In William Crain’s 1972 Blaxploitation cult classic Blacula, an 18th century Nigerian prince is unwittingly transformed into a vampire by the Dracula after unsuccessfully petitioning the legendary ghoul for help in destroying the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. The original Blacula’s premise was distinct and novel when the movie first premiered, and MGM’s banking on it being the sort of story that current day audiences want to see more of.
Variety reports that Deon Taylor (Fatale) has signed on to direct and co-write with Micah Ranum (The Silencing) a new Blacula reboot set in the modern day that will explore many of the same themes featured in the original, though according to the trade “the reboot picks up where the original saga left off, after the 1973 sequel Scream Blacula Scream, and will be set in a metropolitan city post-coronavirus pandemic.”
The movie’s official description gives even more background: “Blacula is an ancient African prince who is cursed by Dracula after he fails to agree to end the slave trade. Blacula is entombed and awakens 200 years later ready to avenge the death of his ancestors and of those responsible for robbing his people of their work, culture, and heritage as they appropriated it for profit.”
Right off the bat, MGM’s new Blacula feels very much in line with the current wave of horror and other genre fiction that’s attempted to address and unpack the complexities of anti-Black racism. What’s going to end up determining whether the reboot can hold a candle to the original movie, and stand out in today’s pop cultural landscape, is if it has a genuinely interesting story beyond its obvious nostalgic appeal.