Producer of “adult movies” kills one of his actresses (Mary Woronov who also starred in ) in front of the camera. Her friend and lover swears revenge. What shoulda been low grade sleaze is elevated by good acting by the two leading ladies (Mary Woronov, especially) and a totally slimy performance by George Shannon. I especially loved the groovy early 70’s wardrobes and furnishings.
Stylish erotic mindbender
Starting off, here's a synopsis: Porno queen Alta Lee (Lynn Lowry) is murdered by her pornographer lover Max (George Shannon) in a game of sexual Russian roulette. Alta's other lover, icy lesbian casting agent Camila Stone (Mary Woronov), provides an alibi for Max. But Camila has an agenda of her own, and a plan involving the seduction of innocent actress Julie (Lynn again) in a web of sexual mind games. When the lookalikes' identities are sufficiently blurred, the stage is set for vengeance as passionate as the most heated carnal encounter.
Though this movie is quite obscure and never got much attention, I find it to be a sexy, suspenseful gem. Cult goddess Woronov has one of her best-ever roles, and she and sexy-innocent Lowry play off each other well. The unsettling music provided by Gershon Kingsley, plus two original songs ("All-American Boy," "You Say You've Never Let Me Down") and the Jaynetts' "Sally, Go 'Round the Roses" compose a memorable soundtrack. Theodore Gershuny's direction is sharp, with everything photographed in muted earth tones that perfectly suggest unsavory business bubbling under society's upper crust. With tons of great New York atmosphere, Ondine (Woronov's friend and fellow Warholite) giving a great performance in a small role, and exotic Monique Van Vooren as Max's ex-wife in a comic sub-plot. This sub-plot, though amusing, looks like it belongs in another movie altogether. However, I'm not complaining, as the film is smooth even as it changes gears and is a hell of a lot more interesting that the erotic-thriller garbage currently being cranked out.
Trivia: Sugar Cookies was originally rated X (soft-core) and released by General Film Corporation in 1973. I am the proud owner of an original one-sheet poster--lucky me! In 1977, the movie was cut for an R and re-released by Troma Team, which now offers it uncut on videotape. Mary Woronov was the wife of Theodore Gershuny at the time, and was reportedly uncomfortable performing the graphic lesbian simulated sex scenes with him leering behind the camera. She can also be seen in two of his earlier productions, Kemek (1970) and Silent Night, Bloody Night (1972).
A smart and subversive sleeper that's anything but your standard 70's skin flick
Adult film actress Alta (lovely Lynn Lowry) gets killed by sleazy sex movie producer Max Pavell (well played to the slimy hilt by George Shannon) while participating in a deadly psychological head game with the scuzzball. Alta's casting agent lesbian lover Camilla (a superbly chilly and calculating portrayal by Mary Woronov) befriends sweet and naive innocent Julie (also Lowry), an aspiring actress who's a dead ringer for the deceased Alta. Camilla cunningly plots to use Julie as a means to exact revenge on Max.
Director Theodore Gershuny, who also co-wrote the daring and crafty script with Loyd Kaufman, boldly explores the dark and disturbing themes of deception, manipulation, and the dangerous power games arrogant and amoral adults play with each other simply because they can. Better still, Gershuny takes fine advantage of the New York City locations, neatly captures the lethally seductive seaminess of the 70's Big Apple porn underground milieu, and further tarts things up with a sly sense of spot-on stinging humor that pokes wickedly witty fun at pretentious smut peddlers with high-falutin' delusions of artistic grandeur (the audition sequence in which Camilla interviews a gaggle of pathetic no-talent wannabes in particular is a total riot). The ace acting from a bang-up cast helps a lot: Lowry really flexes her thespic muscles in a juicy dual role, Monique van Vooren vamps it up with venomous gusto as Max's bitchy ex-wife Helene, Ondine contributes a funny turn as catty homosexual Roderick, Daniel Sadur supplies amusing comic relief as tubby cross-dressing loser Gus, and Golden Age adult cinema favorite Jennifer Welles has a nice minor part as Max's kinky secretary. Hasse Wallin's pretty cinematography provides a sumptuous lush look. Kudos are also in order for Gershon Kingsley's eclectic, yet melodic score and the inspired use of the 60's girl group classic "Sally Go 'Round the Roses." As a tasty extra plus, both Lowry and Woronov bare their beautiful bodies with pleasing frequency. A superior soft-core erotic thriller.