"The late 60's...a time of rebellion, psychedelic rock 'n' roll, free love, and day trippin' with the help of mind bending, consciousness altering narcotics. To quote Timothy Leary, counterculture icon of the time, "We are now in the psycho, chemical age. In the future it's not going to be what book you read, but what chemical do you use to open your mind to accelerate learning." But what of the harmful effects? Oh, we were warned...Jack Webb did so on a weekly (or weakly, if you're so inclined) basis on TV's Dragnet. Even Wavy Gravy warned us to avoid the brown acid. Sometimes we found out where it was at wasn't where it was really at, if you get my drift.Blue Sunshine (1976) tells a story that involves the physical and psychological effect of a particular kind of drug many years after its' initial use. The film starts out at a party, a real groovy happening, that soon evolves into a massacre as a guy, who looks a lot like actor John Cryer but isn't, becomes unglued and goes on a psychotic killing spree. Jerry Zipkin, played by Zalman King, who was at the party, soon finds himself in the position of being falsely accused of the crimes and on the run from the police. Jerry, unable to fathom why his friend went completely bonkers and killed those people and then attacked him, is searching for answers in a desperate attempt to not only clear his name, but also learn exactly what happened. As Jerry delves deeper and deeper into the mystery, more unusual killings occur. The nature of the attackers is similar, right down to certain physical characteristics, alopecia (a loss of hair), glassy-eyed stare, super human strength, and homicidal tendencies. It's soon found that all the people who went schizoid have a common denominator in that they all attended the same university at the same time and all have a link to a politician currently running for congress. Will Jerry learn the meaning of Blue Sunshine before any more killings take place, and before the police capture him?Blue Sunshine, written and directed by Jeff Lieberman, does have Hitchcockian elements with the whole `falsely accused man trying to clear his name' theme, but also adds horror elements, giving the film a nice slant and a sense of originality. Lieberman also wrote and directed the creepy crawler Squirm (1976), a horror pic about flesh-eating earthworms. Blue Sunshine also stars Deborah Winters as Jerry's girlfriend Alicia Sweeney, Mark Goddard, who many, including myself, remember as Major Don West in the 60's television sci-fi show Lost in Space, as politician Edward Flemming, and character actor Charles Siebert as Detective Clay. Siebert's name may not ring any bells, but if you've watched television in the 70's, you will most likely recognize his face as he appeared on show like All in the Family, The Rockford Files, Police Woman, Barnaby Jones, Good Times, and a slew of others.While the film does contain some plot holes, they are easy to overlook, especially as the story tends to move pretty quickly, and the instances where the psychosis sets in, causing various individuals to lose it and go on a murderous rampage are exceptionally creepy. This is especially true of the scene with the woman babysitting the two, highly annoying children and her chasing them around with a large knife. Surprisingly, there is very little gore involved, much less than I had expected. Zalman King's performance is fairly odd and discordant, along with the delivery of a lot of his dialogue. It's hard to describe, but I had the feeling he seemed always just of out sync with the film, creating a bizarre element that would normally work against a picture, but here, it seemed to complement the plot as it unraveled. The film did seem to end rather abruptly, hinting at the chilling notion that the instances of violence may only be the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.The film, which has been out of circulation on home video for about a decade, looks really clean and clear in this anamorphic wide screen (1:78:1) release. Some very minor speckling and damaged to the print is evident, but one of the special features shows a comparison to the original print and this cleaned up print, exhibiting the amazing restorative work done, supervised by the director himself, on the film for this release, which entailed about 17 hours of intensive labor. Other special features include a new Dolby Digital created especially for home video environments, the original mono soundtrack, a full commentary by director Jeff Lieberman, an original short film directed by Lieberman, a still gallery, the original theatrical trailer for the film, comprehensive liner notes, and a 30 minute video interview with the director. This is a two disc set, with the film and special features on the first disc, the second disc being a never before released original sound track CD. All in all, an excellent release of a creepy, rarely seen film that looks at the possible residual effects of the free love generation.Cookieman108"
Don't drop out before you watch this
J from NY | New York | 10/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Most of the film reviews I've read of "Blue Sunshine" knock it to no end, citing "bad acting", an "absurd plot", et al. That's bull. This movie has the angsty flavor of a Hitchcock film with some time period-commentary thrown in. The mood of surreality and displacement is astounding.
