It’s almost Halloween and I have made a post every day this month. I don’t think I have ever accomplished that in October before. The thing is, though, I’m just about over watching this many horror movies at one time. I was at one time in my life filled with destructive anger, and horror movies were a way to take out that aggression in a way that didn’t hurt anyone but me. But I decided a long time ago that I don’t enjoy watching people get fake killed as much anymore, especially when they are tortured to death as in this movie. And when I was going through cancer treatment I didn’t enjoy horror much at all because I felt so sick all the time for over a year. But I still want to keep writing about movies. Next month (well, starting in four days) the focus will be on a different genre.
So what’s the story here? Did I find my thrill on Sugar Hill? What makes this blaxploitation horror from AIP and Samuel Arkoff worthy of being on demand on TCM right now? The story is pretty simple: Diana “Sugar” Hill is about to get married to a club owner named Langston. The club has a voodoo theme where dancers act out rituals. Gangsters try to get Langston to sell them the club, and when he refuses, they catch him outside and beat him to death. A heartbroken Sugar asks her family’s personal priestess to call up a demon named Baron Samedi to get revenge. The only trouble is that Sugar’s ex boyfriend is a detective, and he isn’t stupid.
This is the rare revenge picture in which nothing bad seems to happen to the person who takes revenge. Of course, as I’ve said before, I always have to wonder what happens to characters after the end of the movie. Does Sugar suffer consequences in her next life? There’s no dialogue here in the film about the cycle of revenge. I have always heard that black magic will come back on you threefold, but I wouldn’t wish that on anyone necessarily. It’s a fun movie if you like this sort of thing, and the clothes, cars, and interiors are a treat. I do like supernatural movies, but I don’t like revenge movies. People getting caught by a good detective is more to my taste.
As for why this drive-in movie is on TCM, it has to be all down to Don Pedro Colley’s gleeful turn as Baron Samedi. That guy looked like he was having the time of his afterlife. He legit gave me the creeps just by walling his eyes, and it’s not really a 70s movie until you hear reverb every time the bad guy speaks. It’s one of my favorite effects, and it seems so simple. Sound in a horror movie is in my opinion one of the most effective elements.
Speaking of sound, the theme song for Sugar Hill is awesomely catchy: