1972 was a big year for Blaxploitation movies (also seeing the release of Superfly and Barry Shear’s Across 110th Street). But this movie probably tops the bizarre-o-meter – Meet Dracula’s soul brother . . .
When 18th-century African prince Mamuwalde journeyed to Europe to petition an end to slavery, his mission took him via Transylvania and the castle of a certain Count Dracula.
Two hundred years pass and Blacula remains undisturbed until a pair of Los Angeles interior decorators (Ted Harris and Rick Metzler) buy up all the furnishings at Castle Dracula and ship them home. Soon, Mamuwalde’s coffin sits amongst a job-lot of Transylvanian antiques in an LA warehouse with the prince still inside – waiting, undead, not a bad guy really, but cursed.
Mamuwalde (William Marshall) escapes his coffin and makes his entrance into California society. But although personable and polite, he is never quite accepted.
Maybe it is his long black cape, or his unavailability during daylight hours, or his curious manner of speaking: “please forgive me. I must depart now. I have indeed had a rare pleasure.” (he is off to sink his teeth into a pretty nightclub photographer).
Mamuwalde’s problem is that although he really enjoys drinking people’s blood, he, unfortunately, falls in love with Tina (Vonetta McGee), whose best friend, Michelle (Denise Nicholas of Room 222), works for Dr Gordon Thomas (Thalmus Rasulala) of the police department.
The police, of course, are powerless – one even grows fangs and joins the other side – but not Dr Thomas, who does his research, sharpens his wooden stakes and brings matters to their necessary conclusion.
Almost appropriately, the action winds up at the Hyperion Outfall Treatment Plant, a sewage processing complex in Playa del Rey, but for Mamuwalde, while he lasts, there is at least the compensation that Tina loves him – and that she is played by Vonetta McGee, possibly one of the most beautiful women in 1970s movies.
Dr Gordon Thomas
Lt. Jack Peters
Lance Taylor Sr.
Elisha Cook Jr.