Sunday, February 24, 2008

Blacula - That's the Way (Uh-Huh Uh-Huh) We Like It (Uh-Huh Uh-Huh)

Scream Blacula Scream (1973) answers one nagging vampire-related question: if a vampire can't see himself in a mirror, how can he adjust his cape?

Answer: He gets his vampire pal to check it for him.

Pam Grier plays Lisa, whose grandma, the high priestess of a voodoo cult, dies without leaving clear instructions as to who is to keep things running. The hot-headed and impetuous Willis, angry that he has not been chosen, does the obvious thing: he buys a bag of vampire bones (that come with instructions) and performs a ceremony to bring the vampire back to life to do his bidding.

This last bit backfires, as Blacula (aka 18th century African prince Mummatumma) turns Willis into a loudly-dressed, jive-talking vampire assistant.

Blacula, played with as much grace and dignity as humanly possible by the late William Marshall, wants Lisa to exorcise the demon from him so he can go back to his people in Africa. Lisa agrees, but the ceremony is interrupted by the clumsy entrance of Lisa's dumb boyfriend, his equally moronic police lieutenant pal, and a bunch of hapless motorcycle cops, armed with pieces of picket fence that just happened to be lying around.

There is no nekkidity in this film, but lots of early-70s booty-shaking. Exceptionally bad music. (Imagine the possible cheese if a young and struggling KC and the Sunshine Band had been recruited.) Violent lesson in ethnic pride from Blacula to two pimps. The widest lapels in the 20th century. Pretty decent bat-into-Blacula stuff, given the technology of the time and the likely budget for special effects (about $11.38 in today's terms). Good hissing attack vampires in the climax. Special notice for William Marshall's performance, especially when he has the dopey boyfriend by the throat and says "The name is BLACULA!"

Automatic one-coil deduction for no breasts. Another coil off for way too much talking and other vain attempts at writing.


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