean charm, made for a charismatically imposing vampire. It is unsurprising that this role got him lifetime recognition. Blacula was produced at the turn of the era in film when black people were no longer limited to subservient characters but held leading roles in productions.

William Marshall as Mamuwalde

Having recently watched Werewolf by night a modern horror which tries to pay homage to classic monster movies, I was fully appreciative of how Blacula in its prime was a masterpiece. Blacula at its core is not a horror movie but rather a love story and if Shakespeare taught us anything love stories are always tragic.

The Bad

Perhaps because I grew up in the CGI era where the graphics give you visuals that look so stunningly real, Blacula looks comical, the vampire teeth, the blood, the bite marks were unconvincing.

William Marshall as Blacula

It’s a very conflicting movie to watch as you try to reconcile whose side you should be on while its easy to see that Dracula was absolutely no good, Blacula is a hero turned into an unwilling villain and as it ends you will be asking yourself… and then ?

The Ugly

First of all what kind of name is Blacula? In the trailer of the movie they refer to Blacula as Dracula’s Soul Brother…. *Forgive me while I cringe* 💀

I also understand that the movie is a product of its time but it had a couple of takes that had me grinding my teeth.

Final Thoughts

I discovered this movie when Matt posted an article about his experience watching a fiftieth anniversary screening of Blacula for Halloween and I was moved to check it out, I am happy I did.

13 Comments

    1. This is a classic 👌 I think it was very scary back in the day but the stuff we have today makes this look like a comedy 🤣

      It was interesting to see how far we have come.
      In some circles it’s regarded as The Godfather of black horror movies and the first black vampires, it’s high key been an inspiration in the film industry apparently.

      ~B

      Like

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