Blacula updates the legend of Dracula, placing it’s protagonist in early 70’s California. African Prince Mamuwalde (William Marshall) is visiting said Lord of the Undead, who curses him to become a vampire, known as Blacula. After being entombed for a couple of hundred years, Mamuwalde is revived when his coffin is transported and opened in modern day USA.
It’s a fun film, transposing many of the myths we’re familiar with from Hammer movies into a different setting. As in other versions of the tale, Blacula is transfixed by Tina, who he sees as the reincarnation of his lost love. Tina, played by the beautiful Vonetta McGee (dead ringer for Beyonce) falls for his deadly charms; whilst her friends attempt to stop the plague of vampirism from spreading.
Whilst undeniably dated, and wallowing in numerous stereotypes that are somewhat non-pc by today’s standards, Blacula offers some great entertainment. There are a few scares, some incredibly groovy costumes and settings, and a cool funky score. It’s a novelty rather than an original, though transposing the Dracula story into the realm of Blaxploitation works a treat.
Recommended, especially for fans of Dracula AD 1972 and Dark Shadows.
Friday the 13th (1980)
We’re off to the realms of slasher movies next, for one of the all time classics of the genre. I first saw this film when I was 17. I’ve not been much of a fan of slasher flicks since.
Friday the 13th knowingly raids all the cliches from the cupboard and displays them proudly on the wall. Set at Crystal Lake summer camp, the young counsellors fit the required formula and are gruesomely picked off one by one in the classic manner.
And yet it works very well, with some genuinely well done gore (Tom Savini, take a bow) and real shocks that convince even after all these years. This might not have been the first slasher flick,but it follows the Halloween blueprint faithfully and delivers with surprises and tension.
I’m still not a massive slasher movie fan, but this original Friday the 13th is well worth investigating.