Of all the reboots announced recently, probably one of the most surprising additions to the list is the Blaxploitation film of the 70s, Blacula. The 1972 cult horror movie, which starred William Marshall in the title role is reportedly being brought back by MGM, Bron and Hidden Empire Film Group for a whole new generation.
Variety reports that while being a reboot of the long dead franchise, the movie will actually serve as a new chapter in the story that began in Blacula and continued in its sequel,Scream Blacula Scream, which released the following year. The new movie will apparently updated the setting to a “metropolitan city post-coronavirus pandemic.”
The Blacula reboot will be directed by Meet the Blacks and The Intruder‘s Deon Taylor, who will also be co-writing the script with Micah Ranum. In a statement, Taylor discussed why he feels it is the right time to reboot the franchise for a new audience.
“Blacula is arguably one of the most prestigious Black franchises and so important to the culture as it birthed a groundswell of Blaxploitation-horror films, which changed the game for how our people were seen on the big screen. 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. Thank you to Aaron, Brenda and team Bron as well as everyone at MGM for joining us on this adventure. We promise to bring new life to the iconic ‘Blacula‘ character that will resonate with audiences worldwide!”
Coming shortly after movies such as Shaft, Blacula told the story of an African prince who paid a visit to Count Dracula to ask for him to stop the Atlantic slave trade. The Count refuses and instead puts a curse on the prince, who awakens two hundred years later to wreak vengeance on those who have profited and robbed his people of their heritage. It kick stated a wave of horror movies by and featuring black stars. Following the release of Blacula, the genre went on to deliver Dr Black & Mr Hyde, Blackenstein and Abby, a movie loosely based on The Exorcist.
On its release, Blacula had a mixed bag of reviews, with some praising it for being more satisfying than many other Dracula based efforts to come in the wake of Bela Lugosi’s memorable take on the vampire, while others, such as a recent review by Kim Newman isn’t as positive, saying the plot is “formulaic and full of holes.” The movie currently has a 50% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Whether the new take on the movie can rectify some of the issues of its source material is something we will just have to wait and see. With the movie only just announced, it could be a while yet before we see any real details on the reboot.
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