Admittedly, not all of it makes sense, but I hardly think that's a viable complaint considering the way mainstream movies usually deal with plot. The film starts out innocently enough, with a group of (old college buddies) having a party. When a particularly goofy, Frank Sinatra looking character bends over to kiss someone else's girlfriend, he is accosted and his hair is pulled off. We see that he is completely bald, and his eyes bug out of their sockets. This a really chilling scene. He then proceeds to go completely bonzo and massacre his friends, looking like a character from Planet 9 From Outer Space on acid (no pun intended). The hero of the film chases him and he is run over by a truck. From here, things start to get really, really trippy.
Perhaps the most truly scary scene is when our hero is trying to get to the bottom of the "Blue Sunshine" phenomenon, speaking to a pill popping housewife who he believes was given the LSD by her former husband who is now a politican. After she throws him it out, believing his motives to be other than they are, her children start screaming for ice cream. It is difficult to forget this scene: her eyes get wide, she removes her hair, and comes close to butchering them with a knife. Again, this poor bastard saves the kids, and ends up looking like the villain.
The last few scenes are unforgettable, with some 70's humor thrown in. For all the occasionally bad dialogue and plot holes, I would not at all call this a "B" grade movie. It creates an undeniable atmosphere of dread and paranoia. "The Ringer", a short film dealing with the illusions of pop culture and marketing, is almost better than the movie itself. This is more than worth buying."
Blue Sunshine - a 70's ode to Reefer Madness
J from NY | 04/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Blue Sunshine" is a totally freaky flick. The plot revolves around a number of murders committed by seemingly ordinary people who suddenly lose all their hair and go insane. All of the them attended Stanford together 10 years earlier and tripped on an LSD derivative - "Blue Sunshine" - which has apparently resulted in a "chromosomal aberation" which gives them a delayed-onset homicidal madness.
It's pretty low-budget, yet effective. One of edgier scenes involves a newly-deranged bald-headed babysitter chasing a couple of little kids around their apartment with a Ginsu. As a horror movie, its shocks are tame - but creepiness abounds.
Also included in this "limited edition" set is the original soundtrack CD."
Great lost gem
Daniel Kepley | 05/05/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"FILM REVIEW---this is a great psychological horror film, easily on par with anything Cronenberg did. The only drawback is the very [weak] ending. Some scenes (especially the baby-sitter attacking kids with knife one) are very intense and effective. DVD REVIEW---Synapse Films truly did a great job: The bonus soundtrack CD is excellent and spooky, the Jeff Lieberman interview is fantastic, his short film is interesting, and the trailer is rare and a must for any collector. A must for any horror fan's collection."
An Undiscovered Gem Of '70s Horror Movies!
Daniel Kepley | Viola, DE USA | 04/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jeff Lieberman's BLUE SUNSHINE is the ultimate anti-drug message and a fine horror movie. It's all about an LSD-type drug made in 1967 made in Stanford University that causes the user to spontaneously go berserk (and bald) ten years later to the date of its ingestion. Now a friend (RED SHOE DIARIES Zalman King) of one of the users must get to the bottom of this tangled web. The best thing about BLUE SUNSHINE is that Lieberman evokes Alfred Hitchcock almost without trying; one of his inspirations was Brian DePalma (who made CARRIE the same year this was made) and Lieberman lays on the style much like DePalma did. BLUE SUNSHINE is also a brilliant commentary on the transition of the social climate from the 1960's to the 1970's and the consequences of the '60s movements, mainly drug-related, and it's just as relevant today (especially after 28 DAYS LATER) as it was in 1976! The music is also creepy and creates the perfect atmosphere of tension and paranoia necessary for the subject matter at hand (the soundtrack is included in this fine DVD limited edition). BLUE SUNSHINE is a movie that is definetly worth discovery, especially with remakes of '70s gems THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and DAWN OF THE DEAD! Definetly check this one out; your life may depend on it!"