Blue Sunshine

BLUE SUNSHINE. 1976

THE RINGER. 1974

Director: Jeff Lieberman

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



Blue Sunshine is a low budget slasher film that blames LSD use in college for horrific happenings in users' later careers as politicians, police officers, doctors, or what-not. Everyone who used an LSD called Blue Sunshine at Stanford University years before is suddenly losing their hair, getting wild-eyed, super strong, & kill people. One killer stuffs girls in a fireplace as they scream & try to climb out of the flames. Another killer poses a threat to her young wards while babysitting.

As "monster" FX go, skull caps to make characters bald is about as low budget as can be done. And theme wise, the idea that being bald is inherently monstrous & even mannikens without wigs are instantly creepy is even dumber than the LSD is evil theme. Both of these ideas seem kind of retarded messages to be conveying, though if there is any such thing as bald-o-phobia, the baldophobes will get the wet farts from this one.

Yet somehow the film has a certain appeal despite its stupidity. And make no mistake, it is really stupid. The plot-premise boils down to a man (Zalman King) wrongly accused of several of the psycho murders trying to find out what Blue Sunshine has done to people in order to clear his name. He believes that if he can stop one of the psychos using a sleep-dart, he can convince the police to give the fellow a blood test which will prove Blue Sunshine has changed the DNA of the actual killers. But in the morgue they eventually have three dead bald psychos & could've done blood tests at any time with hardly any of the events involving our hero having been necessary.

So the great "climax" which includes the "relief" that our hero is finally going to be cleared of wrongful accusations, because he has successfully darted a raging psycho, is beyond moronic. And anyway, even if there had been no DNA changes concurrent with baldness & raging madness, there were two children witness to the third psycho's acts & how our hero actually saved them. Our hero wasn't present for the police officer bald psycho's act of homicide-suicide. And inevitable forensics even at the first crime would doubtless have cleared our hero. And the final psycho whom he darted was raging through a shopping mall with hundreds of witnesses, so rather improbable that even the world's worst detectives wouldn't be able to figure that one out. Ultimately, nothing that our hero does in this film was necessary.

Beats me why, but despite all, the film has a certain cheezy low budget verve. Even with one of the most nonsencially implausible stories ever, it's better than nine-tenths of the stalking psycho movies out there, & perhaps even socially intriguing for conveying the growing fear experienced by maturing ex-hippies & boomers who later worried that they may have done themselves irrevokable harm doing drugs in the far-out-man '60s. Blue Sunshine is not a kitschy laugh-riot of retardation like the director's first film Squirm, but it leans in that direction.

The RingerOne thing the film does have going for it is an interesting soundtrack incorporating gamalon, written by Charles Gross, which is deservedly available in a separate CD.

The DVD has a few extras including a well done interview with the writer-director. Leiberman doesn't seem nearly as retarded as the film, despite that he clealry has a higher opinion of the film than good sense would permit.

Also included is an early short film by Leiberman The Ringer, that can be viewed with or without director commentary. It was funded by anti-drug monies though what Leiberman made was a satire of anti-drug educational films.

It posits youth being so stupid that decrepit businessmen with a clever enough campaign could even convince kids to where jewelry in their noses. This silly film was made a little before nose piercing was commonplace, & the director really believed he'd lit on something satirically exaggerated.

If the director had been even a half inch of hip he'd've known punks were already piercing their noses, & if he hadn't been ethnocentric he wouldn't mistaken jewelry for the nose inherently absurdist. So even if The Ringer weren't dumb the week it was filmed & dumber still in retrospect, it's just about unwatchable in any case.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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