Sugar Hill.

A mid 70’s Voodoo Blaxploitation gem of a movie, or so I am told, directed by Paul Maslansky, ‘Sugar Hill’ has no real DVD release.  This one looks like one of those DVDs you would get at the Chinese malls in the greater Toronto area.  There is a menu that just tells me to PLAY THE MOVIE.  So that’s what I do.


[Stereo-typically dressed pimp guy shows up with a group of middle-aged suit-wearing white people.]

Starkwell: Look out, for his posse of lame looking white people!

Lovelock: That guy was in ‘Night Court’!  That’s two horror movies with ‘Night Court’ people.  Even so, ‘Cheers’ is still ahead in the count.

Starkwell: Who’s counting?


[Sugar Hill ventures to her childhood home, which looks like the jungle, somehow.]

Starkwell: Urban jungle?

Lovelock: I think those sound effects are taken from a ‘Daffy Duck’ cartoon.


[Sugar's mystical old Mama shows her voodoo stuff, in a swamp.]

Lovelock: I can see where ‘Empire’ got all of its ideas.

Starkwell: Are you for real?

Lovelock: “Too old! Too old to begin the training!”


[Mystical Mama asks Sugar for her jewelry to offer Baron Samedi as a gift.]

Starkwell: What’s Baron Samedi going to do with a woman’s necklace?

Lovelock: What would God want with a spaceship?


[Every time Baron Samedi talks, there is an awful filter put on his vocal track.]

Starkwell: That’s some cheesy reverb.



Aside from the disturbingly awkward shots of Baron Samedi and the old woman, there was some legitimately awesome dead rising that lasted a solid few minutes, during which Starkwell and Lovelock sat mesmerized with a single tear rolling down each of their respective cheeks.  Awkward cut to shipyard.


[Baron Samedi is wearing a construction hat.]

Starkwell: Without his top hat, Baron Samedi looks kind of lame.

Lovelock: He looks like one of the Village People.

Starkwell: Are you just saying that because he’s got a construction hat on?

Lovelock: Not only because of that.


[Mob boss calls stooge a 'pigeonhead'.]

Starkwell: Pigeonhead?

Lovelock: That’s how they talked back then.

Starkwell: Yeah, you would know.


[White suit bullies a fruit stand owner, through his fruit. Baron watches over, in disguise.]

Lovelock: Yeah, show that cantaloupe who’s boss.

Starkwell: I think half of this movie’s budget went towards different hats for Baron Samedi.


[Sugar keeps on making passes at the cop.]

Starkwell: If she’s so upset about her man’s death, why is she so flirtatious with the cop?

Lovelock: Well, did you see the size of his afro?


[Afro cop goes to the Voodoo museum to investigate with lame British guy.]

Starkwell: Good thing they have a VOODOO MUSEUM in town.

Lovelock: Not just any, but the best in the world.


As the story progressed Starkwell continued to marvel at how the cop manages to figure everything out so quickly, and Lovelock just keeps saying that Sugar is kind of a bitch, a multi-tasking one, but a bitch nonetheless.  And one that randomly organizes photo shoots in her backyard.  That’s it girls, take five.

Starkwell is honestly amazed that every death seems to be different.  Lovelock wants them to happen faster.


[Racist Celeste stays in the car while Mob Boss goes after Sugar Hill.]

Starkwell: I understand that the house looks spooky, but how would staying alone out in the car be any safer?

Lovelock: She knows what she’s doing.


The DVD has a few skips in it, not scratches on the disc, literally skips, in where it replays the same three seconds twice in a row.  It was especially funny when he said “Bitch where are ya?”, and then it skipped so it showed it again, immediately.  Quality stuff.


[Although the actions are in the house, the rain-forest noises are louder than ever.]

Starkwell: The jungle noises are really stupid.

Lovelock: But they’re in the jungle.

Starkwell: What?



It took a while to get to the point, but the final death scene was pretty spectacular, though very poorly lit, and Starkwell and Lovelock simultaneously yelled out “DEATH BY OATMEAL”.


[Sugar Hill says goodbye to Baron Samedi, who apparently accepts a racist Mob Boss' girlfriend as payment for killing a bunch of people.]

Lovelock: She gets to keep his cane, and hand over the racist Celeste to the Baron? Lucky.

Starkwell: And... scene.  Supernatural Voodoo Woman... doesn’t need a knife?

Lovelock: Do her wrong and you won’t see the light.


Both spent the credits dancing to the smooth sounds of ‘The Originals’.  Sweet movie.


