40th Anniversary of 1974 Black Horror Movies

1974 Black Horror1

During the 1970’s Black filmmakers found their voices by making films that spoke to urban audiences in a way that had never been done before. Films like Sugar Hill, Abby, The Zebra Killers and so many more packed theaters with audiences hungry for Horror Movies where the Black Guy didn’t die first. 40 years later, Black horror films have made a lasting impact within the Black community. These films are national treasures and should be a part of any film collection. The Museum of UnCut Funk pays homage to the Blaxpolitation Horror films of 1974.

Abby – A woman who is possessed by an African sex spirit. The film stars Carol Speed and William H. Marshall (best known for portraying the lead role in Blacula) and Terry Carter. It was directed by William Girdler, who co-wrote the film’s story with screenwriter Gordon Cornell Layne.

The Beast Must Die – The millionaire Tom Newcliffe played by Calvin Lockhart, invites a group of people to spend some time at his rural English mansion, along with his wife Caroline, played by Marlene Clark, where he reveals that one of them is a werewolf and therefore must be killed. The Beast Must Die was directed by Paul Annett and the screenplay was written by Michael Winder, based on the short story “There Shall Be No Darkness” by James Blish. 

Black Mamba – Notorious for depicting an autopsy performed on a real human corpse. The film stars John Ashley.

The House on Skull Mountain – Pauline Christophe, the sole heir for the house on Skull Mountain dies and four of her family members are called to hear the reading of her will. Upon arrival, each of the guests is stalked by a skeleton in a robe, and begin to meet their deaths. Now, it’s up to the few who are left to figure out who or what is killing them off, and how they can escape from The House on Skull Mountain. Starring Mike Evans as Phillipe Wilette and Ella Woods as Louette.

Sugar Hill – The story centers on a voodoo queen using zombies to take revenge on a group of white gangsters: helping her out is the voodoo lord of the dead, Baron Samedi. The zombies in this film more closely resemble the creatures of voodoo legend – i.e., the walking dead who do the bidding of a human master – than the flesh-eating “living dead” ghouls popularized by George A. Romero. According to the film, the zombies are the preserved bodies of slaves brought to the United States from Guinea. Sugar Hill stars Marki Bey as the title character and was produced by American International Pictures

Old Dracula (aka Vampira) – Count Dracula is an old vampire who, because of his advanced age, is forced to host tours of his castle to get new victims. In an attempt to revive his long-lost love, Vampira, Dracula sets out to collect blood from the bevy of Playboy Playmates living at his castle. However, one of the Playmates whose blood is drained is Black, turning the revived Vampira into a Black woman.

Dracula enthralls the hapless Marc to collect blood from three white women in hopes of restoring Vampira’s original skin color. Dracula transfuses the blood into her but she is unchanged; however, her bite turns Dracula black. Marc and his love Angela race to destroy Dracula but are taken aback upon seeing Dracula’s new skin tone. Their surprise gives the vampires time to slip away to catch a flight to Rio for Carnival. Old Dracula stars Teresa Graves.

The Zebra Killer (aka Panic City, aka Combat Cops) – A man is raping and killing young women in San Francisco. All fingers point to Lt. Savage played by Austin Stoker, but when his girlfriend is brutally murdered by this homicidal maniac, things get personal! Starring Juanita Moore, Austin Stoker, James Pickett, Hugh Smith, Charles Kissinger, Valerie Rogers, Tom Brooks, D Urville Martin, Ruby Brown, Harriet Knox.

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