BLACULA OST / COMPOSER: GENE PAGE / LABEL: MUSIC ON VINYL / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
The 1972 William Crain-directed blaxpolitation horror film, Blacula, is rightly regarded as a classic of both genres thanks to the gravitas brought to the role by actor William Marshall, who originally came to fame portraying Shakespeare's Othello. Composer Gene Page's score – as well as the original songs written by his brother, Billy Page, along with Wally Holmes – give the picture a modern feel, bringing a sense of soul to the old-world style of Marshall's vampire.
While there are some gems among the vocal offerings, the instrumental cuts are the real star of the show on this album. With titles like “Blacula (The Stalkwalk),” “Movin',” and “Blacula Strikes!,” the sense of movement is readily apparent before the needle's even touched vinyl, but hearing the score spin out on one's turntable reveals an irresistible and propulsive groove. The fuzzed-out “Good To The Last Drop,” which kicks off the second side of the LP, is a stone-cold jam worthy of any dance party, but Page also is able to work in a more mellow mood, with “The Call” and its harpsichord evoking a dreamy, almost European style.
It's the final track which really brings Page's score full circle, however. “Wakeeli (Swahili Farewell)” uses Swahili water drums and a harpsichord to create a sound which is is both baroque and paying homage to Prince Mamuwalde's heritage as part of the Abani African nation at the same time. The track ends the album on a high, and it's a shame when the needle finally hits the runout groove.
Just like the 45th anniversary pressing previously released by the label, the spot varnish and embossing for Blacula's face on the cover is a nice touch, and a little fancier than Music on Vinyl / At the Movies usually does things, making this a stylish upgrade from the original pressing. The silver and black marbled vinyl is even better looking than the 2017 Record Store Day release, which was itself on fairly banal “bloody red” wax.
It's rare that a second run of a repress can outdo the original, but this is more than just another chance to snag a record – it's the best version yet, with a better colorway and a very nicely upgraded version of the original jacket. Limited to 666 copies, it's sure to disappear soon, making this one to grab as soon as possible.