Blue Sunshine

Blue Sunshine (1976) movie poster

(1976) dir. Jeff Lieberman
viewed: 03/12/10

I’d long intended to eventually see this 1970’s cult classic, Blue Sunshine, but, you know, how do you make the time?

Actually, it’s got a pretty hilarious premise, sort of the acid-flashback from hell.  See, it’s 1976 and apparently 10 years ago, while in college at Stanford University, a lot of people dropped LSD, and a particular brand was called “Blue Sunshine”.  The thing is, if you took Blue Sunshine then, then you are due for some karmic comeuppence in the form of suddenly losing all body hair and then becoming a raving killer.

The film certainly has its moments, with bulging eyes and crazy looks from the newly bald folks with tufts of weird hair stringing to their scalps as they attack friends and neighbors with super-human strength like someone on angel dust or something.

The film features a couple of actors who look really familiar, proabaly from television shows of the period.  None of the names jumped out at me.  And the film sort of has this tv-quality to much of it.  I guess that it’s really the craziness and the pseudo violence that elevates the film above the average at all (average being a pretty weak B-movie or worse).

The oddest thing is the lead, played by Zalman King, who is clearly not an actor of particular quality but is also in the role of perhaps one of the stupidest and most unlikeable protagonists on film.  I mean, he’s got lots of angst, which I am guessing was meant to seem brooding and sexy, but really, he’s just a nutjob and an unlikeable nutjob at that.  The fact that anyone sticks by his side is surprising.

And what could be made of the subtext of these people who’ve moved on from their college days into the roles of society: policemen, politicians, henchmen… you could certainly suppose that there is some critique therein.  But really, it’s all in the concept, not in the execution.

It’s not great stuff, though it has a great movie poster and a killer notion as its central plot point.  Though it’s been a freaking eon since I saw it, I often thought that it might make a good double bill with Larry Cohen’s God Told Me To (1976), which is probably far more bizarre and kooky, but who knows.  The 1970’s were all a bad acid flashback in my mind, living them, remembering them, and re-visiting them.

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