BlaculaThe blaxploitation genre was in full swing in 1972. Most of the films were action films but the first horror was Blacula.

In the 1700’s Prince Mamuwalde (William H. Marshall), the ruler of an African nation seeks the help of Count Dracula to stop the slave trade. Dracula refuses and turns Mamuwalde into a vampire and seals him in a coffin. In modern times (1972) the coffin is purchased and unknowingly opened by two men, both quickly become Mamuwalde’s first victims.

The victims’ friends include Vonetta McGee, who is the spitting image of Mamuwalde’s late wife. McGee’s sister’s (Denise Nicholas) boyfriend (Thalmus Rasulala) is the city pathologist and he starts noticing Mamuwalde’s victims might be vampires. Mamuwalde in the meantime has been romancing McGee. Rasulala convinces the police about the vampires and they soon try to track down Mamuwalde.

Despite the cheesy moniker this is a pretty solid vampire flick. Marshall manages to be menacing and sympathetic. The movie was successful enough to have a really bad sequel (Scream Blacula Scream) the following year and it started a trend of blaxploitation horror films including Blackenstein, Abby (a rip-off of The Exorcist) and Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde.