“Blacula” is leaving the coffin.
MGM, Bron and Hidden Empire Film Group’s Deon and Roxanne Avent Taylor are teaming up for a reboot of the blaxploitation horror classic.
The new film is a modern reimagining of the 1972 movie, directed by William Crain and starring William Marshall as Blacula. 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.
A description of “Blacula” teases how the movie will update the classic story, as it follows the vampire as he “thirsts for vengeance”:
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 will direct the project, based on a script co-written with Micah Ranum. Roxanne Avent Taylor is producing the movie on behalf of Hidden Empire Film Group.
“’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,” Deon Taylor said in a statement announcing the new project.
“Growing up in Gary, IN, I loved watching ‘Blacula’ and was so proud that Richard Brown was a fellow Gary native,” he added. “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!”
Originally released in 1972 by American International Pictures,“Blacula” went on to become one of the highest-grossing films of the year and has established a legacy for its Black ensemble cast (which included Denise Nicholas and the late Vonetta McGee and Thalmus Rasulala). The movie was later acquired by MGM through the studio’s acquisition of Orion Pictures.
Aaron L. Gilbert will produce on behalf of Bron, with DJ Holloway managing the project.
“I am thrilled to be collaborating with Deon, Roxanne, and the team at Hidden Empire — all proven forces to be reckoned with, on ‘Blacula,’” Gilbert said of the film. “It is my hope that our reimagining of the film will open a dialogue among us.”
Bron and Hidden Empire previously collaborated on the 2013 feature “Supremacy,” and BRON also partnered with the Taylors’ nonprofit organization Climb on its Be Woke voter-registration campaign, created in 2020.
News of the “Blacula” reboot comes as Hidden Empire Film Group, an independent film company, is riding high off the impressive launch of their horror comedy “The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2,” which topped the specialty box office in its first weekend of limited release with a $1 million haul and $2,408 per-screen average.