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Sugar Hill (MGM Limited Edition Collection)

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    Ian Jane
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  • Sugar Hill (MGM Limited Edition Collection)



    Released by: MGM Limited Edition Collection

    Released on: September 22, 2011

    Director: Paul Maslansky

    Cast: Marki Bey, Robert Quarry, Don Pedro Colley, Betty Anne-Rees, Richard Lawson

    Year: 1974

    Purchase from Amazon


    The Movie:


    When Paul Maslansky's AIP produced voodoo zombie thriller beings, beautiful Sugar (Marki Bey) and her loving husband Langston are a happy couple, running Langston's nightclub business and very much in love. That is, until a group of punks are hired by an evil businessman named Morgan (Robert Quarry of The Deathmaster) who wants to buy Langston's club. Langston won't sell, so they make short work of him and send him off to the big discothí¨que in the sky.

    Rather than go to the police (like I would), or pull a gun out of her afro and fight the man (like Pam Grier would), she enlists the aid of Mama Maitresse (Zara Cully….. yes, that's right, Mrs. Jefferson herself), an old voodoo queen. Mama helps Sugar contact Baron Zamedi (played by Don Pedro Colley, who played Sheriff Ed on a few episodes of The Dukes of Hazard), a voodoo priest with the ability to raise the corpses of the dead slaves buried in the area to do his bidding. The Baron makes Sugar a deal - in exchange for her immortal soul, he'll raise this army of zombies with strange metallic paint jobs to exact her revenge on Langston's killers.

    One by one, Sugar has her army of the undead take down the punks who killed her man, and even manages to make some time with a cop guy along the way. When all the punks are dead, she tracks Morgan down and the final face off ensues.

    While this isn't the type of zombie film that Euro-cult fans or Romero buffs are going to expect, Sugar hill is still a lot of fun. There's very little gore in the film (it's a safely rated PG affair through and through) but that doesn't really take away from it. There is some nice atmosphere created and a lot of cool scenes that nicely mix the blaxploitation genre with the zombie film quite effectively. On top of that, the film makes great use of its deep south locations, from the manor Sugar calls home to the surrounding swampy areas that always seem to be foggy or misty or covered in moss and cobwebs.

    The real star of the show though is Marki Bey. She's got a commanding screen presence and is well cast as the sympathetic but revenge driven lead. She's foxy, smart and the camera loves her and the script gives her some pretty memorable scenes. The supporting cast are also great, especially Don Pedro Colley as the mysterious voodoo master and Quarry, typecast a bit here as the main bad guy. In the end though, it's Bey who makes this movie what it is. And if that's not enough, well, the movie has one of the coolest opening songs ever - Supernatural Voodoo Woman - which plays over the opening and closing credits. Good stuff!


    Video/Audio/Extras:


    Sugar Hill looks good in 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio even if the image does show minor print damage on a pretty regular basis, mostly in the form of some specs rather than full on scratches. There's plenty of minor grain evident throughout and but colors generally fare rather well. Detail isn't bad and there are no problems with compression artifacts, edge enhancement or aliasing to complain about. Colors look just a little bit faded but fare well enough. The image is nothing to write home about, but it's certainly perfectly watchable.

    The English language Dolby Digital Mono audio track on the disc is well balanced and features clean, clear dialogue. The fuzzed out rock guitar score also sounds quite good, as do the various sound effects used throughout the movie. Some hiss is present as is the occasional pop, but it's nothing too serious.

    Aside from the film's original theatrical trailer (and it's a good one), there are no extras outside of a static menu.


    The Final Word:


    Sugar Hill really could have benefitted from a proper special edition release. It would have been great to get a commentary or an interview here so the film's many fans could learn more about its history - obviously that didn't happen. However, seeing the film in widescreen makes it easier to appreciate the atmosphere and cinematography and enjoy the film for the unsung drive-in gem that it is.





















    • Todd Jordan
      #1
      Todd Jordan
      Smut is good.
      Todd Jordan commented
      Editing a comment
      That DVD cover is retched. They couldn't even have been bothered with putting some effort into the cover?

    • Randy G
      #2
      Randy G
      Senior Member
      Randy G commented
      Editing a comment
      This film is a lot of fun, the best blaxploitation horror film I think.
    Posting comments is disabled.

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