In the late 1960s Hollywood started to create a progression of motion pictures particularly coordinated toward African-Americans. While the vampire was basically of European origin, and there have been just a couple references to vampires in Africa or in African-American legend, it was inescapable that “blaxploitation” makers would consider the potential outcomes of a Black vampire film. In 1972 the first of the two most imperative of the African-American vampire films, Blacula, featuring William Marshall, showed up.
Blacula recounted the account of Prince Mamuwalde, a member of the African ruling class in 1780 who was attempting to figure out how to stop the kidnapping of Africans by Europeans (Slavery), and others, that was ravaging Africa’s western territories. He searched out Count Dracula (Charles Macaulay) to acquire his help with the attempt. Dracula simply howled at the Prince, who with his better half Luva, then decided to clear out. Before they could escape, be that as it may, they were ambushed by Dracula and his vampire associates. Mamuwalde was vampirized and fixed in a tomb. Luva was left to waste away from starvation, not able to help her significant other as Dracula insured Mamuwalde would end up to be Blacula, his African partner.
The story then changes to 1965 when a few Americans buy the artifacts of Castle Dracula and ship them to Los Angeles, unconscious that the elaborate pine box they have acquired houses Blacula’s body. Blacula is stirred and finds another affection, Tina, the spitting image of his beloved Luva. As the plot advances, she succumbs to a shooting episode, and he transforms her into a vampire to spare her. Be that as it may, to say fate will not be denied, she is staked to death, and in his misery Blacula succumbs to suicide by strolling into the daylight.
Blacula was resuscitated by the enchantment of voodoo spell a year later in a spin-off, “Scream Blacula Scream”. Intrigue abounds and with the voodoo priestess Lisa, he explores a method to free himself of his vampirism, yet he is defeated by the, you guessed it, police. In a novel, yet altogether suitable part of the storyline he is slaughtered by the proverbial stake through, in this case, the heart of a voodoo doll. This could be where the sequel takes up. Perhaps the stick through the heart of a voodoo doll does not in fact kill Blacula but simply puts him in a 50-year deep sleep. Whalah, there you have it “Blacula 2020”.
In light of the extensive and long lasting fandom of vampire motion pictures, the Blacula motion pictures have had an increased fame base and join the small pantheon of blaxploitation movies which have found a wide gathering of admirers past that of the African-American community. Blacula was granted the Ann Radcliffe Award by The Count Dracula Society.
Granted, it is somewhat ridiculous, but there is still quite a lot just beneath the hilarious surface of “Blacula” that addresses the culture at large. Blacula provides a clever playground to explore that in a way that is not entirely obvious to the audience, and yet registers.
Blacula really is a unique take on the vampire legend. As rightly pointed out by some, it is in fact the first Dracula film Hollywood has ever provided in which the lead vampire is … “driven by rage, not by lust or blood lust.”
Blacula is a tragic figure, a man who is angry about his condition. One can view this film as a microcosm of race and civil rights issues in the seventies. Is it time that it be updated for the 2000’s era of Trump? If Blacula was that angry in the 70’s can you image how angry he would be at the goings on of today.