Blackula (review requested by reader David)

Release Date: 8/25/1972 – Rated PG

Starring: Elisha Cook (One Eyed Jacks)

Plot Summary: An African emissary visits Dracula’s castle in 1780 to propose not only trade, but the end of slavery. Dracula does not cotten to this sort of progressive thinking so he turns his guest into a vampire and locks him in a coffin so he can know hunger for all eternity. Fast forward to 1972, two gay antique dealers/interior decorators are buying Dracula’s castle, and having all its furniture shipped to Los Angeles. While going through the warehouse now filled with old Drac’s stuff, they daintily break open a lock on a casket that just happens to have a very hungry, hairy, and black vampire. He bites a guy’s arm till he dies, then shakes the other one like a noisy baby till he passes out. As he’s staking (pun intended) out a funeral home where yesterday’s lunch is being held for a viewing, he spots a woman who looks identical to his long dead wife. As he stalks her, a man named Gordon is hot on the trail of these mysterious deaths. Dracu…er Blackula starts dating the woman who looks like his deceased wife, one her friends wants to buy his cape, and he keeps eating people who get in his way, all the this leads to a dramatic climax. Spoilers: Gordon and his police buddies chase Blackula to a warehouse where he has moved his coffin, during the pursuit, Blackula’s lady gets shot and is about to die, he saves her the only way he knows how, (no, it’s not with sex, but maybe it should have been.) Blackula makes short work of most of the cops as they chase him up and down stairs, (there’s a nice Donkey Kong moment.) As this is happening, Gordon finds the coffin and as he opens it his pal stakes the vamp inside, only to discover that it isn’t Blackula but his newly transformed girlfriend. Seeing this, Blackula has nothing left to live for and heads up to the roof to catch some rays. He then dramatically turns into a skeleton, with some not-so-special effects, while some nice soul music plays.

Alex’s Thoughts:  Like Tim, I didn’t hate it, didn’t love itThe acting wasn’t too bad, thought the make-up effects and ‘special’ effects were pretty awful.  I liked how people didn’t question that Bluckula was a vampire when they were told, they just sort of accepted it and moved on, like that was a common occurence in the hood in the 70’s – “Where’s Jamal?” “That turkey went and turned into a vampire.” “I can dig it. Wanna get some chicken and waffles?”.   I also enjoyed the fact that he wore the same clothes the entire movie, even though he’d been wearing them for 200 years, the man sticks to his fashion guns; and only in a blaxploitation movie could a guy be wearing a puffy shirt and a cape and other guys be jelous of his outfit.

Tim’s Thoughts: This movie isn’t THAT bad. I can’t tell if it has an anti-gay message or if it’s pro, it has 2 gay characters right off the bat that seem important, then the rest of the movie has some seemingly random gay slurs, eh either way, the fact that Dracula seems nice until you suggest that he helps end slavery is hilarious. Elisha Cook is funny as a one-handed man who works in the morgue, and unlike a lot of Blaxploitation this one seems less on making whitey the villain, and much more interested in rehashing the long-lost love, current day twin story.

Final Thoughts:  Not great, or really all that good, but it could be worse.  It could be Vampire in Brooklyn.

Alex Rates This Movie: 4/10

Tim Rates This Movie: 5/10

“I curse you with my name. You shall be… Blacula!”

View the IMDB entry for this movie here or add it to your Netflix queue