Delirium, Primeval, and Sugar Hill

Delirium – 1979, US, 88m. Director: Peter Maris. Streaming: Tubi

Primeval – 2007, US, 93m. Director: Michael Katleman. Streaming: N/A

Sugar Hill – 1974, US, 91m. Director: Paul Maslansky. Streaming: AMC/Prime, Freevee

DELIRIUM (1979) A Vietnam vet (Nick Panouzis) snaps and goes on a killing spree in St. Louis. His first victim is a woman he impales—and pins to a door—with a tribal spear decoration he removes from the wall. The next casualty is a poor schnook he picks up after stealing a car. He drowns her in a nearby body of water, but not before she removes all her clothes for what she believes is a lesson in skinny-dipping. Turns out Panouzis is really a contract killer gone rogue—working for some kind of shadow government and trying to clean up the city by exterminating the criminal element (an idea later revisited in the Hollywood thriller, The Star Chamber). Delirium is a strictly amateur production and its shoestring budget is often noticeable, especially during Panouzis’s Vietnam flashback sequences—obviously shot in the Missouri countryside, and looking nothing remotely like Southeast Asia. Despite these setbacks, the film does offer a few surprises and better acting than you’d expect from such a low-budget affair. Not bad, but not exactly good, either. Stock music from the British TV show Mastermind is sporadically used throughout. C+

PRIMEVAL (2007) Two unconvincing news reporters (Dominic Purcell and Orlando Jones) and their babealicious producer (Brooke Langton) are sent to the jungles of Africa to follow the trail of carnage created by a legendary crocodile the locals have named Gustav. Once in Burundi, the Americans meet up with a Steve Irwin wannabe (Gideon Emery), who wants to capture the croc for monetary gain, and a big game hunter (Jürgen Prochnow) looking for revenge on the reptile that ate his wife. Gustav’s reign of bloodshed creates the perfect cover for a local serial killer, dubbed Little Gustav. It comes to the surprise of nobody when Big Gustav chomps Little Gustav in half, saving our heroes from a gory demise. Despite its shortcomings, Primeval is amusing enough to hold interest, even when the plot descends into a rip-off of Jaws, Jurassic Park, and many other nature-gone-awry movies. But your interest can only be held for so long, especially during endless generic action scenes that take up way too much of the movie’s relatively short runtime. Hokey computer FX and a lack of suspense keep the film from being at all memorable. C

SUGAR HILL (1974) Diana “Sugar” Hill (Marki Bey) wants revenge for the murder of her boyfriend at the hands of violent crime lord Morgan (Robert Quarry) and his band of hoodlums. Instead of using a gun, Sugar seeks the help of a voodoo priestess (future Mother Jefferson, Zara Cully), who summons the Lord of the Dead (Don Pedro Colley) and his army of killer zombies. Sugar is subsequently transformed into an afro-sporting Bad Ass and, with zombies on hand, goes about dispatching Quarry’s goons. At times Sugar Hill‘s script feels stretched a bit too thin, with a subplot involving Sugar’s ex-beau, a cop, getting in the way of the film’s main attraction. But it’s hard not to enjoy the film’s supernatural ambience mixed with the justice-seeking kick-assery. It’s no Blacula, but Sugar Hill is a worthy entry in the seventies exploitation market. B

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