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SUGAR COOKIES (1973) ** ½

Sugar Cookies is an early Troma movie produced and co-written by Lloyd Kaufman. It was made in collaboration with Theodore Gershuny, who also did the awful Silent Night, Bloody Night the year before. What’s striking about the film is that it’s a huge leap in quality from Silent Night, Bloody Night. The cinematography is gorgeous and the plot is involving. It’s far from perfect as it’s way too long and features too many subplots. Still, it’s a shame Gershuny worked so sporadically afterwards because he showed a lot of potential with this one.

Alta (Lynn Lowry from The Crazies) is a movie star who plays a kinky sex game with her director boyfriend Max (George Shannon). He pulls out a loaded gun, bangs her with it (no pun intended), and then makes her suck the barrel. While she’s doing so, he blows her brains out. (So I guess he did bang her after all.) His other lover, Camilla (Mary Woronov, Gershuny’s wife at the time) then holds a casting session to find a woman that looks just like her. She eventually comes across the timid Julie (also Lowry) and grooms her to be the next Alta.

Gershuny’s direction is very stylish. The opening scene is quite effective and I liked the sex scene where he intercuts a gory autopsy with the lovemaking. The script (by Gershuny and Kaufman) isn’t quite up to snuff. It’s filled with useless stalling tactics and subplots that ultimately go nowhere. The ending is also slight, abrupt, and predictable, making for an unsatisfying capper on an otherwise decent film.

Woronov and Lowry (who gets an “Introducing” credit even though she had already appeared in I Drink Your Blood) get naked a lot, which alone is a selling point. They have considerable chemistry together and the sexual tension between them feels genuine. Woronov has a great scene where she bathes while smoking and wearing a panama hat. She also does some hot topless calisthenics. Lowry is virtually naked in every scene, which helps keep you interested, although it’s not quite enough to distract you from the fact that the movie is hopelessly spinning its wheels.

Oliver Stone, a childhood friend of Kaufman’s, served as an associate producer.

AKA: Love Me My Way.

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