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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search{| cellspacing="5" class="infobox vevent" style="width: 22em; font-size: 90%" ! class="summary" colspan="2" style="text-align: center; font-style: italic; font-size: 110%; font-weight: bold"|Blacula |- | colspan="2" style="text-align: center"| Original 1972 theatrical poster |- ! scope="row" style="text-align: left; white-space: nowrap"|Directed by | class="description"|William Crain |- ! scope="row" style="text-align: left; white-space: nowrap"|Produced by |Samuel Z. Arkoff Joseph T. Naar |- ! scope="row" style="text-align: left; white-space: nowrap"|Written by |Raymond Koenig Joan Torres |- ! scope="row" style="text-align: left; white-space: nowrap"|Starring |William Marshall Vonetta McGee Denise Nicholas Gordon Pinsent Charles Macaulay Thalmus Rasulala |- ! scope="row" style="text-align: left; white-space: nowrap"|Music by |Gene Page |- ! scope="row" style="text-align: left; white-space: nowrap"|Cinematography |John M. Stephens |- ! scope="row" style="text-align: left; white-space: nowrap"|Editing by |Allan Jacobs |- ! scope="row" style="text-align: left; white-space: nowrap"|Distributed by |American International Pictures |- ! scope="row" style="text-align: left; white-space: nowrap"|Release date(s) |August 25, 1972 (1972-08-25) (United States) |- ! scope="row" style="text-align: left; white-space: nowrap"|Running time |92 minutes |- ! scope="row" style="text-align: left; white-space: nowrap"|Country |United States |- ! scope="row" style="text-align: left; white-space: nowrap"|Language |English |} Blacula is a 1972 American horror film produced for American International Pictures. It was directed by William Crain and stars William Marshall in the title role as an 18th century African prince who is turned into a vampire while visiting Transylvania. Two centuries later, he rises from his coffin attacking various residents of Los Angeles. The prince meets Tina who he believes is the reincarnation of his deceased lover.

Blacula was released to mixed reviews in the United States and was one of the top grossing films of the year. It was the first film to receive an award for Best Horror Film at the Saturn Awards. Blacula was followed by the sequel Scream, Blacula, Scream in 1973 and inspired a small wave of blaxploitation themed horror films.


[hide]*1 Plot

  • 2 Production
  • 3 Release
  • 4 Reception
  • 5 Legacy
  • 6 Notes
    • 6.1 References
  • 7 External links


In 1780, Prince Mamuwalde (William H. Marshall), the ruler of an African nation, seeks the help of Count Dracula (Charles Macaulay) in suppressing the slave trade. Dracula refuses to help and transforms Mamuwalde into a vampire and imprisons him in a sealed coffin. Mamuwalde's wife, Luva (Vonetta McGee) is also imprisoned and dies in captivity. In 1972, the coffin has been purchased as part of an estate by two interior decorators, Bobby McCoy (Ted Harris) and Billy Schaffer (Rick Metzler) and shipped to Los Angeles. Bobby and Billy open the coffin and become Prince Mamuwalde's first victims. At Bobby's funeral, Mamuwalde encounters Tina (Vonetta McGee), who Prince Mamuwalde believes is the reincarnation of his deceased wife. On investigating the corpse at the funeral, Dr. Gordon Thomas (Thalmus Rasulala) helps Lt. Peters (Gordon Pinsent) with an investigation of murders that are occurring.

Prince Mamuwalde's continues to kill and transform various people he encounters into vampires as Tina begins to fall in love with him. Thomas, Peters, and Michelle follow the trail of murder victims and begin to believe a vampire is responsible. After Thomas digs up Billy's coffin, Billy's corpse rises as a vampire and attacks Peters who fends him off. After finding a photo taken of Mamuwalde where his body is not visible, Thomas and Peters track Mamuwalde hideout defeating several vampires while Mamuwalde escapes. Mamuwalde lures Tina to his water works later while Thomas and a group of police officers chase after him. Mamuwalde dispatches several officers as one shoots Tina. To save Tina from death, Mamuwalde transforms her into a vampire. After Peters manages to kill the vampire Tina, Mamuwalde believes he can not live any longer after losing her twice. Mamuwalde leaves for the surface where the sunlight rots his flesh and kills him.


Many members of the cast and crew of Blacula had worked in television. Director William Crain had directed episodes of The Mod Squad.[1] William H. Marshall who stars as Mamuwalde was the first black vampire to appear in film.[1] Marshall had previously worked in stage productions and in episodes of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Nurses and Mannix.[1] Thalmus Rasulala who plays Dr. Gordon Thomas had previously been in episodes of The Twilight Zone, Perry Mason, and Rawhide.[1]

Blacula was in production between late January and late March 1972.[2] While Blacula was in its production stages, William Marshall worked with the film producers to make sure his character had some dignity. His character name was changed from Andrew Brown to Mamuwalde and his character received a background story about being an African prince who had succumbed to vampirism.[3]

The music of Blacula is uncommon of most horror films as it applies rhythm and blues music opposed to haunting classical music.[4] A soundtrack to the film featuring the score by Gene Page and contributions by the Hues Corporation and 21st Century Ltd.[5]


Prior to the film's release, American International Pictures' marketing department wanted to ensure that Blacula would be anticipated by black audiences. Some posters for the film included the allegory of slavery.[6] American International Pictures also held promotions in two New York theaters for people who went to the theater in a flowing cape would receive free admission to see the film.[6] Blacula was released in August 25, 1972.[7] Blacula was popular in the American box office results. It debuted in the twenty-fourth position on Variety's list of top films. Blacula grossed over one-million dollars and was one of the highest grossing films of 1972.[8]


Blacula received mixed reviews on its initial release.[8] Variety gave the film a positive review praising the screenplay, music and acting by William Marshall.[6] The Chicago Reader praised the film writing that it would leave its audience satisfied than many other "post-Lugosi efforts".[8] A review in the New York Times was negative, stating that anyone who "goes to a vampire movie expecting sense is in serious trouble, and "Blacula" offers less sense than most."[9] In Films & Filming, a reviewer referred to the film as "totally unconvincing on every level".[8] The film was awarded the Best Horror Film title at the first Saturn Awards.[10]

Among modern reviews, Kim Newman of Empire gave the film two stars out of five, finding the film to be "formulaic and full of holes".[11] Time Out gave the film a negative review, stating that it "remains a lifeless reworking of heroes versus vampires with soul music and a couple of good gags."[12] Film4 gave awarded the film three and a half stars out of five, calling it "essential blaxploitation viewing."[13] Allmovie gave the film two and a half stars out of five, noting that Blacula is "better than its campy title might lead one to believe...the film suffers from the occasional bit of awkward humor (the bits with the two homosexual interior decorators are the most squirm-inducing), but Joan Torres and Raymond Koenig's script keeps things moving at a fast clip and generates some genuine chills."[14]


The box office success of Blacula sparked a wave of other black-themed horror films.[8][15] A sequel to the film titled Scream Blacula Scream was released in 1973 by American International. The film also stars William Marshall in the title role along with actress Pam Grier.[15] American International were also planning a follow-up titled Blackenstein, but chose to focus on Scream Blacula Scream. Blackenstein was eventually produced by Exclusive International Pictures.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d Lawrence, 2008. pg. 49
  2. ^ "Blacula". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
  3. ^ Lawrence, 2008. pg. 50
  4. ^ Lawrence, 2008. pg. 55
  5. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Blacula - Gene Page: Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
  6. ^ a b c Lawrence, 2008. pg. 56
  7. ^ Kane, 2006. pg. 153
  8. ^ a b c d e Lawrence, 2008. pg. 57
  9. ^ Greenspun, Roger (August 26, 1972). "Blacula (1972)". New York Times. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
  10. ^ "Past Saturn Awards". Saturn Awards. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
  11. ^ Newman, Kim. "Blacula Review". Empire. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
  12. ^ "Blacula Review". Time Out. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
  13. ^ "Blacula (1972)". Film4. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
  14. ^ Guarisco, Donald. "Blacula: Review". Allmovie. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
  15. ^ a b Lawrence, 2008. pg. 58
  16. ^ Lawrence, 2008. pg. 59


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Retrieved from ""Categories: 1972 films | American films | English-language films | Dracula films | 1970s horror films | American horror films | Blaxploitation films | Films set in Los Angeles, California | Films set in the 1780s | Saturn Award winners | American International Pictures films

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