Scream Blacula, Scream follows closely in the path of its predecessor, exhibiting many of the same quirks from the first film, from the delightfully lo-fi effects (the animated bat transformation scenes combine live action with a Scooby Doo-like sensibility) to Blacula being embraced by the hip party crowd as some kind of brooding, trend-setting figure. He even has his own Renfield this time around in the guise of his jive-talkin’ heroically-coiffured minion (Richard Lawson). Elsewhere, genre icon Pam Grier is cast as the object of Mamuwalde’s affections. Although both films manage to deliver some genuinely unnerving and well-crafted scares, on the whole, they lack dramatic bite. Budgetary restrictions offer a narrow visual scope which isn’t helped by the plodding, stagy pace (maddeningly slow at times). Most frustrating however, is the scant sociological insight in either feature.
It’s no surprise to learn that the film’s directors (William Crain and Bob Kelljan, respectively) were small screen journeymen, and they do little to conjure up the same trashy pizzazz and slyly subversive eye of genre stalwart Jack Hill (Foxy Brown and Coffy). The films’ saving grace is undoubtedly Marshall, and the late actor is charming and commanding in the titular role, managing to remain a formidable presence under some admittedly schlocky make-up. He easily summons up the same tortured gravitas of his Hammer counterparts from that era. It’s a shame the two films simply can’t match his classy turn, and what we’re left with are intermittently entertaining but largely forgettable entries into the sub-genre.