Saturday, November 3, 2012

Jason goes to Not Necessarily Noir III--SUGAR HILL and GANJA & HESS

Wow, I've fallen behind a bit. I'll have to do this kind of quickly. Last Tuesday I was up at the Roxie for my final screenings of Not Necessarily Noir III (they played more on Wednesday, but I wasn't there.) Here we go.

SUGAR HILL (1974): A club owner is brutally beaten to death by some thugs, just for refusing to sell his club to them. But his girlfriend, Diana "Sugar" Hill vows revenge. And she knows just how to do it, with the help of an old voodoo priestess. She enlists the Haitian lord of the dead, Baron Samedi (played by a wonderfully creepy, gold-toothed Don Pedro Colley) to systematically kill all of the thugs and eventually the crime boss behind it all. There's some dramatic complication when the cop in charge of investigating the murders happens to be Sugar's ex (and possibly future) boyfriend. But the fun of the movie is really in the cleverly concocted revenge murders and especially in the depictions of the zombies. Super creepy, covered in cobwebs (even when they just came out of the swamp) and with silver orbs covering their eyes. Simply the best zombies this side of George Romero.

GANJA & HESS (1973): Now this was a real oddity, and I'm not sure how to react to it. Archaeologist Dr. Hess (Duane Jones) is stabbed by his assistant with an ancient knife. His assistant then commits suicide. Dr. Hess recovers, but due to the "germs" on the knife he is afflicted with a disease that causes a hunger for human blood. Returning home, he meets with his ex-assistant's wife, Ganja. And they start having an affair. But eventually she will have to learn about Hess and about what happened to her husband.

Okay, that's what happens, but it doesn't describe the movie at all. What describes it better is "drug-fueled hallucination." It's just a strange, strange, strange movie.

Total Running Time: 201 minutes
My Total Minutes: 302,082
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