Uncle Sam.

Known mostly for "Maniac" or his more recent "Maniac Cop" series of films, William Lustig explores a similar style with his political statement ‘Uncle Sam’.  This Blue Underground release has all of the usual nice treatments of a Blue Undergound release and opens with a menu that is an exact copy of what is on the front of the box.  No spoilers here.  Let’s find out what they are hiding.


[Annoying kid wakes up and smashes a picture of his Uncle, named Sam.]

Starkwell: His name is Sam, and he is an Uncle?  How convenient.

Lovelock: Wouldn't be much of a movie if it was called Uncle Peter.


[Annoying kid's teacher claims to have taught the kid's uncle.  Teacher looks thirty-five.]

Starkwell: Wait, if Uncle Sam was in that guy’s class, wouldn’t that make him like a hundred years old?

Lovelock: He probably just started teaching at a young age.  Like Doogie Howser.


Lovelock: Oh man, I really hope Uncle Sam offs the kid.  Soon.


[Enter Isaac Hayes.]

Lovelock: Black Moses just knocked that scene out of the park.  Hard.

Starkwell: He’s a complicated man.


[Every death is followed by a cheesy one-liner, being whispered, loudly.  This one involved a head-chopping.]

Starkwell: The one-liners would be more effective if the movie moved a little quicker.

Lovelock: I don’t know, that was a pretty fast cut.


Lovelock and Starkwell then sat comfortably watching Uncle Sam off people for seemingly no real reason.  Every now and then Starkwell would express confusion as to which side the director is on.  Lovelock says he clearly just hates everyone.


[Although it doesn't make him inconspicuous at all, Uncle Sam wears an Uncle Sam costume, complete with mask.]

Starkwell: Clearly they have him parading around in an Uncle Sam costume so they don’t have to pay to have him in the Zombie makeup.

Lovelock: Uh, no, it’s so he can blend in, idiot.


[Fourth of July celebration, awful band plays.]

Starkwell: Hopefully that’s a real band and they thought that appearing in this movie was their big break.

Lovelock: You think they made it?


[Re-enter Isaac Hayes.]

Starkwell: Chef is terrible in these scenes… what happened?

Lovelock: Short answer - Scientology.


[Finally rid of the Uncle Sam costume, Uncle Sam shows his long locks of flowing hair, even though the flashback that they showed at the beginning, showed Uncle Sam with a buzz-cut.]

Starkwell: He grew an awful lot of hair after dying.

Lovelock: It’s to add an element of realism.

Starkwell: Wait, what?


[Credits begin with 'For Lucio']

Starkwell: For Lucio? That’s a bit presumptuous.


As the credits rolled, so did Starkwell’s eyes.  Lovelock simply used his hands to make a fart noise.  I think at the end the filmmaker definitely chose a side, but the kid(s) made it hard to be happy about it.


Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things.

Before 'Porky’s' and before 'Christmas Story', Bob Clark created a few entries in the Zombie genre, one of which was the cult “classic” 'Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things'.  We have here now a 35th anniversary edition, which will certainly still look like garbage, given the uniquely piss poor quality of the original source material.  I’ve heard good things and bad, so let’s see what the guys have to say about it.  Starting… NOW.


[The annoying characters travel on a dimly lit island, that appears to consist mostly of graves and trees.]

Starkwell: This movie could have benefited from some lighting.

Lovelock: This movie could have benefited from some budget.

Starkwell: Yeah, I think they spent it all on Alan Ormsby’s pants.

Lovelock: They certainly didn’t spend it on bras for the female characters.


[Low on action, the characters continue to talk about bringing a corpse back to life, I think to help them be better actors.]

Starkwell: I’m surprised to say this, but the dialogue isn’t bad.

Lovelock: I guess... something needs to happen… other than ridiculous rituals.

Starkwell: I’m not sure what any of this has to do with being a theatre troupe.


Not much seemed to be happening.  They may or may not have dozed off, but, they came to just in time to hear the guy talk about how he peed himself.  The first time that the guy said he just peed, it was funny.  The second time, it was a little less funny.  The third time, it was somehow even funnier.  Every time after that, including when Lovelock and Starkwell would randomly say it, was hilarious.


[Everyone continues to be disturbed by the disrespectful way that Orville, the dug-up male corpse that Alan Ormsby has now held a wedding ceremony with, is being treated.]

Lovelock: Alright the whole Orville thing is getting old.

Starkwell: This movie is getting old.

Lovelock: This movie is old.

