1974’s ‘Sugar Hill’: Blaxploitation by Way of American International Pictures (review)

Not to be confused with the Wesley Snipes movie of the same name. Sugar (Marki Bey) is a fine sista madly in love with her man Langston (Larry Don Johnson), owner of a popular nightclub. Morgan—The Man—(Robert Quarry) wants to buy it, and when Langston refuses, Morgan orders his gang of thugs to beat Langston to death. Sugar is inconsolable, and decides to kill them all. With the help of voodoo god Baron Samedi (Don Pedro Colley), they raise an army of zombies to exact systematic revenge on Morgan and his lackeys.

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I first heard of Sugar Hill while watching The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made. The trailer didn’t arouse my curiosity so much as the tagline: “Meet Sugar Hill and her zombie hitmen.” I have to disagree with its placement in Worst Movies—I enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s cheesy and melodramatic, no doubt, but not painfully so. Of course it has corny 1970s touches, like characters saying “dynamite” and “I can dig it.” The dialogue as a whole is a little rough on the ears; when no one is spouting racial slurs or clichés, they’re saying things like, “It’s the whole setup I don’t like! I don’t like the whole setup!”

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So…’70s…

Overall though I found a lot to like. Sugar is a tough, likable character. The acting could be better, but it’s passable. My favorite performances were by the zombies; they’re pretty creepy with their cobwebby faces and bulbous glassy fish eyes. The special effects as a whole are pretty good.

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On the whole, the racism is kept to a minimum (for the time period), it’s highly entertaining, often amusing, and even a little eerie. Check it out if you’re in the mood for a badass woman sticking it to The Man—with the undead.

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Published by GhoulieJoe

I wuvs the horror movies and like to write snarky reviews about them. I also included some pretentious as hell microfiction (don't worry, it's at the bottom).

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