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SUGAR HILL

USA, 1974 (MIFF 1998, Funky! Freaky! Foxy! - Blaxploitation Cinema)

Director: Paul Maslansky

Smooth, sexy, sweet. Afrodesiac style oozes in every frame. Costume and production design are flagrantly fetishised. Shots usually start with a close-up on clothes, shoes, hats. Marki Bey is Sugar Hill, a fashion photographer. Love those sessions she does. Her main man Langston is offed by Mafia thugs. Check Count Yorga's Robert Quarry at his Thespian best. Sugar is left to flirt with detective Valentine and his round, round Afro. Afro consciousness, though, is replaced by Haitian rediscovery. Sugar solicits supernatural power from funky bijou Mama Latress. The unforgettable Baron Samedi is awoken. Up come some seriously deranged zombies: caved chests, cobwebs and chrome bulging
eyeballs. The Mafia gets it one by one as Sugar's taste for revenge and her Afro wig get out of control. A paean to the mystery of black power. A testament to funky bouffants, soft lenses, freaky synthesisers and ghost train spookiness. - Philip Brophy

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