Article 2734 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-31-2008
Posting Date: 2-6-2009
Directed by William Crain
Featuring William Marshall, Vonetta McGee, Denise Nicholas
When a black prince visits the castle of Count Dracula, he is turned into a vampire and sealed in a coffin. He is finally released from his bondage in modern times, and he meets a woman who resembles his long-dead wife.
The direction is fairly weak and the script could use a revision or two, but this blaxploitation horror movie works well anyway. Part of the reason is that the acting is quite good, especially from classically-trained William Marshall in the title role; he imbues his character with a genuine sense of tragedy, and this adds a dimension to the movie it might not otherwise have. There’s none of the annoying jive talk that marred the sequel here; in fact, the movie is generally free from black stereotypes (though other stereotypes show up). Outside of Marshall, the most familiar name in the cast to me is Elisha Cook, but his role as a morgue attendant is so small that he barely has anything to do, though I did hope he would show up as a vampire eventually. One thing I did like about this movie is that it actually addresses the fact that a vampire on the loose might well result in a plague of vampirism, a fact that many other vampire movies overlook. I also like the fact that the detective on the case shows some forethought in his dealing with vampires, though his inconsistency in this regard in the later scenes is one of the script problems that should have been fixed.