January 15, 2015

Movie Review: Sugar Cookies

If you look long and hard enough, you are sure to stumble across some oddball movies. You will find some odd combinations of talent involved in films that do not seem to fit in with the rest of their respective filmographies. They are the kind of movies that folks tend to leave off of their resumes when heading out to auditions. They are also the kind of movies that garner dedicated cult followings. In this case it is a movie called Sugar Cookies. It is the kind of title that appeals to the diabetic in all of us, although, in this case, the title has little to do with the film. The movie happens to be am erotic thriller. It's called Sugar Cookies.

No, I don't get the title either, but the movie itself is still pretty good. It is not exactly great, but it is interesting in how it trie to combine sexploitation with a Hitchcock-styled thriller. It could be seen as a sleazy take on Vertigo. Does that pique your interest? It should. While, it will never make any best of lists, it is certainly a movie to make some notice of. This is especially true if you are a fan of period sleaze. Also, it is notable for a cast that includes Mary Woronov (Death Race 2000, Eating Raoul, Chopping Mall, The Devil's Rejects) and Lynn Lowry (I Drink Your Blood, They Came From Within, The Crazies), as well as it's co-writer/executive producer Lloyd Kaufman (pre-Troma), not to mention one of the associate producers being a young Oliver Stone. Interesting collection, no?

As the movie opens, we are introduced to Alta Leigh (Lowry), a softcore porn star, and her pornographer boyfriend Max (George Shannon). The two are engaging in a little creative sex game involving a loaded handgun. Things drift a little far and Max kills Alta with a gunshot to the head. Not wanting to take the rap for murder, he passes it off as a suicide. For an alibi, he involves another girlfriend, and casting agent, Camilla (Woronov). She goes along, but is not exactly happy as she and Alta were also lovers.

While casting a replacement, Camilla stumbles upon Julie Kent (Lowry again), a dead ringer for Alta. At this moment, Camilla gets an idea. She takes Julie in and seduces her. With the seduction in place she manipulates Julie, controlling her physically and emotionally, all in a ploy to exact revenge on Max for the murder of Alta. It is all quite sleazy, with plenty of sex scenes, gratuitous nudity and 70's “artiness.”

I rather enjoyed the movie. It is not great by any stretch and its excellence is more in elements and moments than it is in the whole. It is interesting to note that Lloyd Kaufman has stated this is the only X-rated movie to have lost money. I am not sure if that is the case, but it is a movie that does not seem to be remembered by anyone. I had never heard of it prior to its 2014 Blu-ray release (from Vinegar Syndrome, and it looks great).

Sugar Cookies, directed by Mary Woronov's then husband Theodore Gershuny, is a heady mix of the thriller and the erotic, it ends up a slightly uneven mash that still manages to entertain with flashes of excellence. It is a title that may not be on the lips of many, but is certainly worth spending a little time with. It comes from a time when you could still mix styles like this and get a release.


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