Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Red and the Black

Continuing our Halloween not-all-that-scary horror movies, we watched Blacula (1972), a charming mix of horror and blaxploitation.

It starts long long ago, with African diplomat Mamuwalde (William Marshall) and his beautiful wife Luva (Vonetta McGee) negotiating the end of the slave trade with a Transylvanian prince - that doesn't work out so well, and Mamuwalde ends up undead in a coffin.

In the present day, two antique dealers (to say gay antique dealers seems redundant) buy the coffin and release into our world - Blacula!

The dealers' friends and relatives hang out at a club where the Hues Corporation plays nightly (although not their hit, "Rock the Boat"). The gang includes handsome doctor Thalamus Rasulala and Vonetta McGee, Mamuwalde's wife reincarnated. They soon meet up with the suave caped African, who woos McGee while not savagely tearing the throats out of cute lady cabbies like Ketty Lester.

The leads are great - William Marshall is both sympathetic and frightening and Rasulala a strong tough black man whose role could have been a private eye. McGee is tender and beautiful, with just a touch of the unearthly. I've always liked the dignity she brought to the role of Jemina Brown in The Eiger Sanction. This is a better role.

The scares aren't all that scary, which is fine with me. Bonus: Elisha Cook Jr. plays the creepy morgue attendant - with a hook hand!

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