Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Superhero Media: Sugar Hill

A while back, SBS (Aussie television station) ran a Blacksploitation night, showing several famous films of the genre, the last of which was Sugar Hill, which I figured was a precursor to films like Coffy, with an African-American heroine put-upon by "the man" until she couldn't take it anymore and sought bloody revenge. Imagine my surprise when I discover that, after her man is killed, "Sugar" goes after his killers with the aid of Baron Samedi (Zamedi in this version) and an army of zombie Haitian slaves! Holy shit is that a cool concept straight out of the gate! Add to that that Marki Bey is awesome in the lead as Sugar and Don Pedro Colley commits like all get out to the role of Zamedi. Once Sugar sells her soul to the baron, her path is set, revenge in return for an eternity as the Zamedi's bride, unless she can find another to offer in her place... 

Ok, before I wax lyrical even more about this awesome cult gem, perhaps some of the bad points? Like pretty much all 1970s cult cinema, Sugar Hill has dated like no one's business; the costumes, music and hairstyles are all pretty damn funny and kind of drag the narrative down. The Blacksploitation genre nesescity of all white people being corrupt and racist grates in its anachronism, but also is not comfortable in this contemporary #blacklivesmatter society; have we really advanced that little, or have we gone backwards? I'm surprised that this genre of cinema hasn't re-surged as Neoconservative racism gains strength. Many of the actors aren't great (Bey and Colley aside) and the zombie makeup is pretty terrible, though I do like the reflective eyes as they give an otherworldly appearance. 

So what can we take away from Sugar Hill? That this would make an awesome comic! Sugar's husband is killed by the mob, in her grief she turns to an aunt who practices dark magic, before she knows it, Sugar has sold her soul to Baron Samedi and can command the undead; can she get her revenge before the Baron comes to collect? As the comic continues, Sugar trades other women for herself, but finds that there is always one more injustice to right and can never quite break the deal. Hell, I'd read it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment