Blacula (1972)

   
Directed by: William Crain

Written by: Joan Torres & Raymond Koenig

Starring:

.... Blacula / Mamuwalde
.... Tina / Luva
.... Michelle
.... Dr. Gordon Thomas
.... Lt. Jack Peters
Elisha Cook Jr. .... Sam
.... Skillet

Release Date: Theatrical: August 25, 1972

Rating:

 

Count Dracula (Charles Macaulay) turns an ancient african prince Mamuwalde (William Marshall) into a vampire calling him Blacula in which he keeps him and his wife Luva (Vonetta McGee) in a crypt till modern day when he is awakened and wrecks havoc in Los Angeles as well as thinking that he found his wife whom doesn't remember who he is nor recalls being immortal herself.

 

The beginning seems to look appropriate when Mamuwalde and Luva are dining with Dracula in his castle and having a conversation which gives you the feeling that this vampire will do something deadly later and does just that along with Mamuwalde struggling against Draculas goons which lacked inspiration a bit but I can understand that this flick is quite dated and then the creatures of the night come out as well to attack which the make up effects looked a bit dated too as well as low budget like. However I've seen worst in films for today's standards. But a moment that drew my attention is when Dracula bites Mamuwalde on the neck and tells him that he will be called Blacula as well as locking him and his wife for a few centuries in a cellar and then the opening credits occur. This seemed to be well put in for a start of a horror flick of this kind.
The picture takes place present day showing 70's fashions and stuff like that when someone instructs two bumbling employees to go on a mission as the situations on these matters looked a bit corny to watch making me wonder if there was comedy added into this flick. But then things seem to roll along okay when they go to a coffin and one of their hand bleeds near this object which leaves me a hint that Blacula will awaken and that is just what happens here and although him attacking these people seemed more campy than terrifying it looked fun to watch regardless. Yet after he kills these employees he puts on his cape and it looked rather silly to watch since even back then an outfit like that looked a bit dated but again he's been asleep for a couple centuries so that was what fit into a time back then.
A nice spooky setting at night when Tina is walking home after a memorial to one of these bumbling emloyees in which you suspect that she is being watched and she runs away which looked effective but then when Blacula is chasing after her with that dated cape and so fourth it seemed to spoil the suspense.
What's more corny is that he runs into a driving taxi and a female cabbie comes out and nags at him which looked corny to watch but it left me an impression that he will attack her but even when this happens it needed a bit more inspiration but no overly terrible either. None of these moments mentioned so far made the movie terrible to watch as it all looked entertaining regardless.
Good stern discussions with Dr. Gordon Thomas and Lt. Jack Peters in his office on some cases of the murders and so fourth which has a good feel to a crime mystery by what they were talking about and getting to the lowdown on what they plan to do making these two act tough and serious on these matters.
Then great entertainment at a dance club with a band performing funky r&b music as well as Gordon with Tina and their other friends sitting down and talking. Then a good approach by Blacula acting charming towards Tina which really drew me in since this works in for a vampire flick knowing that if she gives in or anyone else he can do something deadly later on. Also impressive moments when some of their friends take pictures of him and he is irritated by this as this left me an impression that he doesn't want to be discovered that he's a vampire since we all know they won't be revealed by reflection or on a photo.
The suspense this time works a great deal when the woman taking the pictures tries to develop them and a mysterious figure lets himself in her suite without her knowing about it and then she is surprised by how the pics developed and Blacula not revealed in which this gave me a creepy feeling that something terrifying is going to happen right after and boy this time it looked effective.
Another nice moment is when Blacula tries to confront Tina that she was his wife as well as them getting slightly romantic which looked well done and nicely written into the plot but no sex scene's revealed or anything which may disappoint you blaxploitation fans.
While I kept watching this story unravel one of the best moments happens is when Gordon digs up a grave and opens a coffin and suddenly the corpse comes to life and tries to attack him as he is a creature of the night which really looked powerful and nearly caught me by surprise.
Then more terrific horrifying moments when a morgue attendant Sam hauls out the corpse of that female cabbie and when he goes to answer a phone call the camera slowly focuses on this dead body which left me an impression that she will come to life. Then a nice slow motion shot on her springing into a hallway with wide eyes and fangs ready to leap on him which looked fantastic for a vampire flick.
There's action packed moments when the police try to kill Blacula and he acts powerful towards them which only half works into the story and needed a bit of a push.
Certain moments only half worked as well when both Gordon and Jack goes in to try and chase Blacula in a factory and are stopped by other vampires when they try to throw firey objects on them in which this didn't seem to impress me as much by having these moments occur a little too much into the story. At times it seemed necessary to have this but it needed something new that I can't explain as to what.
Also when Blacula tries to get away in the factory with Tina a tragic moment happens to her which was done poorly in which this moment needed to be whipped into shape to make this look alot more convincing.
Then the ending involves Blacula which is a suicidal moment since he's lost which looked a bit stale while hearing on what he has to say but then there's some interesting special effects surrounding him which was neat to watch.
Bottom line is that this film seemed great to watch at first having many neat effective situations and campy fun horror action but it slopes in other areas making this be a just above average flick. It can be enjoyable if you're in the mood for it but certain situations just didn't cut it like certain locations and so fourth. However this one had a cult following regardless.

The acting is very dated but some of these actors tried their best but only certain one's worth mentioning such as (Blacula / Mamuwalde) playing the black vampire in which he has the almsot deepness for his speaking but is a bit over the top when he acts vicious or is attacking someone. He tries to act charming in some spots which is not too shabby but other areas when he acts powerful he just gets carried away. Had the okay looks for this role which did more of the talking than his performing.
(Tina / Luva) shpwed a nice innocence to her role in which she does well with her timid behavior when the terror strikes and so fourth. She also does well with her energy when she gets spooked while running to her suite as she was a natural by behaving this way. Seemed to do nicely with her romantic attitude and sympathetic behavior. Does an average job acting weak choking out her words like she was dying but needed a bit of a boost by behaving this way.
(Michelle) presented herself nicely with her looks and appeal in which she offered a nice kind hearted behavior showing some nice spunk into her part. Also does a great job freaking out and crying uncontrollably. Seemed to be a passable character actress.
(Dr. Gordon Thomas) was the best out of the cast I found with his serious and no bullshit attitude in which he drew a good stern attitude as well as doing well with his aggressions. Plus he really packs a punch for the action involved in other scene's in which he was a natural by doing so. For sure studied this role inside out. Great pointers for this person.
Elisha Cook Jr. (Sam) grabbed my attention with his supporting role coming across nice and mysterious with his somewhat eccentric behavior playing a morgue attendant. Reacts well to stuff when any type of conversations or anything else is targeted towards him.

Stake is driven into others hearts.
Face melts during the end of the film.

The music sounded highly entertaining all put together by Gene Page not having it sound like your everyday classical music but suitable for a blaxloitation flick in which there's good funky pre-disco touches for the adventureous moments which I enjoyed. Also there's many chiming sounds as well as some harp playing like you'd hear in an Italian horror flick during this time period. We also hear some low flute playing too which is catchy. Other echoey sounds is heard while the story unravels which is effective for the moments used in the story.

Dracula: You shall pay, black prince. I shall place a curse of suffering on you that will doom you to a living hell. I curse you with my name. You shall be... Blacula!

Waitress: [to Mamuwalde] Hi! What'll you have?
Mamuwalde: Make it a Bloody Mary.

Swenson: That is the rudest n*gger i've ever seen in my life.