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Blue Sunshine

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Jeff Leiberman
Zalman King
Deborah Winters
Mark Goddard
Robert Walden
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 "Did you ever hear the words Blue Sunshine? Try to remember... your life may depend upon it."
I'd love to show Blue Sunshine to a guy at work who always wears a terrible wig. Anyway, Jeff Leiberman's cult 70's movie has seemingly normal and respectable folks loosing their hair (very quickly) and going on homicidal rampages. Why are they doing this? Well, they all took a particular batch of acid called Blue Sunshine back in their late 60's university days and then 10 years later, it really starts to kick in. It gives you bad headaches, makes your hair fall out and then turns you into a murdering psychopath that hates loud noises (especially disco music).
This $550,000 film is a classic bit of satirical horror hokum guaranteed to provide plenty of smiles and it's certainly well made too. The one fault with it though, is that no matter how well it was directed, folks tend to look pretty darn funny when they suddenly loose their hair! The first unveiling scene being the classic example of this where a wig is whipped straight off and a guy goes from crooning away like Ol' Blue Eyes to staring like a bald madman in a couple of seconds only.
So the premise itself is too silly to threaten the viewer much but that doesn't stop it being highly enjoyable and there are two impressive scenes (the hospital operation and the babysitter) where the tension
is full-on. Zalman King is an unusual lead which seems rather appropriate for such an unusual film. You're supposed to wonder whether or not King's oddly behaving character partook in a Blue Sunshine trip himself at some point. He becomes involved in the story after one of his friends is the first to go on the rampage leaving him as the prime suspect in the case.
As you'd have guessed from the synopsis, this film contains a lot of humour and satire. Such as a Blue Sunshine victim causing havok at a shopping mall (before Dawn Of The Dead!) and going on the rampage at a disco. For me, the two funniest scenes in the film
are the first wig snatching incident and definetly the shot of a photograph showing just how different one film character looked back in the sixties at university!
Leiberman confesses on the enjoyable dvd commentary track that lsd experiences and a bout of Scarlet Fever (which sometimes causes complete hair loss) suffered as a child were the main influences for this film that he wrote and directed. I should also imagine that Reefer Madness and the Charles Manson incidents
were major influences too though.
Synapse Films have had to utilise digital technolgy on a damaged 35mm print of the film since Blue Sunshine's original negative was destroyed or lost years ago. There's actually a short comparison extra which shows 'before' and 'after' shots of the film. The quality of the dvd's print is still rather fuzzy with some print damage but when you see just how bad it would have looked before 17 hours of digital cleanup, you realise that Synapse have done their best here for the genre fan.
This release will be available in two versions and this reviewed version is limited to 50,000 copies only. But with the only difference being that a cd of the previously unavailable score is also being included in this initial package. So bear in mind that the cd won't be around as an extra for too long. This cool limited edition offers:
- An anamorphic print supervised by Leiberman
- Original mono sound and new 5.1 remix
- An enjoyable director's commentary
- A 20 min and $20,000 short film made by Leiberman in 1971 with optional commentary
- An impressive 30 minute interview ("Leiberman on Leiberman")
- A stills gallery, trailer and liner notes
- The score on cd
This is an excellent release from Synapse who have seen fit to treat this odd but highly enjoyable low-budgeted horror (and the director) with maximum respect. Great packaging too, a highly recommended buy.

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