Blac­ula: The Com­plete Col­lec­tion

The vam­pire with soul

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Dvd & blu- ray -

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

1972/ 1973 | 15 | Dual for­mat Blu- ray/ DVD Direc­tors: Wil­liam Crain, Bob Kell­jan Cast: Wil­liam Mar­shall, Pam Grier, Richard Law­son, Vonetta McGee, Denise Ni­cholas

It’s easy to sneer at Blac­ula – just look at the name! It reeks of cheap ’ 70s ex­ploita­tion. The funny thing is, th­ese two films – Blac­ula and se­quel Scream, Blac­ula, Scream – are rather in­ter­est­ing.

Wil­liam Mar­shall stars as African prince Ma­muwalde, lured to Drac­ula’s lair. The Count has his eye on Ma­muwalde’s wife – and on his neck. Trans­formed into a vam­pire and re­named Blac­ula by his racist sire, he’s set loose upon the world. Cut to LA in 1972, and Ma­muwalde meets a woman who looks eerily like his now long- dead wife. Could it be – wait for it – love at first bite?

Both films are pro­pelled along by a sense of fun, great fash­ions and a fan­tas­tic sound­track. They’re daft and las­civ­i­ous ( at one point a woman strips down to a bustier to de­velop some photographs) but el­e­vated by Mar­shall’s per­for­mance. He may be the vil­lain, but he hu­man­ises the se­ries, giv­ing a sym­pa­thetic and melan­choly per­for­mance.

The pac­ing is dodgy and the se­quel largely treads the same ground, but as campy and oc­ca­sion­ally thought­ful thrillers, there’s lots to en­joy.

Ex­tras: Kim New­man con­tex­tu­alises the films, point­ing out the debt that bet­ter- re­garded movies like Fran­cis Ford Cop­pola’s take on Drac­ula owe to Blac­ula. There are also trail­ers and a 32- page book­let. Will Sal­mon

Ma­muwalde’s re­gal back- story was de­vised by Mar­shall him­self, who wanted to im­bue the character with a sense of dig­nity.

Blac­ula: not as ter­ri­ble as it sounds.

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