Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Blue Sunshine

BLUE SUNSHINE. Directed by Jeff Lieberman. Starring Zalman King (1978).

    Director Jeff Lieberman made this one after "Squirm", which is inarguably the best film about killer earthworms ever made. I watched this effort, "Blue Sunshine", many years ago and had vaguely positive memories of it.


  I must have been on drugs.
    With the credits we meet some seemingly random people in various domestic situations losing their tempers and making crazy eyes in extreme close-up. The mother ranting about chocolate pudding is worth a giggle, maybe. Next we wander over to a totally un-swinging party where we hang out with Brion James, back before he failed the tortoise test as a replicant in Blade Runner. He does his impression of Godzilla's flying buddy Rodan. Yes, really. Unfortunately, this is the third best moment in the film, and Mr. James' only appearance in it. Then we are treated to some pre-karaoke karaoke, which inevitably leads to making out, which inevitably leads to some dude getting his hair pulled right off, which inevitably leads to more crazy eyes in extreme close-up. Baldy runs out into the night looking like a cut-rate Nosferatu.
    Turns out they're partying in a cabin in the woods.
    No way that could go wrong.

Zippy The Pinhead

  Soon Jerry Zipman (Zalman "Red Shoe Diaries" King), known to his friends as Zippy, wanders off into the woods alone with a flashlight to look for his friend. Three lovely young women are left alone in the cabin. Thirteen minutes in, we get some serious crazy going at last. Baldy returns, having left the remainder of his sanity off in the woods somewhere. A woman gets stuffed in a fireplace, and an all-around crappy party takes a turn for the worse. Baldy can be accused of many things, but being a feminist is not one of them. This is a relatively mean-spirited kill scene. I have high hopes at this point, but it turns out that this is pretty much the peak of the movie in terms of horror.
    Zippy's response to the situation when he returns to the cabin doesn't really help matters. Due to some aggressively dim-witted behavior on his part, Zippy is blamed for the crimes.  Soon he is on the run with a bullet lodged in his body. He flees from the police and investigates on his own, because that is what innocent people do in movies. In his travels he finds more and more instances of people losing their hair and going on killing sprees. He visits one of the crime scenes around 34 minutes in and goes a little loco himself, temporarily. Also, there is a parrot.

    Along the way he spots a poster with the words Blue Sunshine on it and a picture of a young hippy type. He recognizes a younger version of aspiring congressman Ed Flemming, aka actor Mark Goddard, aka Major Don West from Lost in Space. Zippy finds el jefe and asks about "Blue Sunshine" but the candidate ain't talking. A very brief and silly car chase ensues. We're 47 minutes in. I am bored.
    But... what's this? Surgery? Are my dark, unwholesome prayers to be answered? I have a feeling we're going to witness the mother of all malpractice suits in the making. And... nothing. Really, movie? REALLY? You tease.
    Anyway, Zippy is slowly, slooooooowly figuring out the plot. It turns out that back at Stanford all the nutters partook of a batch of LSD named "Blue Sunshine". Unfortunately, this formula causes you to lose your hair and turn homicidal ten years after you take it. You shoulda stuck to the Owsley White Lightning, brah, it was hella clean.
    Around 1 hour 3 minutes in, a harried mother listens to her spawn shouting like the little barbarians they are. Unable to cope with the stress, she gobbles mother's little helpers, contemplates homicide with pill dust flaking off her face, peels off her hair, and goes all creepy looking. Stares at the shiny kitchen knives. Shiny. Shiny. If only these creepy little moments weren't spaced so far apart, they might have had something here. I'm going to respect this movie a lot more if they have the balls to kill off the tots... but, predictably, no. Our hero steps in for the rescue. Total weaksauce. And Zippy, through his incredibly stupid behavior, gets blamed again.
    Around 1 hour 24 minutes in, we finally get something resembling real entertainment. The senator's ex-linebacker bodyguard loses his hair, with scraps of it hanging off like he's gone punk as fuck. He moves like he's channeling the spirit of Frankenstein's monster. Our giant Johnny-Rotten-wannabe sure seems to hate disco, which turns out to be the key to his defeat. I can't tell if he's dancing or suffering, but either way it works. Second best sequence in the movie, maybe the best, but not because it's scary.
    Politico Flemming is confronted with the knowledge that his youthful LSD hijinks have killed his wife and warped the minds of his best friends. Bummer, man. Zippy has a showdown with the brain-melted bodyguard in an abandoned department store. Zippy gets knocked down. Zippy shoots the bad guy. Some text on the screen informs us that there are still 255 tabs of Blue Sunshine out there that have never been accounted for. Roll credits. A weak ending to a weak film, but there were a few good moments. If you watch it, don't be shy about using your fast-forward, because you won't actually miss anything.

Reviewed by GS

Are you lookin at my sweet parrot, or my awesome hair?

Stanford was GROOVY

Watch It on Netflix

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