Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sugar Hill (1974)

Director: Paul Maslansky

Starring: Marki Bey, Robert Quarry & Don Pedro Colley

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: She's sweet as sugar... with a voodoo army of the undead!

Plot: When her boyfriend is brutally murdered, after refusing to be shaken down by the local gangsters running their protection racket, Sugar Hill, decides not to get mad, but BAD! Calling upon the help of aged voodoo queen Mama Maitresse, Sugar entreats her to call upon Baron Zamedi, the Lord of the Dead, for help in gaining a gruesome revenge. In exchange for her soul, the Dark Master raises up a zombie army to do her bidding. The bad guys who thought they were getting away clean are about to find out that they're DEAD wrong.

My Rating: 4.5/10

Would I watch it again? no

#15 on Blaxploiteasin' (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

#6 on Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Trash-o-Rama Show Vol. 1 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

#18 on 42nd Street Forever Vol. 2: The Deuce (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

I've seen the trailer many times and had looked forward to the day that I would get around to watching it. The wait is over. Well it seemed like a good idea a the time.

The story is simple. Sugar's man gets beaten to death by local mobsters who wanted to buy out his club. Sugar wants revenge and seeks it via a voodoo priestess, Mama Maitresse, who summons Baron Samedi. The Baron, in exchange for Sugar's soul, gives her command of a bunch of zombies to kill everyone she wants dead.

That sounds like fun, right? As it so's boring. The acting is OK but you've got Bey as a low-rent Pam Grier & Colley as a low-rent Geoffrey Holder (who played the same character WAY better a year earlier in LIVE AND LET DIE). That hurts the picture because you know they could've done something better. But with that aside, they don't really hurt the picture all that much. My main beef is with the story and the execution.

15 minutes into the picture Sugar meets Mama and minutes later she's leading the zombie charge against Whitey. Good. We don't need much set up. For the rest of the picture she and her undead pals are slowly killing off the bad guys one by one and with no resistance. Sugar just shows up, says a few words and sicks the zombies on 'em. She's never once in any danger and there's never anything or anyone that threatens her plans. So why should anyone care at this point? Exactly.

Meet Mama Mattress or something or other...

And the ending? Fuck me. The Baron is supposed to get her soul after she's done with her revenge. So after Sugar's zombies take care of the top mobster, Morgan (Robert Quarry), she offers the Baron Morgan's girl. He takes her instead of Sugar saying that she will do for now. THE FUCK? Whatever. Oh, and he gives her his cane as a gift. So after all this shit she doesn't die? Goddamn I was pissed. After 91 minutes of waiting for a payoff, her life is spared and she gets a present to boot? UGH!

I dug the zombie makeup. That was cool. It's just really disappointing that you get a premise so ripe with possibilities and they ultimately went with something dull and lifeless. What a waste. Watch the trailer a few times instead and let your imagination go to places these film makers apparently couldn't even dream of.

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