Starkwell: I just peed my pants.


Their patience was wearing thin, but then all hell broke loose, and there was some damn good Zombie action.  Lovelock and Starkwell didn’t say much after that.  They seemed happy when the movie ended, but I still can’t tell if it’s because they enjoyed it, or because it was, in fact, over.  Time will tell.



I tried really hard to make them both read Lovecraft’s short story before watching the movie, they claimed that it would take too long, and yelled at me until I put in the DVD.  It’s a two disc Anchor Bay release, loaded with special features that I probably will never watch.  Disc 2 may as well be a coaster.  We are here for the movie, and that is what we are about to start.


[Movie opens with an intense high-speed scene involving decapitation of a re-animated corpse.]

Lovelock: Well, I can already tell we are in for a treat.  Isn’t this better than reading?

Starkwell: I fear that when it starts at such a breakneck pace, it can’t possibly hold it.  It’s already ruined your attention span, I’m certain.

Lovelock: When are these credits going to end?  I already said I didn’t feel like reading!


[Herbert West is looking to rent an apartment from the 'main' character.]

Starkwell: Never trust anyone who asks whether or not the building has a good basement, especially not when he looks that excited to see it.  And certainly don’t rent them an apartment.

Lovelock: Yeah, that’s like asking how the plumbing is, for the morning.

Starkwell: It’s not the same thing at all.


[Girl finds her cat dead in Herbert's refrigerator.]

Lovelock: “It was dead when I found him”… real convincing Herbert.

Starkwell: He’s like an angry robot.

Lovelock: In any case, she shouldn't be snooping.


[Cat returns to life, they throw it at a wall.  The dean refuses to believe any of this is true.]

Lovelock: Well that was a much better zombie cat than ‘Pet Sematary’ had.

Starkwell: Herbert West is kind of an asshole.

Lovelock: The dean is kind of an even bigger asshole.


[In the morgue, they choose a human body to test on.]

Starkwell: If it took two of them to take down a re-animated cat, how could they think that this is a good idea?

Lovelock: Shut up, this is going to be great.


[They kill the dean.  I guess they should bring him back now.  The dean's daughter comes barging in.]

Starkwell: Well at least they’re tying this one down.  They’re learning.

Lovelock: Oh man, I can’t wait for it to go all wrong.  I hope she’s next.


At this point, I could no longer keep up with the conversation.  They were far too excited, and I’m pretty sure Lovelock peed his pants.  Out of joy.  They mentioned several times how awesome West is.


[Herbert West seems very concerned that they are recording everything on tape, not video, just audio.]

Starkwell: What would the recorder be able to prove?

Lovelock: It’s science.  You wouldn’t understand.

Starkwell: You would?


[Doctor Hill makes a pass at the dean's daughter.]

Lovelock: The doctor Hill guy is definitely an asshole.  Also, a pervert.


[Herbert West sneaks around with a shovel and uses it to decapitate the bad guy Doctor.]

Lovelock: More like Herbert West: Ninja.  Did you see him back away slowly?

Starkwell: Right… a shovel, weapon of choice for the ninja peoples.

Lovelock: Like you would know.


[Re-animated Severed head seems to be taking air into its no-longer-attached lungs.]

Starkwell: How is a severed head breathing?

Lovelock: The answer is science.


[Dean's daughter immediately forgives the 'main' character for killing her father and bringing him back as a brain-dead zombie.]

Starkwell: She is strangely calm and forgiving.

Lovelock: I wish I could say it was science, but honestly, it doesn’t make any sense.  It’s so unrealistic.


Starkwell said he was leaving due to unnecessary amounts of severed head to breast action.  But it seems to be over.  Then the violent action picked up again, and he sat back down.  Although he said he didn’t like all the full frontal nudity.  Those poor actors.  So much penis flying around.


[As Herbert is being eaten alive, he is strangely concerned that his research survives.]

Lovelock: Herbert is a real scientist.  You can take him, but you can’t take HIS RESEARCH!

Starkwell: Did you just reference 'Braveheart'?

Lovelock: I wanna say no.


[Dean's daughter dies.  'Main' character tries to revive her.]

Starkwell: If he tries to re-animate her, then the character hasn’t really learned much.

Lovelock: Did you really think he would have learned anything?

Starkwell: I guess not.  Oh shit, fade to black.

Lovelock: You think she’ll be ok?


They sat in silence, but then immediately started talking about things they had just seen in the movie.  I liked the hero, even if the guy didn’t learn anything, and sort of just sat around dumbfounded while things happened.  His emotions are touching, but he’ll never be a great doctor… not like Herbest West anyways.


The Plague of the Zombies.

So, we’re going to watch ‘The Plague of the Zombies’, a 1966 Hammer Film about, you guessed it, a plague...  of Zombies.  It says ‘Anchor Bay’ on the outside, but the disc seems to be a DVD-R. Ok, and apparently this DVD has no menu, so it just started. 


[Movie opens with bongo players and fire.]

Starkwell: Well, clearly we’re going to learn a lot about filmmaking here, since the first character that appears in the movie looks right at the camera before the focus moves a way from him.  FIVE SECONDS INTO THE MOVIE.

Lovelock: Can you at least wait for the movie to get going before you try and rip it apart?

Starkwell: Holy shit, I might have spoken too soon indeed, because that guy looks like the craziest bongo player ever.  Woah!  He’s screaming!  Woah! Fast awkward cut!

Lovelock: Shhh... I’m trying to follow the story.

Starkwell: Sure you are.


[The main character has a mustache like Super Mario, he also seems suspicious of everything and everyone.]

Lovelock: Sir James is so clever, he knows something is up. You can’t put anything past this guy.

Starkwell: Probably because everything gets caught in his gigantic moustache.


The room went quiet for a while, because both became quite engrossed in the story and the surprisingly quick dialogue and actual acting.


[Weird sick girl tells Blondie about setting her up with a guy named Clive, that everyone else thinks is evil.  Sounds like a keeper.  After that she runs away frantically.]

Lovelock: Clive Hamilton… Might be the best bad-guy name ever.

Starkwell: That's probably why his name was accompanied by creepy music.

Lovelock: Oh seriously?  Just let her go!  Don’t go out in the DAY FOR NIGHT time all alone, that’s just stupid.

Starkwell: That’s a fairly defined shadow for the middle of the DAY FOR NIGHT time.


[After her meeting with Clive, the meet-cute if you will,  he warns her of landmines on her walk home.  What a Gentleman.]

Starkwell: "Have a nice walk home, watch out for landmines" ... Seriously?

Lovelock: Well, I feel that he doesn’t seem so bad after all.  Except that he has all his servant dudes dressed like polo players.

Starkwell: Or mounties.


[Doctor Mustache and his little helper monkey dig up a body of a recently deceased guy.]

Lovelock:  Oh yeah, I like this, digging up bodies usually ends well.


And then there was a scene that made both of them poop their pants.


[Doctor Mustache's helper monkey, Peter, cries big tears in this scene, after finding out his insane lady friend has expired.]

Lovelock: I think most movies could be improved if everyone acted as HARD as the guy playing Peter.  Those tears are real.

Starkwell: If you say so…


[The dialogue throughout the movie, is very rich.  Clive 'accidentally' drops a glass and Blondie cuts her finger on it.  He collects the blood into a glass.]

Starkwell: No one writes movies like this anymore.

Lovelock: She didn’t find it odd that he squeezed blood out of her fingers? Plot hole.

Starkwell: You think that’s a plot hole?  You thought the stock footage in ‘Hell of the Living Dead’ added an element of realism, and you’re calling this a plot hole?

Lovelock: It’s different.  What? Shut up.


[The movie started to slow down a bit, but then zombies started coming out of nowhere.]

Starkwell: Considering the title, this movie seems to be lacking in the plague department, as well as the zom-


Starkwell: It doesn’t take much with you, does it?


[Clive's henchmen go after Doctor Mustache.]

Starkwell: I liked the henchmen better when they had their snazzy red coats on, instead of being dressed like rejects from the 'Swashbuckler' set.

Lovelock: Those candles provide an awful lot of light.  Plot hole.

Starkwell: I’m starting to wonder if you really know what that means.  This plot is tight.  Except for the Haitian bongo players, I’m not sure how he would have gotten them past customs.


[The entire room is on fire, Doctor Mustache manages to make it worse.  Clive comes in with a knife.  Peter is tied up.]

Lovelock: Sir James is great at solving puzzles, not so great at putting out fires.

Starkwell: Peter sucks with knots.

Lovelock: Clive Hamilton might be the worst knife fighter I’ve ever seen.  But he wields a boulder like a champ, wait, scratch that.


During the credits, Lionel Lovelock and Allen Starkwell were doing jump kicks and playing air guitar.  The credits were short, so it was a rather short display of rocking, but I’m pretty sure it signified that the movie was a success. Well, in my mind, anyways.