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Happy Birthday Blacula Director William Crain

The name William Crain might not be familiar to a lot of horror or exploitation fans; however, his short but intense filmography has left a lasting mark on pop culture. Before Crain rolled an inch of celluloid, he broke ground on the small screen as the first African American to direct episodic television. The show in question was the ultra groovy hit The Mod Squad, then in its third season. Of course it wasn’t easy to break into a white dominated profession, but with hard work and grit, William made his dreams a reality. Shortly after his small screen debut, Sam Arkoff at American International Pictures came knocking with an idea - an African American twist on a classic movie monster. William wasn’t thrilled with the title, Count Brown is in Town, but with a title tweak and a stellar cast that included Shakespearian trained William Marshall in the title role, Blacula was set to go before in the cameras. With a blend of genuine horror, humor, and lots of seventies groove, Blacula thrilled audiences and AIP had an unexpected hit on their hands. After Blacula, surprisingly Crain returned to the small screen to do Starsky and Hutch, SWAT, and The Rookies. He finally returned to the big screen with yet another blaxploitation horror hybrid entitled Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde. To date it was his last feature film.
I had the extreme pleasure to do several interviews William for an upcoming book and I found him to be a witty, smart and interesting person. He shared many great stories about the making of his cult classic as well as hinted at a return to the big screen. While he only made two feature films, their lasting legacy in pop culture is undeniable, so I raise my glass of blood to you, Mr. William Crain, on your birthday!
Below is a complete filmography.


  • 2016 Nothing as It Seems (Short)
  • 1990 Designing Women (TV Series) (1 episode)
  • 1984-1985 Matt Houston (TV Series) (2 episodes)
  • 1979 The Dukes of Hazzard (TV Series)
  • 1976 Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde
  • 1974-1975 The Rookies (TV Series) (3 episodes)
  • 1975 S.W.A.T. (TV Series) (1 episode)
  • 1975 Starsky and Hutch (TV Series) (2 episodes)
  • 1971 The Mod Squad (TV Series) (1 episode)

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

  • 1971 Brother John (intern director - uncredited)


  • 1976 Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde (associate producer)

Posted by Mike Vaughn

Michael Vaughn is a cult film historian and has been featured in magazines such as Scream (UK) and Fangoria as well as websites like Films in Review –Currently he has a book coming out entitled The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema. Instagram castle_anger https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Guide-Strange-Cinema/dp/0764354280

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