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Monday, February 28, 2011

Scream Blacula Scream (1973) - Horror Blaxsploitation

Scream Blacula Scream (1973) - Mamuwalde is back in the second Blacula movie. Joan Torres, Raymond Koenig and Maurice Jules penned the screenplay in which Blacula is returned to the world through voodoo. It seems it was to be the height of the careers in writing for all three. Director Bob Kelljan keeps the story moving as he works to try to break the curse, before he has too many minions to deal with. One of the good things about this particular vampire set of films is every time someone feeds on a human that human then becomes a vampire. Unlike the modern myths where an exchange of blood or some such thing more intentional is required. Here the very act of feeding can quickly create a mass of vamps that will soon get out of control. They also hold true to the myth that the vampire that created you has power over you but if he is not paying attention then you can run amok. Ah such a simpler time.
This story focuses around a voodoo group and Willis (Richard Lawson) who expects to become leader when the matriarch dies. Unfortunately for him she fails to name him leader and the arrogant bastard storms off looking for a way to get back a them. Lisa (Pam Grier in a very cardboard performance) becomes the new keeper of the lore and this sits poorly with Willis. He seeks out another witch doctor who gives him the bones of Blacula (William Marshall) saying they are very powerful. Willis takes them and performs a ritual which mistakenly raises the blood sucker from the beyond. As these things go naturally Blacula does not just do what Willis wants instead turning him into a vampire and starting to way towards the earlier mentioned group of vampires.
Back in the modern world Blacula goes to check out some African artwork at a party Willis's girlfriend is holding and there he meets Lisa. He learns about voodoo and scopes the next woman he is going to bite. There are a lot of vampire feeding scenes in this movie and I am not sure that this is so much better than the endless cop procedural in the first Blacula film. Some very effective scenes though like Lisa's friend Gloria (Janee Michelle) returning hoping to prey on her. "Lisa, I won't hurt you I'm your friend" luckily Blacula arrives to control her and then we get the bulk of the plot for the vampire. He wants to end his curse, live his life out and to do this he wants Lisa to use voodoo.
At the same time Lisa's boyfriend Justin Carter (Don Mitchell) is playing the role as the guy figuring out who Mamuwalde is and he like the Dr. Gordon Thomas in the earlier film determines it is a vampire that is causing the mysterious deaths in the area. His role is not as compelling as Gordon but he does have a scene where he and Blacula verbally spar. So when Lisa vanishes he is there to go searching for her. Unlike the earlier film when the police chase the vampires and have little luck using there gun, in this film they are armed with stakes for the raid on Blaucala's lair. They fair a lot better and considering there is upwards of 10 vampires in the place it is a good thing.
Lisa tries her best to break the spell put on Mamuwalde as the police roam through the house getting closer and closer to them. The voodoo seems to be working with five minutes left in the film as the battle in the house between good and evil reaches a climax. The music of drums and strings works to build the drama. When the spell is interrupted Blacula grabs her and says they must leave so they will have a chance to try again. Justin and the cops are no match for the vampire but the voodoo doll used for the ritual now becomes key in Lisa protecting her man. In all there are a lot of things that work in this movie. Is it a great movie no but the nice way it mixes voodoo and vampires really works.
Rating (5.8) 5.0 and up are recommended In the Zombiegrrlz system Rent It!

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