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Sweet Sugar (2018) - Blu-ray Review

3 beers“Alright, ladies, from here on out your machete is your best friend.  Keep it clean.  Keep it sharp.  And keep it well oiled.”  With those specific instructions, the burly guards of one sugarcane harvesting prison program in Costa Rica unleash Hell itself by arming the plantation’s prisoners.  Wait.  What?  Yes, indeed.  There’s probably no other movie that could make that line of dialogue feel fully in place than the wildly uneven R-rated exploitation flick, Sweet Sugar, a movie that teases more than it pleases.

The kidnapped women – with the luscious Phyllis Davis (Beneath the Valley of the Dolls) and the mouthwatering Ella Edwards as the two leads – are thrust into this plantation with the sole duty to swing their machetes, look good while doing it, and cut the sugarcane until their sentence is up.  They are, of course, wild in attitude and in dress and if the hot pants don’t drive you to drink, well, their bountiful bosoms certainly will.  And, as they are both conned prostitutes who are pretty pissed at their current situation, they are down for anything in order to escape the fields.

The cult film is directed by Michael Levesque (Werewolves on Wheels) but has less of the obvious and uninhabited blending that made his biker/horror film one hell of a ride through b-movie terrain.  Sweet Sugar, even if you have read a bit more into it than expected, is a Mad Scientist meets Women in Prison movie that attempts to do – rather surprisingly – as little as possible in order to tell Don Spencer’s by-the-numbers tale of chained passion and easy exploitation. 

With the inclusion of the sociopath (and head honcho of the prison) Dr. John (Angus Duncan) and his wicked experiments upon the prisoners, we do get a bit of Dr. Frankenstein feel the flick, especially when his assistant Wolfgang creeps into frame handing him tools in order to help Sugar reach an orgasm while strapped to his frigid table.

Even with its well-endowed cast of female characters, Sweet Sugar prides itself in leaving its viewers as limp as a shoelace.  I say that first and foremost because you should be aware that even the action scenes in this “get free by any means” action flick are pretty tame.  That doesn’t mean that this over-the-top WiP picture isn’t without its merits – it is – but you just need to know the lay of the land here.

And there’s no fixing that, even if Vinegar Syndrome’s stellar restoration from the original 35mm camera interpositive is a work of 2K art, which it obviously is.  Fans of this cult flick have longed for it to receive a fair shake for a home viewing.  They finally get that with this release, complete with a brief interview from Donald Spencer, and should be very happy with this limited edition release.

Mint Juleps and South American plantation slavery for women sideways from the straight and narrow.  Give in to it, Sweet Sugar.  Give in.


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Sweet Sugar (2018) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
90 mins
: Michel Levesque
Don Spencer
Phyllis Davis, Ellaraino, Timothy Brown
: Action | Drama
Bitter Days...Sweet Nights
Memorable Movie Quote: "It's only because you don't understand how far my proposal extends (as he is undressing)."
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: January 30, 2018
Synopsis: The beautiful Phyllis Davis (TV’s VEGAS) stars as Sugar, a fun loving nympho traveler, who’s entrapped by a corrupt cop and sent to a female prison camp hidden deep in the tropical jungles of South America. Assigned a position on the notorious sugar cane gang, Sugar soon discovers that the plantation’s owner, Dr. John, uses the prisoners in violent and diabolical experiments. Sugar may soon become another of his victims, that is, unless she can bust out first ...


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Sweet Sugar (2018) - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome
Available on Blu-ray
- January 30, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH
English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Sweet Sugar arrives on 1080p courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome.  The newly minted 2k transfer – with a crackling 1.85:1 aspect ratio – from the original interpositive looks damn sharp.  It’s full of great colors that pop and deep blacks that provide nice levels of shadows and thick lines.  Edges are good, too.  While this is a cheaper production from the stickier side of the aisle, the film has simply never looked as good as it does here.  Skin tones are perfect and so, too, are the details in the cut-off shorts and tight shirts that the girls wear.  Nice details – especially outside with all the leafy greens – are seen throughout the film.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 mono track is sufficient for the release.



  • None

Special Features:

This region free Blu-ray/DVD combo pack from Vinegar Syndrome features a newly scanned and restored in 2k transfer from the original 35mm interpositive.  If that’s not enough of a reason to pick up this LIMITED EDITION release, there’s the new video interview with screenwriter Donald Spencer, the original trailer, and original cover artwork from Derek Gabryszak.

  • Screenwriter Donald Spencer Video Interview
  • Original Theatrical Trailer


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Sweet Sugar (2018) - Blu-ray Review