kids are off and it's been pouring with rain here so not had any time to watch the frankly ludicrous pile of shite sitting in the corner.
I did however get to rewatch this old favourite t'other night.
Dir: William Crain.
Cast: William Marshall, Vonetta McGee, Denise Nicholas, Ted Harris, Rick Metzler, Gordon Pinsent, Lance Taylor Snr., Emily Yancy, Charles Macaulay and Thalmus Rasulala.
|"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!"|
The year is 1780 and Count Dracula is busy entertaining studly African Prince Terry Mamuwalde (The King of Cartoons himself, Marshall) and his luscious lady-wife Luva (McGee from Shaft in Africa and Hammer amongst other top movies...meow!) at his castle in downtown Transylvania.
Ever the gentleman, Dracula although fascinated by these guests from the “dark continent” (and no that doesn't mean the West Midlands) listens intently as Prince Mamuwalde explains his plan to rid the world of slavery and see his people accepted as equals.
And Mamuwalde reckons that with Dracula’s help this dream can become a reality.
The evening appears to be going swimmingly until Dracula, slightly tipsy on Vodka and Red Bull decides to not only extoll the merits of the slave trade but also admit that he's always fancied buying a charming Negress like Mrs. Mamuwalde just so he could touch her bum.
His wife, nation and sexiness insulted, Mamuwalde begins to smash the furniture before threatening to sodomize the Count with a chair leg and only a surprise appearance from Dracula's well trained army of ninja butlers stops this threat from becoming a reality.
|"Spice Girls number one for Christmas....MONSTA!"|
As a final indignity Dracula bites poor Mamuwalde and places him in a coffin before cursing Mamuwalde with his own name.
"From now on" Dracula intones in a vaguely sinister fashion "You shall be known as…Blacula!"
Slamming the coffin shut, the Prince of Darkness has it and Luva bricked up in a convenient alcove where she shall slowly die from starvation as her husband scratches away at the coffin lid....
And cue funky sounds!
|"I fang you!"|
After titles that would make Chuck Jones proud we return to present day (1972) Transylvania where camp as knickers Interior decorators Bobby and Billy (Harris and Metzler from some other movies possibly) have travelled from the good ol' US of A in order to collect all the fittings and furnishings from Dracula's castle as part of a government funded carboot sale.
It could happen.
Whilst their guide regales them with blood curdling tales of Count Dracula, Bobby is busying himself in the Counts back passage where he comes across the tomb containing Mamuwalde’s coffin.
Never one to knock back a nice bit of wood Bobby begs the guide to let him have it to which the helpful Romanian gladly obliges.
Back home in Los Angeles, our preening pals are busy unpacking their large containers when Billy, always the joker, has the oh-so-wacky idea of swapping the coffin they purchased for the bed in their guest bedroom.
A scarily early warning about AIDS or just a convenient way to wake the Count?
Using all his strength Bobby manages to pry open the lock on the coffin but Billy (being clumsy as fuck...must be the way he flaps his arms when he speaks) slashes his hand on the coffins knob.
Screaming and shouting about his cut whilst crying on his pal's shoulder, the flamboyant fellows fail to notice the coffin beginning to open.
From the inside.
|They've got something to put in you.|
Yup, Blacula is back and on the loose in LA, rising from his coffin he makes easy pickings of our pillow biting pals before, um, going back to sleep.
It's the next day and we're at a funky funeral home where a 'service' for Bobby is about to be held but hark, who's the mystery man in black skulking in the background?
That'll be Blacula then, spookily staring at the corpse whilst wriggling his fingers, his vampire powers slowly bringing Bobby back to life as a servant of the undead.
Luckily for us these spooky shenanigans are interrupted by the arrival of jolly undertaker Mr. Swenson (Sanford and Son's Taylor) and a small group of mourners consisting of the funktastically 'tashed Doctor Gordon Thomas (Blaxploitation stalwart Rasulala), his girlfriend Michelle (Ghost Dad's Nicholas) and her purple clad, hooded sister Tina (McGee again...can you see where this is going?).
As Gordon, Michelle and Tina chat uncomfortably over the big blue stiff, Tina removes her hood to reveal her stunning visage leaving Blacula speechless at the resemblance to his dead wife.
Intrigued by the apparent bite marks on Bobby's neck, gorgeous Gordon whips out his scientific credentials and begins to question of cuddly undertaker pal who informs him that as well as the human mouth sized bite, Bobby’s veins were also empty of blood.
Gordon, his brow furrowed in a look usually kept for when he's pleasuring the ladies, briskly turns and heads for his lab prompting Swenson to exclaim “That is the rudest nigger I ever met!”
Which gives it the edge over Eastenders in the realism stakes I guess.
Meanwhile Tina, tired from having to be so sexy all day, decides that rather than go visit poor Bobby’s snot faced gurgling mother’s place with Michelle she'd much prefer to go home and relax with a nice bath, some romantic girl-porn and various fresh vegetables.
As she clip clops along the sidewalk in an outfit that would shame Liberace, Tina soon begins to sense that she is not quite alone.
Quickening her pace, she runs around the corner and comes face to face with Blacula himself who decides to break the ice by calling her "Luva".
As any sane person would do in that situation, Tina turns tail and hoofs it down the street dropping her purse in the process.
Not too surprisingly our velvet clad vamp finds it.
Just before he's hit by a cab which appears to be driven by Martin Lawrence in full Big Momma's House mode.
After much slagging and pushing from the driver, Blacula obviously bored with getting called 'Boy!' whilst getting man-handled by a crossdressing former Will Smith co-star finally bites the cabbie to death.
Worn out by this sudden burst of ultra-violence Blacula heads home to bed.
Well daylight come and we’re off to the local police station where Gordon is busy chatting with Sam the morgue man as regards to the dead cabbie found the following night, looking over the body Gordon is shocked to find two puncture marks on the neck.
Just like on that gay bloke.
Could this be a clue?
Well crusty police lieutenant Jack Peters reckons it’s the Black Panthers (or an actual black panther, I'm not sure) but Gordon disagrees reckoning it's more likely to be bin men or gypsies.
Gordon, planning on spending the day organizing Michelle’s birthday, bids his farewells and struts off into the city.
|Beware Blacula's cum face.|
Anyway striding manfully thu' the front door like some negative Jon Pertwee comes Blacula who uses Tina's purse as an excuse to join the party alongside comedy jivester Skillet who's just there for the champagne.
Everything is going swimmingly till local photographer and full time hot pants model Nancy (teevee stalwart Yancy) takes a couple of photo's of the group causing Blacula to freak out at the sudden flash.
Making his excuses he leaves, only to hide behind Nancy's bins waiting for a moment to strike.
You see, our bloodsucking brother doesn't show up on photographs.
When and how he learned this is never explained probably because it would get in the way of the killings.
|"I need to crack this, Dag, cos if not, Won Ton will be all over me like knockers in a wind tunnel".|
Nancy stumbles into the street and straight into the arms of erstwhile Sergeant John Barnes, who just happens to be heading to the party with a load of autopsy photo's for Gordon (don't ask) but as he prepares to call for help she sprouts fangs and bites him.
Deciding that all these bitings must be related, Gordon gets Michelle a stack of books on ghouls and vampires from the library whilst he attempts to get a permit to exhume Billy’s (remember him?) body.
Unfortunately the DA knocks his request back, meaning our hairy hero has no choice but to turn graverobber, obviously Michelle refuses to help but Gordon manages to persuade her with lots and lots of sweet kisses and a couple of nipple pinches.
He the man as the young folk say.
As she heads home to change into some old clothes, Gordon takes the time to polish himself off whilst looking over some of the books from the library.
|Blood in mah mooth!|
Whilst all this seventies style digging is going down, Blacula shows up at Tina’s door desperate to see her and Tina, being a girl in a horror movie, invites him in.
Cue a long and convoluted chat to fill in the backstory for those to busy (or thick) to remember that basically goes from "Ooooh we have a connection" to "I'm an undead African Prince who is now a vampire" via "you're my wife reincarnated".
Frighteningly this line of chat actually works and it's not long before Tina and Blacula are at it on the sofa like crazy things.
|"Put it in me!"|
Things are hotting up at the graveyard to, for no sooner has Gordon opened Billy's coffin than the ghoulish gay comes flying out like a slightly camp jack in the box.
Albiet one with huge plastic fangs and a face plastered in green emulsion.
Luckily Gordon has come prepared and quickly pulls out his trusty stake and thrusts it into Billy before beating him off with a shovel.
Noticing that Michelle has pissed herself with fear he quickly explains that Billy was a vampire so it's not really murder.
Hmmm, must remember to try that one next time I'm in court.
Quick as a very quick thing Michelle realizes that this means Bobby must also be a vampire.
A vampire on the loose somewhere in the city!
Gordon frantically phones Peters to explain the situation before remembering that Martin Lawrence is still in the morgue.
Hanging up on Peters he rings Sam to warn him not to take the body out of the freezer but Sam is busy having a big poo and when he returns he too is murdered.
|Vonetta McGee: your dad did. Twice.|
Realizing that all this started with the arrival of all that antique shite from Transylvania, Gordon begins to suspect that the legends of Count Dracula must be true.
But no-one can recall seeing a flamboyant white guy prowling the streets.
Eventually (after a few more murders and a good many snogs from Blacula) he realizes the truth about Mamuwalde, meaning it's a race against time to save the city and ultimately his sisters soul (both eternal and arse) from our lovelorn bloodsucker.
Released at the height of the seventies blaxploitation boom, William Crain's Blacula s not only the most fondly remembered of the the black horror (or Blorror) cycle but quite possibly the best too.
Most of the movies success tho' is down to it's fantastic cast and none more so than actor William Marshall, playing he tragic yet terrifying Prince Mamuwalde with a conviction rarely seen in movies of this ilk.
With his booming baritone voice and commanding presence, Marshall totally (and believably) instills the character of Blacula with a quiet humanity that works well to juxtapose the more frightening aspects of what could have been, in a lesser actors hands a one note and quite possibly laughable villain.
Whilst the director failed to reach the same dizzy heights with the Bernie Casey starrer Dr. Black and Mister Hyde before returning to teevee, Blacula returned to face off against the one and only Pam Grier in the Scream Blacula Scream.
Worth ninety minutes of anyone’s time, if only to see where Richard Ayoadeot the idea for Dean Learner from.