Sunday, October 18, 2009

Blacula Dynamite: Hasty Scrawls from the Precipice of Too Busy

I'm jam-packed with work and a music show to review for the SunBreak tonight, then more work tomorrow, so today's missive will be brief, meandering, and nuts.

First, a plug for a non-horror flick hitting theaters this weekend.

I caught Black Dynamite at the Seattle International Film Festival a few months back, and I haven't laughed so gut-constrictingly hard since Borat. It's a blaxploitation parody so funny that you don't have to be a Black Action Cinema aficionado to appreciate it; yet it reproduces that era so spot-perfectly that it coulda fit right in on a double bill with Coffy or Dolemite back in the day. BD belongs in that great pantheon of movies-spoofing-movies inhabited by Airplane and Young Frankenstein. Go see it before you throw your bucks at the sure-to-be-good Where the Wild Things AreBD needs the money much more, and you won't regret it. Believe it , Bruthas and Sistas.

About the only afro-centric 70's flick that doesn't get Dynamited in BD is Blacula, the 1970's redux of the classic bloodsucker that's available on the Soul Cinema imprint (how's that for a segue?). Entertainment Weekly, in its (justified) praise of Wesley Snipes' badassed Blade, took a decidedly unjustified swipe at Blacula as 'minstrelsy'. Oh, well, it's not the first time EW's hit the crack pipe too hard.

William Marshall plays the title character, an African prince vampirized by the original Drac and sealed in a coffin for 100 years. He's set loose upon modern LA, and this being the Bell-Bottom Era it's one awesome ride. Booty-shaking songs by The Hues Corporation, some real shocks (the scene in the morgue with character great Elisha Cook Jr. getting attacked still sets me to a'shudderin'), primo fashions...and Marshall gives a world-shakingly great performance as Blacula. Proud, menacing yet elegant, his rich baritone giving even the pulpiest lines rock-of-Gibraltar gravitas (he was a world-class Shakespearean thespian earlier in his career), he's one of the cinema's greatest vampires; brainless EW revisionism be damned.

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