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June 18, 2014

Movie Review: Sugar Cookies (1971, Blu-ray)

When most reflect on the vast film resume of legendary cult film and B-Movie pioneer, Lloyd Kaufman the first films that really come to mind are the ones that truly put his company Troma Entertainment on the map, The Toxic Avenger and The Class of Nuke-Em High. Joel Reed’s Bloodsucking Freaks and Charles Kaufman’s Mother’s Day certainly opened some eyes a few years earlier but none can really top the fanfare of those nuclear waste horror/comedies from the mid 1980’s. Kaufman did do quite a bit of work on films in the 1970’s before his emergence in the 80’s, and it wasn’t so much horror either, it was in soft-core and adult movies. In 1973 he penned and produced Theodore Gershuny’s erotic thriller Sugar Cookies starring genre lovelies Lynn Lowry (I Drink Your Blood, The Crazies) and Mary Woronov (Eating Raoul, Death Race 2000). Troma released Sugar Cookies a few years back on DVD but have now joined forces with the impressive up ‘n’ comers at Vinegar Syndrome for a Blu-ray release.

The rather disturbing opening scene of Sugar Cookies involves a movie director named Max Pavell (George Shannon) who forces his young actress, Alata (Lowry) into a violent sexual game (which includes the fellating of a revolver). The result does not end well for the beauty. Being the cunning slime he is, Max is able to make it Alata’s death look like a suicide. Even with this happening, the show must go on for Pavell and his partner Camila (Woronov). Although Camilla plays a little with Pavell, her heart is really with her dead lesbian lover Alta. Camila starts to audition various girls for new erotic films and comes across Alta’s doppelganger, Julia (Lowry, again). Getting back at Pavell becomes the plan for Camila with Julia now in the fold.

Sugar Cookies really goes a lot of different places and while it’s loaded with plenty of sex and T & A, the story and the excellent chemistry by both Lowry and Woronov bring the movie to a place beyond the standard sexploitation fare. There are some spots that are downright disturbing, like the sex game in the opening and there are some surprisingly funny moments like the previously mentioned casting call where Camilla discovers Julia. Also, for fans of the late-great Al Goldstein’s Screw magazine look out for a cameo by of the magazine and adult film actress Jennifer Wells.

The sets are very vibrant and give off an eclectic mood which is really kind of impressive for a micro-budgeted film. I also got a kick out of the ever changing wardrobe of our alpha-female Camila and some of the quirky characters that are scattered about this bizarre world of sex and death. It certainly helps that Vinegar Syndrome’s exceptional restoration of the film elements certainly helps make all these important aspects that much more appealing in this Blu-ray / DVD combo.

If you enjoy Sugar Cookies enough be sure to check out the extra features that are located on the Blu-ray and DVD. There’s an interview with Lloyd Kaufman, Mary Woronov and Lynn Lowry. I especially liked hearing some of Lowry’s insight and stories. She actually was offered zero pay for the film and while she started out feeling uncomfortable with all the nudity she began to warm up to the fact she’d be in her birthday suit for half the film. An awful looking wig that Lowry wore as the Alta character was the most bothersome aspect to her role according to her. All in all there is a very nice collection of extras for the film.

 With this fine Blu-ray release Sugar Cookies and the recent Lust for Freedom in the bag now, Vinegar Syndrome and Troma Entertainment have done a big service for fans in getting these films out there. Me thinks this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship! Highly Reccomended

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