Sugar Hill (1974 film)

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Sugar Hill
Sugar Hill.jpg
Theatrical release poster.
Directed by Paul Maslansky
Produced by Elliot Schick
Written by Tim Kelly
Distributed by American International Pictures
Release dates
  • February 7, 1974 (1974-02-07)
Running time
91 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $350,000[1]

Sugar Hill is a 1974 horror blaxploitation zombie film released by AIP. It starred Marki Bey as the title character who uses voodoo to get revenge on the people responsible for her boyfriend's death. American International Pictures had previously combined the horror and blaxploitation genres with Blacula (1972) and its sequel, Scream Blacula Scream (1973).


The story centers on Diana, a voodoo queen using zombies to take revenge on a group of white gangsters. With a former practitioner named Mama Maitresse, she intends on destroying the gangsters who killed her boyfriend and now want her club. Helping her out is the voodoo lord of the dead, Baron Samedi. The zombies in this film more closely resemble the creatures of voodoo legend - i.e., the walking dead who do the bidding of a human master - than the flesh-eating "living dead" ghouls popularized by George A. Romero. According to the film, the zombies are the preserved bodies of slaves brought to the United States from Guinea.[2]



The film was shot on location in Houston, Texas at such locations as the Heights branch of the Houston Public Library (a historical landmark), used in the film as a "Voodoo Institute". Sugar Hill was the last film Robert Quarry did for AIP, after a run that included the Count Yorga movies. Also appearing in the film was Zara Cully, who played Mama Jefferson on the TV show The Jeffersons. Charles Robinson (credited as Charles F. Robinson), known for his role as Mac Robinson on NBC's Night Court, portrayed the character of Fabulous. Hank Edds created the makeup effects for the zombies in the film.[2]

Release and pop culture[edit]

The film was released theatrically in the United States by American International Pictures in February 1974.[4] It was cut to 83 minutes for television and retitled The Zombies of Sugar Hill.[5]

The film was released on VHS by Orion Home Video in 1996.,[6] and on DVD in October 2011 as part of MGM's Limited Edition series.[7]

Rapper MF Doom sampled several audio clips from the film under his alias King Geedorah on the album Take Me to Your Leader.


Writing in The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia, academic Peter Dendle called it "a humorously dated blaxploitation feature" whose zombies "represent a throwback to the classic zombie conceptualization of the '30s and '40s".[8] Adam Tyner of DVD Talk rated it 4 out of 5 stars and wrote, "Creepy, sexy, sleazy, and a borderline-surreal amount of fun, Sugar Hill is a perfect movie for a Halloween marathon and probably my single favorite blaxploitation flick, period."[7]

External links[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Samuel Z Arkoff & Richard Turbo, Flying Through Hollywood By the Seat of My Pants, Birch Lane Press, 1992 p 202
  2. ^ a b Kay, Glenn (2008). Zombie Movies: The Ultimate Guide. Chicago Review Press. p. 86. ISBN 978-1-55652-770-8. 
  3. ^ Torriano, Berry (2007). Historical dictionary of African American cinema. Scarecrow Press. p. 207. ISBN 978-0-8108-5545-8. 
  4. ^ Hamm, Sam (February 26, 1974). "Southern-Fried Honky Meets Tough Black Fox". The Cavalier Daily. 
  5. ^ Maltin, Leonard (2008). Leonard Maltin's 2009 Movie Guide. Penguin. p. 1338. ISBN 978-0-452-28978-9. 
  6. ^ "Sugar Hill (VHS tape, 1996) []". Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Tyner, Adam (2011-10-23). "Sugar Hill (1974)". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2015-02-14. 
  8. ^ Dendle, Peter (2001). The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia. McFarland & Company. pp. 165–167. ISBN 978-0-7864-9288-6.