Hey everybody, look who’s back! It’s me, Johnny Sweatpants! Hope you like my review!
So I’m tackling zombie movies this year because as we all know, zombie movies are fucking awesome. I was in fourth or fifth grade when JPX introduced me to Dawn of the Dead and I remember thinking at the time that it was the greatest thing since boobs. Remember the scene when they’re eating the motorcycle guy’s intestines? I sure do because I watched the tape over and over until the VCR chewed it up.
Sugar Hill is its own unique kind of fucking awesome because as far as I know, it’s the only 70’s blaxploitation zombie flick in existence. It’s never been available on DVD but now you can watch it instantly on Netflix. Well how do ya like that?
After her boyfriend is beaten to death by The Man, Diane “Sugar” Hill (she’s “as sweet as sugar tastes”) enlists the help of the grandmother from the Jeffersons to get revenge. Mrs. Jefferson introduces her to some crazy voodoo guy who raises an army of dead slaves to do Sugar’s bidding. At this point the film goes on blaxploitation autopilot.
1) A white guy acts like a greedy, racist dick.
2) Sugar shows up and says something badass.
3) The zombies go nuts on whitey.
4) Detective Valentine tries to figure out what’s going on without ever acknowledging his spectacular afro or ridiculous outfits.
It’s all highly enjoyable and the zombies themselves look exquisite; they sport bulbous silver eyes and are covered in cobwebs. While most post ‘68 zombie movies consist of the mindless cannibalistic undead, I was pleased to see a throwback to the old school slave template of yore. (White Zombie was released in 1933 so I suppose “ancient school” would be more appropriate.)
If I have to complain about something (I do), it would be that Sugar never loses the upper hand once she gets control of the zombies. The impact of the revenge sequences is dulled because you never feel like she’s in real jeopardy. I was also alarmed by the noticeable absence of bare breasts and gore for a movie of this kind. Still, it's worthy for any zombie afficianado and a solid launching pad for this year's competition.