Directed by: Bob Kelljan
Starring: William Marshall, Don Mitchell, Pam Grier, Michael Conrad, Richard Lawson and Lynne Moody
Written by: Joan Torres, Raymond Koenig and Maurice Jules
Runtime: 96 minutes
Release Date: June 27, 1973
SCREAM BLACULA SCREAM (1973) begins at the bed-side of a dying Voodoo queen, Mama Loa. Once she has passed, we learn that her successor is to be Lisa Fortier (Pam Grier) and not her own flesh and blood son, Willis (Richard Lawson). Outraged by this decision, Willis seeks the bones of the dead black vampire prince Mamuwalde (William Marshall), resurrecting him using Voodoo magic. Willis intends to control the vampire to do his bidding against those who crossed him, a rather foolish notion that backfires quickly.
Once awakened, Mamuwalde bites Willis turning him into his own slave. Later in the evening we meet Justin Carter (Don Mitchell), a former police officer turned collector of African antiquities. Mamuwalde appears at a party showcasing Carter’s collection, and unbeknownst to Carter, many of the assembled pieces on display are from the region from where Mamuwalde originates. It’s here that Mamuwalde identifies a piece of jewelry worn by his wife Luva.
As the film continues, Mamuwalde meets Lisa and discovers that she’s become the new Voodoo high priestess. Mamuwalde protects Lisa from the other risen dead, wanting to leverage her Voodoo skills in an attempt to lift his vampire curse. The ceremony is interrupted by local police and Lisa has second thoughts about finishing the ritual because she now clearly sees Mamuwalde for what he truly is.
SCREAM BLACULA SCREAM is a direct sequel to the hit Blaxploitation horror film, BLACULA (1972). Like its predecessor, BLACULA, the storyline is fairly linear in nature with the primary difference being Mamuwalde seeks a cure for his vampirism. As far as the script goes, this one picks up right where BLACULA left off and simply rolls forward with the plot. In regards to performances, William Marshall plays Blacula his role magnificently (similar to that of the first film). Pam Grier does a serviceable job as the leading lady despite her character being somewhat passive. My biggest gripe with the film is the ending. I won’t give the concluding moments away because the film is worth a look, but I’ll say it leaves a lot to be desired and was clearly written this way for another BLACULA film which never happened.
SCREAM BLACULA SCREAM was directed by Bob Kelljan, shot by Isidore Mankofsky and edited by Fabien D. Tordjmann. It was produced and distributed by American International Pictures and released in June of 1973. As a director, Kelljan spent a lot of his time in television, yet managed to direct such films as COUNT YORGA VAMPIRE (1971), THE RETURN OF COUNT YORGA (1971) and ACT OF VENGEANCE (1974). As a cinematographer, Mankofsky shot films such as WEREWOLVES ON WHEELS (1971), TRICK BABY (1972) and THE MUPPET MOVIE (1979). Mankofsky had a solid career with a total of 92 credits to his resume. Last but not least, Tordjmann started his editing career on the original Star Trek television series in 1966 with credit for working on 22 episodes. He worked mostly in television after SCREAM BLACULA SCREAM up until 1993.
Though not as solid as the first film in the series, SCREAM BLACULA SCREAM manages to be a fun watch. The story is linear in nature, adding nothing new to the vampire mythos. However, William Marshall as Blacula and Pam Grier as the hapless Voodoo priestess make it well worth your time.
Contributed by: Mike Murphy