Blue Sunshine (1978)
By: David Michael Brown on February 9, 2004  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Synapse Films (USA).Region 1, NTSC. 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, English 1.0. 90 Minutes
The Movie
Director: Jeff Lieberman
Starring: Zalman King, Deborah Winters, Robert Walden
Screenplay: Jeff Lieberman
Tagline: "Did you ever hear the words Blue Sunshine? Try to remember…your life may depend on it"
Country: USA
Directed by Jeff Lieberman, the man who gave us Squirm and Just Before Dawn; Blue Sunshine is a hippy nightmare made flesh. A group of thirty something's are partying when one of the guests loses his hair and goes berserk, kills three young girls and ends up dead under a truck. Wrongly accused of the murders Jerry Zipkin, played in a strange performance by erotic thriller producer Zalman King, flees the police and decides a bit of sleuth work is his only way of avoiding prison. Soon realising that college alumni are turning into bald psychopaths he discovers a connection between the former students and a form of LSD called Blue Sunshine.

Corrupt, flare wearing, politicians and side burned security guards add to the intrigue as Zipkin digs deeper and the gun toting finale forces our reluctant hero to take action against the follically challenged killers. To give more away or reveal the killers would spoil the demented mood that Lieberman has created. While not a "whodunit", great fun can be had predicting whose wig will fall next!

Lieberman infuses his vision with some truly delirious imagery, in particular the fight between Zipkin and a dome headed female psycho that ends in a multi storey freefall. The film has a gloriously Seventies look, especially in the latter nightclub scenes. Well paced and nicely played, the films main problem is the before mentioned lead performance. Zipkin is played as an unlike-able soul who very rarely seems to do the right thing, in fact more often than not his irrational plans lead to disaster. This obviously makes for entertaining if not plausible entertainment.

The film has to be seen by all fans of B- Grade Seventies horror. It's the embodiment of all that is great about the era. Seek out the DVD before this limited edition vanishes off the shelves.
A comparison is given between the old video print and the re-mastered image which shows what a great job Synapse has done. Sharp and clear, the picture does belie the films low budget but does a great job with what was available. The odd scratch is still visible and some frames lack colour but on the whole Synapse should be commended for a job well done.
The soundtrack has also been remixed to Dolby 5.1 and is clean and crisp. The surround is used sparingly but to good effect. As an added bonus an extra soundtrack CD is included, the music's first ever digital release.
Extra Features
The disc features a fine selection of extras considering the low budget origins of the film and its relative obscurity since its original cinematic release. The disc kicks off with Lieberman on Lieberman, a 30 minute video interview with the director. Often rambling and always animated, he talks about his entire career and many projects that never made it to the screen. He inevitably repeats himself in the running commentary but is always amusing and interesting in both. The Ringer, Lieberman's 30 minute short film condemning the heartless world of business and nose rings! is also enhanced by another running commentary by the director. An excellent trailer, deluxe packaging, liner notes and a fine still gallery round off a superb package.
The Verdict
Lieberman's movie has been unavailable for 10 years so congratulations to Synapse for dragging the film from video obscurity into DVD heaven. The demented combination of drugs, violence, horror and politics perfectly sums up everything that was wonderful from the Seventies. A joy from its dark sombre opening titles to its violent disco denouement, the film is a must for any fan of horrific trash.
Movie Score
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