You just can’t keep a good vampire down. And the latest legendary bloodsucker to rise from the grave is going to be Blacula. According to a report from Variety, MGM is reviving the immortal African prince in a new reboot film. Deon Taylor will direct the project, based on a script co-written with Micah Ranum. Roxanne Avent Taylor will produce.
The original film emerged in the midst of Hollywood’s “blaxploitation” cycle, the era of films like Shaft and Coffy. Released in 1972, the low-budget horror film ended up becoming one of the highest-grossing films that year. It starred William Marshall as African vampire Mamuwalde. A sequel quickly followed, with the amazing title of Scream Blacula Scream. You can read the official description for the reboot down below:
“Blacula is an ancient African prince cursed by Dracula after he fails to agree to end the slave trade. Entombed, Blacula awakens 200 years later ready to avenge the death of his ancestors and of those responsible for robbing his people of their work, culture and heritage as they appropriated it for profit.”
This sounds pretty much just like the original premise. Although hopefully some of the homophobic stuff from those first movies doesn’t make the cut in 2021. In a statement, the director said “Growing up in Gary, IN, I loved watching Blacula, and was so proud that William Marshall was a fellow Gary native. It’s mind-blowing that this franchise never got the energy or appreciation that other genre films received over the years, but this reboot is about to change all that.”
It’s fair to say, Blacula helped pave the way for Marvel’s Blade. Both in the comics, and later on the big screen. Funnily enough, a generation of kids years later would recognize Blacula actor William Marshall as the King of Cartoons on Pee-wee’s Playhouse. Now that is what you call versatility.
Featured Image: MGM