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Blacula (1972) starring William Marshall, Vonetta McGee
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Blacula (1972) starring William Marshall, Vonetta McGee

Blacula is a blaxploitation film, that rises above its origin. largely because of the quality of the acting, especially the title character, portrayed by William Marshall.

The story begins in 1780, with African Price Manuwalde (William Marshall) seeking the help of a European count to end the slave trade. Unfortunately, he’s chosen to ask the aid of Count Dracula (Charles Macaulay).  Dracula is all about enslaving people of all colors and having them join his undead army. And the count is offended by the African prince …

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!

Since Dracula is both vicious and vindictive, he turns the prince into one of his undead …  And then imprisons him in a sealed coffin.  Adding insult to injury, he also imprisons the prince’s beautiful and beloved wife, Princess Luva, along with him …  To slowly die from starvation.

Then, Nearly 200 years later, a pair of interior decorators living in Los Angeles, Billy and Bobby, purchase the coffin, and become the ravenous Blacula’s first victims – but not the last. Unlike Dracula, Blacula is a reluctant killer — especially when he meets Tina (Vonetta McGee), seemingly his wife reincarnated. Tina’s boyfriend, Dr. Gordon Thomas (Thalmus Rasulala), however, is a police forensic pathologist, finds something odd about the bodies — and begins to suspect vampirism.

I’ll not give away the remainder of the film, except to say that the ending is sad, if not heartbreaking, for the African prince who merely wanted to be reunited with his lost wife.

Cast of characters

  • William Marshall (Scream, Blacula, Scream; Star Trek: The Original Series) … Blacula / Mamuwalde
  • Vonetta McGee (Repo Man) … Tina / Luva
  • Denise Nicholas (In the Heat of the Night; Capricorn One) … Michelle
  • Thalmus Rasulala (Roots) … Dr. Gordon Thomas
  • Gordon Pinsent … Lt. Jack Peters
  • Charles Macaulay (The Munsters Revenge; Splash) … Dracula
  • Emily Yancy (The Abyss) … Nancy
  • Lance Taylor Sr. (Frogs) … Swenson
  • Ted Harris … Bobby McCoy
  • Rick Metzler Rick Metzler … Billy Shaffer
  • Ji-Tu Cumbuka (Brewster’s Millions 1985) … Skillet
  • Logan Field … Barnes
  • Ketty Lester … Juanita Jones
  • Elisha Cook Jr. (The House on Haunted Hill (1958)) … Sam
  • Eric Brotherson … Real Estate Agent

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