Monday, August 4, 2014

Blue Sunshine - 1978

"Blue Sunshine" - 1978
Dir. by Jeff Lieberman - 1 hr. 34 min.

Official Trailer

by Clayton Hollifield

I'm not even going to pretend "Blue Sunshine" held my attention.  The description of the film sounded like it might be some oddball, weird fun, but that was intermittent, at best.  It leaned too heavily in the direction of horror and not enough on the weird, for my tastes.

During a dinner party, one of the guests freaks out, loses his hair (and this is what I don't understand - the hair comes off in one piece, as if it was a toupee, but I think the idea is that it was supposed to be the contents of someone's scalp, but there's no blood or anything like that), and starts chucking the women into the fireplace.  One of the other party-goers chases the freakazoid out into the night, eventually pushing him in front of a semi.  But the drivers only see that part of the proceedings, and blame Jerry (Zalman King) for all of the murders.  On the lam, Jerry tries to figure out what caused the freak-out, but it keep happening with different people.  It seems that a type of LSD called Blue Sunshine, which Jerry's doctor dealt in college (to pay for school, of course, he never touched the stuff himself), has a ten-year surprise in store for whomever indulged in their youth: they're going to lose their hair and kill whomever is handy.

First caveat: I'm not partial to horror films.  Horror filmmakers frequently use smoke and mirrors to keep non-horror fans interested when things get too stupid, things like nudity and absurd violence, an abundance of swearing and jiggling.  None of that was present in "Blue Sunshine."  I suppose there will be a movie in ten years trying to spook EDM fans about something in their Molly that's going to make them go crazy (although we needn't wait - too many dance events have a death and injured toll appended to their write-ups), but it didn't feel like a very strong basis for a film.  There were a handful of interesting things going on, even if they were momentary.  I did love the part where a babysitter got the tell-tale strong headache while the kids were being particularly annoying, and ended up getting chased around by the babysitter, who was wielding a giant kitchen knife.  The children complained that it was scaring them, but maybe if they hadn't behaved like such little shits, they wouldn't get chased around at the wrong end of a chef's knife, being waved around by a woman with a migraine!

There was a segment towards the end of the film that seemed genuinely horrific.  An ex-footballer named Wayne Mulligan (Ray Young) was trying to make time with a little cutie pie named Alicia (Deborah Winters), who was coincidentally trying to help Jerry clear his name.  And where did Wayne want to take her?  A discotheque in the local mall!  There's two things about this that I find to represent Hell on Earth.  First:

And I will bear no argument on this subject.  Secondly, a discotheque in a mall?!?  Are you kidding me?  I can't say that the proliferation of chain restaurants and Claire's that litter every mall in America represent a step forward for American culture.  At least I couldn't, before I realized that beneath every Applebee's and every Outback Steakhouse might lay the rubble of a freaking mall discotheque!  That's progress I can get behind.

Anyhow, of course Wayne was a total balls-tripper during his college days, and freaks out at the disco.  Like ninety-percent of the one star I give this film is due to his military pressing some dude Ultimate Warrior-style (because, as I've said before, there is literally nothing I love more than someone using a professional wrestling move in the middle of a movie fight.  Not cupcakes, not walking hand-in-hand with my sweetie on a boardwalk during sunset, not even Cap'n Yoby's tartar sauce), before the segue into the big mall showdown between Jerry and Wayne, where Jerry plugs Wayne with a tranquilizer dart, solving nothing beyond subduing the big guy who's wrecking everything.  But what about all those other hits of acid?!?

I guess everyone's just out of luck, then!  That what you get for being dirty hippies, you dirty hippies!  Maybe I should have paid better attention to "Blue Sunshine," but maybe it should have been a more interesting movie.  The only thing that really stuck with me was Wayne's discotheque hellworld freak-out, and that I can't figure out what was supposed to be up with everyone's hair when it fell out, but stayed one piece.  The hair should have either just fell apart all over the place, or the scalp needed to come off with it (which is reasonable, considering this is a horror film).  Otherwise, it suggests that each of these unwashed philistines were covering up for previous hair-loss with a bad wig, but that would detract from the suddenness of their respective murderous freak-outs.  And when the biggest impression a movie makes on me is the awkwardness of an effect, we have a bit of a problem.

1 / 5 - TV (HD)

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