Sugar Cookies (1973)

Porn star Alta Leigh (Lynne Lowry sporting a wig) is Max Pavell’s (George Shannon) plaything. She’s trim, barely sun kissed and shaped to Max’s exact specifications. Max has a bit of a mean streak as he forces the rosy cheeked and pink lipped beauty to play dangerous sex games. We’re talking Phil Spector level crazy involving fire arms and shit. He makes the statuesque starlet load the gun and turn off the safety before they play with the gun. He begins taunting her telling her how she can’t figure out if he will kill her or not after she licks her own juices off of the gun barrel. Surprise! He blows her fucking head off on camera but reports it as a suicide.

Alta’s lover Camila (the smoldering Mary Woronov) hires an aspiring actress named Julie (also Lynne Lowry) who looks a lot like Alta…go figure. Max then sexes up his secretary (Jennifer Welles) while talking to his attorney. If there was any doubt that he wasn’t into kink he chokes her while he tears her panties off. Helping to make sure that no character is likable, Camila surreptitiously kindles a Sapphic relationship with Julie by first becoming a fast friend then getting her to strip for the camera before she hops in bed with her with no intentions other than to use her to exact revenge on Max. Lowry spends the majority of the time with her clothes off and being a total submissive to Max and being used and abused by everyone in the film. The payoff when it finally comes is pretty much the mirror image of what happened to Alta orchestrated by Camila. As sleazy as it is boring Sugar Cookies is a lot like watching paint dry with boobs all over the place. The nudity is so pervasive and rapey as to lose any titillating value it may have…which is a lot coming from a fan of Jim Wynorski and Dean McKendrick. There is no fun or any levity to lower the crushing weight of the gravitas at all during the film’s run time.

Odd counterpoint to the main story…for what it is… is the odd arc involving Max’s tubby son. He’s a porn fiend who sneaks into strip shows. He seems to rape prostitutes, one of which calls his dad! He enjoys himself in the shower and then experiments with transexuality after getting his ass beat.

Lynne Lowry and Warhol Superstar Mary Woronov star in this tale of pornography, look-a-likes, lesbians and revenge co-written by Lloyd Kaufman and director Theodore Gershuny (Silent Night, Bloody Night). Another Warhol superstar, Ondine, shows up. This isn’t the only time Woronov, Gershuny and Ondine worked together. The three of them appear in Silent Night, Bloody Night. Vinegar Syndrome’s BD/DVD combo release includes a theatrical trailer and a Lynne Lowry featurette interview on the BD and the DVD also includes interviews with Lloyd Kaufman and Mary Woronov. This is by far the best the film has looked and I doubt that it will ever look better. A lot of love goes into these grimy gems. The BD/DVD combo can be found at Vinegar Syndrome’s site here. Check out the trailer below.

Lust for Freedom (1987)

Gillian Kaites (Melanie Coll) is an undercover detective trying to infiltrate an arms dealing operation run by Jonathan Troma (they did produce it after all). The sting goes south and one of the officers killed was her fiance. A rookie blew their cover too soon and Gillian laments, “Cops were dying all over the place and all I could do was act like a woman.” With her life as she knows it wrecked, Gillian leaves town without notice and heads south looking to re-invent herself. She picks up a terrified hitchhiker who seems to be in hysterics. She bolts from the car after Gillian is pulled over by Sheriff Coale (William J. Kulzer) and a sinister looking conversion van takes off after her (read as molester van). Two rough men brutally gun down the runaway blonde as the sheriff takes Gillian back to the station. 

After Coale drugs her and turns her over to chief turnkey, the lesbianic Ms. Pusker (Judi Trevor), LUST FOR FREEDOM turns into a fairly standard women in prison flick. The warden pulls the sheriff’s strings and is control of an operation that imprisons innocent women and exploits them for profit in various ways. Some inmates compete pushing drugs on the all female prison populace and turf wars are violent and short. A profitable snuff film industry also takes its share of the ladies while the rest are used and abused for the amusement of the guards and the warden’s henchmen. Doc Base (George Engelson) comes around from time to time and buys a buxom, nubile and healthy lass to ship across the border into ol’ Mexico. With all of these operations in effect it is difficult to tell what the main purpose of the whole scheme may be. Much like the spark factories of many action flicks sole purpose is to produce sparks, perhaps this prison’s only real function is to provide torment and exploitation to the mostly blonde women in this film? Anyhow on any given night you will find a lot going on. At the same moment two lipstick lesbians are making love, a girl is chained to the wall and flogged, and an inmate is raped by one of the warden’s thugs because she fails to sell enough drugs to the other girls. It’s up to Gillian to either succumb to self pity or reach deep inside herself to find her LUST FOR FREEDOM.

The film fairly drags after the pre-title sequence up until the ass kicking climax of the third act. Don’t get me wrong there is plenty of degradation heaped upon the lovely gals and some tender and sizzling Sapphic trysts but nothing that breaks the mold. It gets a tad confusing because most of the women are blonde…in 1987 go figure…and there is little to nothing done to develop any of the characters. Don’t worry too much though because there is enough T&A and other Troma-tic influence to keep you invested in Gillian’s saga up until the batshit crazy uprising that will either spell either victory or death for all the trapped girls. 

It’s uneven pacing, low budget, and out of sync dubbing (audio is in post and several lines are spoken without mouths moving…) make this a cheese classic. Plenty of boobs, blood and schlock to keep this viewer interested and hopefully enough for you too. Also contributing to the madness is the band Grim Reaper with the tunes Lust for Freedom and Rock You to Hell.

Vinegar Syndrome presnents LUST FOR FREEDOM in its original aspect ration and offers a great restoration from the original materials. Leaps and bounds above the previous release this disc is the first fruits of Vin Syn’s and Troma’s agreement which opens Troma’s vault to Vin Syn on select titles. No titles that were directed by Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz. This edition has a new commentary by director Eric Louzil (Class of Nuke ‘Em High 2 & 3), an interview with the public face of Troma Lloyd Kaufman and a theatrical trailer. Check out the trailer below.