Movie of the Week: Sugar Hill (1974)

Finally on youtube, it's the greatly underrated Blaxploitation / Zombie mashup that is Sugar Hill. You get righteous vengeance, necromancy, hordes of undead, lots of irresponsible violence and a good-looking chick, so what more do you want of your entertainment?

 Much of the film's watchability hinges on Marki Bey, a.k.a. Sugar Hill. Inexplicably, this is most of her legacy. She otherwise did some supporting roles in small films and a few episodes of Starsky and Hutch, and that's about it. According to imdb.com, she currently operates murder mystery cruises in Los Angeles. She's a fine actor, and looks like a cross between Pam Grier and Lynda Carter. I don't understand why she didn't go on to more substantial roles.

 Likewise for Don Pedro Colley, who has as much onscreen charisma as Sid Haig. He did some small, subdued roles in THX1138 and Beneath the Planet of the Apes, but here he's acting full stop as evil incarnate. What a presence! And those zombies are creepy. I freakin' love this movie, man.



Movie of the Week: Night Tide (1961)

This enjoyable little thriller/noir has a slim narrative at its core, but lots to offer around the edges: an authentic time capsule of the Southern California Beat scene (specifically Venice and Santa Monica), the first starring role of a very young Dennis Hopper, the only starring role of hip chick Linda Lawson (a lounge singer who recorded just one LP), and notable appearances by artist/occultist/ all-around-nutcase Marjorie Cameron (best known for being the wife of Jack Parsons when he was at his craziest, as well as her unforgettable appearance in Kenneth Anger's Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome).

The plot is a little pulpy, and Linda Lawson doesn't have much screen presence. But the movie sustains a pleasant dreamlike quality, and since it was restored by the Academy Film Archive in 2007 some nice transfers have shown up on youtube.