Blacula: A Love Story With Bite

Blacula isn’t a scary movie. We just thought it’d be best to get that out in the open before we go any further. Blacula won’t have you hiding behind any sofa cushions, nor will it have you jumping out of your skin in fright, unless you’re about 12 years old. Blacula might be classed as a horror movie, but it isn’t that horrific.

What it is, however, is a very entertaining love story about one man and his eternal quest to be reunited with his soul mate. It just so happens that the man in question is a vampire. There is a case to be made that Blacula is also about the adage, no good deed goes unpunished because that’s how we kick things off.

It’s 1780 and Prince Mamuwalde (William Marshall) has gone to visit a certain Count Dracula in the hope that the pointy-fanged one will help him bring an end to the slave trade. Dracula – being the douchebag that he is – finds the whole situation funny and instead of helping, he turns the Prince into a vampire. He then stuffs him and his wife Luva (Vonetta McGee) into two separate coffins, so that the newly christened Blacula can listen to her suffer as she slowly starves to death. This is because, as we’ve just mentioned, Dracula is a douchebag.

Nearly two hundred years later Blacula‘s final resting place has ended up in the hands of a couple of interior decorators who get more than they bargain for when they open it up and he pops right out and kills them. From here on out, everyone is on the menu as old Blacula is as hungry as you’d expect of a man who has been stuffed in a coffin for a couple of centuries. But when he lays eyes on Tina Williams (Vonetta McGee) he is stunned to find that she is the spitting image of his now very deceased wife, and she becomes his new obsession. Alongside eating people.

Will Blacula succeed in turning Tina into an immortal bloodsucker like himself? Or will Tina’s sister’s boyfriend – Dr. Gordon Thomas (Thalmus Rasulala) – and the Police Department realize that some folklore is based in fact, and destroy Blacula before he can accomplish his goal?

We may have been a tad facetious when we said in the intro that Blacula isn’t a horror movie. It is, in parts, just that. Blacula doesn’t mind chomping on the odd neck or two and seems intent on building himself an army of the undead with the express goal of taking over the world. There are – attempted – jump scares aplenty and the movie isn’t shy about spraying the old claret around whenever it can, but we feel that calling Blacula just a horror movie does it a great disservice. What is, essentially, at the heart of Blacula is the love story between Prince Mamuwalde and his wife Luva.

Here is a man who had to listen for days as his beloved went out of her mind through starvation before she finally passed and then found himself stuck inside a coffin for nearly two hundred years. So, yeah, when he finally gets released he’s bound to be a little blood-thirsty. Who wouldn’t be? And none of it was his fault either. He went to someone he thought could help him with a massive problem and the d*ckhead sucker bit him and murdered his wife. Who wouldn’t have a little attitude in that situation? But under it all burns the flame that will not die. As soon as Blacula lays eyes on the reincarnation of Luva he knows that they were meant to be together for all time. Even if that means he has to turn her into a vampire and murder a ton of people along the way to achieve this goal.

The soundtrack is funky, the special effects are very good for the time – especially any point that Blacula goes full-on neck muncher – the story is solid, the action is bitey, and even though we prefer the sequel Scream Blacula, Scream – because Pam Grier is in it – the original ticks all the right boxes to be considered a Blaxploitation classic.

But what do you think? Is Blacula just a simple horror movie? Or does more lay beneath the surface? Sound off in the comments section and let us know. 

Written by Cult Cinema Saves The World

Cult Cinema Saves The World

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