In the 18th Century, Prince Mamuwalde visits Castle Dracula to ask the Count to sign a petition against the slave trade. Dracula turns Mamuwalde into a vampire and chains him into a coffin. In 1972, gay antique dealers bring the coffin to Los Angeles and Mamuwalde pursues the reincarnation of his lost love while spreading vampirism through the city.
It struggles to include the mandatory blaxploitation digs at ‘the Man’, as the black Van Helsing type (Rasulala) complains to the white cop on the case ‘it’s amazing how much sloppy police work involves black victims’ but there’s a certain aptness in the depiction of Count Dracula (a very hammy Macaulay) as an arrogant racist swine. It was followed by a run of similar black horror pictures, including the inevitable Blackenstein, the more imaginative Dr Black and Mr Hyde and a superior sequel (with Pam Grier as a voodoo priestess) Scream, Blacula, Scream!
Blaxploitation meets vampire movie that's formulaic and full of holes
Reviewed by Kim Newman