Sugar Hill (1974)


Title: Sugar Hill
Released: 1974
Director: Paul Maslansky
Rating: PG

Sugar Hill manages to cross many genres successfully.  This polyester clad film blurs the lines between zombie horror, revenge and blaxploitation with a few comical moments to boot. (Potential spoilers ahead!) 

While a little more of a mainstream feature, the Louisiana set Sugar Hill manages to firmly land in the upper tier of trash cinema. The story revolves around Diana “Sugar” Hill (Marki Bey) whose fiance, Langston (Larry D. Johnson) gets beaten to death by some thugs for not selling his bar, Club Haiti, to their boss, Mr. Morgan (Robert Quarry). Diana contacts voodoo priestess, Mama Maitresse (Zara Cully) to help her exact revenge on the criminals that killed Langston. Mama Maitresse conjurs up a voodoo god named Baron Samedi (pronounced Szahm-dee) played by Don Pedro Colley.

At this point, the plot is pretty predictable. Samedi raises an army of the dead from a long forgotten slave graveyard in the bayou to aid Sugar in her quest for vengeance . The interesting point about this is that the zombies are really a mix of classic voodoo zombies from early horror movies and the more modern, Romero-esque creatures. The special effects in Sugar Hill are very basic – Essentially fog machines and body paint. The zombies have silver orbs for eyes. This one little detail makes the movie immeasurably more watchable, as it really accents a separation from the living, and helps you to believe these are really the undead. Had it just been some dark makeup around the eyes, the whole movie would have seemed a lot more flat.

While there isn’t any notable nudity or sex, Marki Bey manages to keep us entertained by looking absolutely stunning throughout the movie.  She’s also one tough chick, and certainly not someone to mess with…lest you get eaten alive by hungry pigs.  I think my favorite character was  actually Baron Samedi.  I loved the way he blended in to the environment, posing as everything from a bartender to a groundskeeper.  Be on the lookout for the Blu-ray scheduled for a summer 2015 release… I know I will!

Bottom Line: Fun from start to finish – a worthy addition to any collection!

Sugar Hill


  • Overall
  • Leisure Suits
  • Plot Complexity
Similar posts
  • Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988) Title: Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers Released: 1988 Director: Fred Olen Ray Rating: R With the recent passing of screen legend, Gunnar Hansen on November 7, 2015, I thought I would revisit the classic Fred Olen Ray film,  “Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers”. Array [...]
  • Student Bodies (1981) Title: Student Bodies Released: 1981 Director: Mickey Rose, Michael Ritchie Rating: R I recently purchased Student Bodies,  and had low expectations. I assumed my childhood self found it much funnier than I would at present.  I was pleasantly surprised at how well the film held up over the years, and how funny it still was. Array [...]
  • The Cut Throats (1969) Title: The Cut-Throats Released: 1969 Director: John Hayes Rating: X (By 1969 standards) The Cut-Throats is an exploitation film for sure. It’s not quite an action movie, not quite nazisploitation.  I suppose you could generalize, and call it sexploitation, but even then, it seems a stretch.  (Potential spoilers ahead!) Array [...]
  • Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the S... Title: Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural Released: 1973 Director: Richard Blackburn Rating: PG  Mix a wholesome, innocent church girl with an estranged gangster for a father with a litany of the “deadly sins”, vampires and barking zombies, you essentially have Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural . (Potential spoilers ahead!) Array [...]
  • Crash! (1977) Title: Crash! Released: 1977 Director: Charles Band Rating: PG Crash! is a good example of the vehicular mayhem movies that were popular in the 1970’s-80’s.  While many people have likened it to Stephen King’s Christine, I feel it is a very different movie.  (Potential spoilers ahead!) [...]