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Blacula is a 1972 blaxploitation horror film produced for American International Pictures. It was directed by William Crain and stars William Marshall in the title role. Blacula was the first film to win the "Best Horror Film" award at the 1972 Saturn Awards.

A sequel, Scream Blacula Scream, was released in 1973, in which Marshall reprised his role.


In 1780, Prince Mamuwalde (Marshall), the ruler of an African nation, seeks the help of Count Dracula (Charles Macaulay) in suppressing the slave trade. Dracula, who along with his other evils is revealed as a racist, not only refuses to help but also transforms Mamuwalde into a vampire (denigrating him with the name "Blacula" into the bargain) and imprisons him in a sealed coffin to suffer the un-ending thirst of the damned. Mamuwalde's wife Luva (McGee) is also imprisoned but, not being a vampire, dies in captivity.

Almost two centuries later, in 1972, the coffin has been purchased as part of an estate by two gay interior decorators, and shipped to Los Angelesmarker. The men open the coffin and become the vampire's first victims. Blacula then travels around the city and soon encounters Tina (McGee), who appears to be a reincarnation of his deceased wife, and begins stalking her. This brings the vampire to the attention of Dr. Gordon Thomas (Rasulala), who is helping Lt. Peters (Pinsent) with the investigation of the series of strange murders that is occurring, and whose girlfriend Michelle (Nicholas) is Tina's sister (by an unlikely coincidence. Tina and Michelle are also friends of Bobby, one of the murdered gay men).

The film continues as the vampire kills several more victims and hypnotizes Tina into falling in love with him. Meanwhile Thomas, Peters, and Michelle are following the trail of victims and come to realize that a vampire is responsible and Mamuwalde is their culprit. In the final scenes, the police shoot at Blacula and Tina; he is unharmed but she is mortally wounded. He saves her by turning her into a vampire, but Thomas, Peters, and Michelle find Tina and kill her with a stake through her heart. Distraught, Mamuwalde climbs up a staircase and onto a rooftop, into the sun to kill himself. Blacula melts in the light, and maggots suck his bones, and eat his flesh.


The film was not reviewed by most mainstream critics, but those that did were typically unfavorable toward the film. Despite this, the film has a strong cult following, and Marshall's performance in the lead has been widely praised. The film also won the first ever Saturn Award for Best Horror Film.

The film found a new audience in the early '80s, when Elvira featured it on her syndicated TV series, Movie Macabre. It has since become a cult classic, and is now available on DVD and as a rental on iTunes, from MGM Home Entertainment, the current copyright owners of the AIP catalog.


Blacula was a financial success when it was originally released. It was immediately followed by a sequel, Scream Blacula Scream (1973), in which the vampire is made corporeal again by a Voodoo practitioner. The success of the film also inspired the making of several other blaxploitation/horror crossovers in the mid-seventies, including Abby, Blackenstein, Dr. Black and Mr. Hyde, Ganja and Hess, The House on Skull Mountain, J. D.'s Revenge and Sugar Hill, although none of these films were as successful commercially as Blacula.

References in popular culture

  • The Simpsons have referenced the character and film Blacula multiple times:
    • In Simpson Tide, Homer is watching TV, and hears an announcer's voice say "Next, on Exploitation Theatre...Blacula, followed by Blackenstein, and The Blunchblack of Blotre Blame!"
    • In the "I've Grown a Costume on Your Face" segment of Treehouse of Horror XVI, Dr. Hibbert dresses as Dracula for Halloween, but Mayor Quimby confuses him for Blacula. When Hibbert appears offended by this, Quimby whispers to his bodyguard "Get him the standard racist remark apology letter. It's in the middle drawer."
    • In All's Fair in Oven War, the Simpsons begin the episode by watching a clip from Blacula Meets Black Dracula, in which both Blacula and Black Dracula are dancing on a disco floor. A white authoritative figure appears, who then turns off the music and states his intent to turn it into a hockey rink. Blacula responds by calling it a "honkey rink" and sucking his blood. Homer then announces that the actor who played Black Dracula is now a congressman from Virginia.
  • In the music video for "Adam's Song" by blink-182, Tom Delonge wears a Blacula T-shirt.
  • The music video for the Gnarls Barkley song "Who Cares" revolves around the misfortunes of a jaded black vampire character named Blacula.
  • There is a pornographic spoof of Blacula titled, Lust of Blackula.
  • In the novel Anno Dracula, Prince Mamuwalde is mentioned in passing as a notable non-Caucasian vampire.
  • Cartoon Network's Robot Chicken made a reference to Blacula in one of their sketches, along with Blackenstein and the Black Mummy.
  • The Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13 have a song entitled "Back in Blacula" on their album Songs from the Recently Deceased.
  • In the illustrations of Andrew Craven, Blacula is re-represented in Penny Dreadful and the Blacula Encounter where he is the subject of one of Penny's decadent adventures.
  • In The Venture Bros. series, Jefferson Twilight is an African-American character (and friend of Dr. Orpheus) who exclusively hunts vampires of any 'black' ethnicity (African, African-American, African-British, et cetera) which he refers to as Blaculas.
  • On MADtv there is a parody of Blacula (Aries Spears) who is usually accompanied by the parody of Dr Funkenstein (Keegan-Michael Key).
  • An episode of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air showed Will Smith going into a dank basement. When Will sees the door creak and the basement storage room is full of 1970s items, he comments, "the door is straight outta Blacula".
  • In "Billy and Mandy", Dracula was portrayed as an African American similar to Blacula.
  • Saturday Night Live had an episode where the comedian, Sinbad, played the character.
  • In the The Steve Harvey Show, the titular character and his co-workers talk about an upcoming local event called "Blacula on Ice".
  • In Futurama, in the episode Anthology of Interest I, Mr. Panucci says to Fry "There's only three real monsters, kid: Dracula, Blacula and Son of Kong.


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