Blacula is rising from the dead once again. A Blacula reboot is in the works at MGM, which is teaming up with Bron and the Hidden Empire Film Group for a “modern reimagining” of the 1972 Blaxploitation horror classic.
Variety reports that MGM, Bron, and Hidden Empire Film Group’s Deon and Roxanne Avent Taylor are teaming up to reboot Blacula, a modern reimagining that will pick up where the original saga left off with 1973’s Scream Blacula Scream. It apparently will be very timely, taking place a metropolitan city post-coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s the description for the Blacula reboot, per Variety:
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.
Deon Taylor (the Hilary Swank-starring erotic thriller Fatale) will direct the Blacula reboot, from a script co-written with Micah Ranum. Roxanne Avent Taylor is producing the movie on behalf of Hidden Empire Film Group. Aaron L. Gilbert will produce on behalf of Bron, with DJ Holloway managing the project.
“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,” Taylor said in a statement announcing the new project. Taylor emphasized the importance of the original Blacula, which was directed by William Crain and starred William Marshall as the African prince who gets turned into a vampire by the legendary Count Dracula:
“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!”
Looking Back at Blacula
Originally released in 1972 by American International Pictures, Blacula was a low-budget horror movie that unexpectedly turned into a box office sensation, becoming one of the highest-grossing films of the year. It was hailed for its majority-Black ensemble, led by Marshall and including Denise Nicholas and the late Vonetta McGee and Thalmus Rasulala, and has been embraced as a touchstone of Blaxploitation cinema.
Despite its campy-sounding name, it was not a satire but a straightforward horror film, inspiring a wave of Blaxploitation-themed horror movies that would follow. It also spawned a sequel Scream Blacula Scream in 1973. The movie was later acquired by MGM through the studio’s acquisition of Orion Pictures. by Hoai-Tran Bui