William Marshall,a Shakespearean actor with a rich baritone voice, enriches this blaxploitation vampire film with his strong,seductive performance. He's Manuwalde, a European-educated 18th-century African prince who appeals to the Count Dracula for help in ending the slave trade. Dracula, never known as a great emancipator, puts the bite on Manuwalde's troubles, dubs him "Blacula", and imprisons him in a casket. Stirred to life, so to speak, centuries later in Los Angeles by gay antique hunters, he steps into the soulful '70s and splits his energies between feeding his bloodlust and wooing a young beauty (Vonetta McGee), a dead ringer for his long-dead wife. Thalmus Rasulala (Friday Foster) is a modern medical professor turned urban Van Helsing, and Elisha Cook Jr. has a bit part as a coroner with a hook for a hand. Marshall creates a magnetic, aristocratic character and infuses his monster with a sense of loss and sadness in the climax. VHS & DVD
Buy the Product: