Referenced as “Dracula’s soul brother” in the film trailer, Blacula is the story an African prince who is bitten by Dracula, the vampire count of Transylvania. Set in 1780, Mamuwalde (William Marshall), accompanied by his wife, Princess Luva (Vonetta McGee), was sent by the council of elders of the fictionalized dynasty, Eboni, to meet with Dracula. The prince sought aid in ending the trafficking of Africans into the European-dominated slave trade.
Dracula rudely rebuffs Mamuwalde and has his henchmen guards restrain the prince. Being vulnerable, Dracula curses him as “Blacula” and bites Mamuwalde, thus converting him into a vampire. He is then sealed in a coffin within a crypt, where Luva is also to be imprisoned for the remainder of her life.
The setting of Blacula is then projected to the present year, 1972. Two interior decorators, Billy (Rick Metzler) and Bobby (Ted Harris), are in a Los Angeles warehouse, inventorying items they purchased at an estate sale. Among those items is the coffin of Blacula. Upon opening it, they awaken a starving Blacula who bites them both, turning them into vampires. Wondering of his wife, he realizes that he is in another time and space. As he tries to adjust to the transition of being in a totally new environment, he also battles to retain his humanity although suffering vampirism.
When Blacula visits the funeral home where Bobby’s body is laid to rest in a coffin, he sees several of Bobby’s friends in mourning. They are Dr. Gordon Thomas (Thalmus Rasulala); his girlfriend, Michelle Williams (Denise Nicholas); and Michelle’s sister, Tina Williams (also played by Vonetta McGee). Blacula believes that Tina is Luva reincarnated.