Film #366: SUGAR HILL
3 out of 5 stars
A classic in the horror/Blaxploitation genre (which would include films like the previously reviewed ABBY). What makes this film so fascinating is a) it’s actually pretty good and b) it returns the “zombie” genre to its voodoo roots. The look of the film is vintage ‘70s (the film was made in 1974) with the men wearing garish suits and saying things like (I kid you not) “Dynamite!” and “Solid!” The main actress, Marki Bey, is beautiful and does a good job (although her wardrobe and hair keep changing seemingly randomly), but for scenery chewing nothing beats Don Pedro Colley (THX 1138) as The Baron Samedi who spends most of the film looking wide-eyed and laughing like Geoffrey Holder who starred in LIVE AND LET DIE (oddly as Baron Samedi in that film) and as the “Cola Nut… UNCola nut!” guy in 7-Up commercials. The zombies themselves are actually pretty creepy and exude a real menace rather than just being shambling corpses. I looked for this film for a LONG time and, quite frankly, was afraid it would not live up to my expectations. Thankfully, I liked SUGAR HILL a lot. It’s dated and, when you get right down to it, kind of silly, but dammit it works! As of right now, it’s not available on DVD, but it does appear on AMC periodically and there are rumors of it making it ways to a home video release. Put this one on your Must See list, kids.