Sugar Hill (1974)

“Meet SUGAR HILL and her ZOMBIE HIT MEN … The Mafia has never met anything like them!” I must admit that this zombie blaxploitation flick doesn’t have much going for it but if you’re looking for some totally mindless entertainment, Sugar Hill (AKA The Zombies of Sugar Hill) fits the bill. And to top it off the film also features the beautiful and talented Marki Bey in the title role. As sexy dancer “Lanie,” Bey was one of the few highlights of Hal Ashby’s directorial debut, The Landlord (1970), which also starred Beau Bridges. In Sugar Hill, Bey portrays Diana ‘Sugar’ Hill, who seeks revenge on the mobsters led by “Morgan” (Robert Quarry) who killed her boyfriend, the owner of a voodoo-themed nightclub, by organizing an army of zombie hit men (all of whom were former slaves) with the help of voodoo queen “Mama Maitresse” (Zara Cully) and Baron Samedi (a great, over-the-top performance by Don Pedro Colley), the voodoo lord of the dead. As you might now realize, this film is definitely not for all tastes! Don’t confuse this film, which was directed by Paul Maslansky and released by American International Pictures (AIP), with the rather dreary and forgettable 1994 crime drama of the same name starring Wesley Snipes as drug dealer “Roemello Skuggs.” Quarry starred in Count Yorga, Vampire (1970), another horror classic from AIP. Cully portrayed “Mama Jefferson” on the hit TV series The Jeffersons. In The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film (1983), Michael Weldon calls Sugar Hill “one of the better movies from the blaxploitation craze.”

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