HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Werewolf
Little Monsters
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Horrible Histories: The Movie - Rotten Romans
Pentathlon
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Driven
Planet of the Dinosaurs
Gwen
Big Breadwinner Hog
Thunder Road
Moby Dick
Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie
Mad Room, The
Phantom of the Megaplex
Night Sitter, The
Child's Play
Power, The
Midsommar
After Midnight
Dolemite is My Name
Varda by Agnes
Toy Story 4
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy
Man Who Never Was, The
Greener Grass
Scobie Malone
Gangster, the Cop, the Devil, The
Brightburn
Satanic Panic
Claudine
   
 
Newest Articles
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
   
 
  Sugar Hill Voodoo VocationBuy this film here.
Year: 1974
Director: Paul Maslansky
Stars: Marki Bey, Robert Quarry, Don Pedro Colley, Betty Anne Rees, Richard Lawson, Zara Cully, Charles Robinson, Larry Don Johnson, Rick Hagood, Ed Geldart, Albert J. Baker, Raymond E. Simpson, Truman Carroll, 'Big Walter' Price, Charles Krohn, J. Randall Bell
Genre: Horror
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: A voodoo ceremony: the worshippers gyrate, the drums beat, the chicken is sacrificed, and the tension increases in intensity until... it's the end of the nightclub show and they all leave the stage area to allow the customers a chance to buy another drink or two. Langston (Larry Don Johnson) is the owner, and should be very pleased with himself, not least because he has the support of his beautiful photographer girlfriend Diana "Sugar" Hill (Marki Bey), but there's a fly in the ointment: local gangster Morgan (Robert Quarry). He is demanding Langston hand over the nightclub, and there's no way that is going to happen - so the mobster resorts to violence. And murder.

Ah, there's nothing like seeing a chicken sacrifice to build a thirst on a night out, right? According to this blaxploitation horror, at any rate, for this was one of AIP’s tries at melding that thriller genre with chillers, as after all they had enjoyed a fair-sized hit with Blacula, a title that told you everything you wanted to know. Others followed, there was the sequel Scream Blacula Scream, or similar knock-offs Blackenstein or Dr Black, Mr Hyde, but there were damn few of these to embrace the actual black culture of supernatural belief as seen with the voodoo religion. Its main precedent had really been the Bela Lugosi effort White Zombie all the way back in the nineteen-thirties.

So a bit of a gap, then, though that's not to say voodoo in horror stayed off the screen completely throughout that time, and it’s also not to say Sugar Hill was the film to reassert it as a major force in entertainment. This was largely thanks to the zombies it used: since George A. Romero, the concept had become synonymous with the flesh-eating undead, but the zombies in this were not going to take a bite out of anybody, what they did was shamble up to their victims and use more "conventional" means of murder, such as a blade or strangulation. It wasn't all conventional, of course, as one of the heavies who dies is picked up and plonked in a pen to be eaten by ravenous pigs (!).

Why is this deemed necessary by Sugar? Simply because Langston doesn't make it to the ten minute mark in the movie, having been set upon by Morgan's goons and murdered. Sugar wants revenge, so visits a voodoo priestess, Mama Maitresse (Zara Cully from sitcom The Jeffersons), who introduces her to the sinister Baron Samedi, this appearing the year after the James Bond effort Live and Let Die had cemented the character in the public's mind. Don Pedro Colley essayed the role as the top-hatted, gold-toothed, often laughing force from the netherworld who merely demands a sacrifice so he can get on with fulfilling Sugar's wishes. Seemingly all the deaths of the bad guys are not enough, and there are indications the Baron wants Sugar to toy with her soul for all eternity, but he ain't getting her.

As this was a seventies-style PG horror, there was no nudity and not much gore, so what will be more shocking now are the racial slurs bandied about by the villains, marking them out as wrong 'uns. Quarry had grown tired of being cast as AIP's new horror star, and he was never going to be as popular as Vincent Price in that respect, but while Price left AIP that year as well as Quarry, he continued to be successful and Quarry's career foundered, since he wanted to branch out and nobody was interested in helping with that. With a Southern accent here, he summed up the pre-Civil War prejudices and atrocities, as the zombies are the reanimated corpses of dead slaves, but he was typecast as a baddie for a reason, you couldn't imagine him playing anything else with any degree of warmth. Bey, on the other hand, was charismatic enough to have you wonder why she didn't have a longer spell in front of the camera, but it was probably due to being regarded as strictly decorative. As it was, there was a lot of padding in Sugar Hill, and it did drag, but it was a little different for blaxploitation. Music by Dino Fekaris and Nick Zesses (dig the theme song!).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 251 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: