Sex and Drugs: Blue Sunshine (1978)

With a title like Blue Sunshine one may think this is a movie about Viagra.  It’s not.  People go bald and get pissed off.  Though the anger is not because of the baldness.  Luckily enough most of them wear toups and wigs.  The film opens slowly with hair falling out and soon to be dead lady yelling at her kids.  We are then shown the title card for what looks like the fourth fucking time.  Just incase you forgot you were watching Blue Sunshine.  

A whole cast of characters who you don’t know and care about are at yet another boring ass party.  At least the music here sounds like Bossa Nova.  But Zalmon King is starring and Brion James is flying around like a bird you can tell we’re in for a sleazy treat already.  While one of Jerry’s (King) friends is humiliated at the party by someone ripping off his toupee.  The whole group goes after Fran who did the appropriate crazy bug eye look when his baldness was publicly revealed.  So whack job baldy comes back to the party after the men took off to find him.  He crams one lady into the fireplace before turning on the others.  Confused yet?  Nah.  Jerry comes back to help out.  “By helping out I mean he slams the door shut, looks worried and paces back and forth while the girls burn up in the world’s largest fireplace.  Frannie then proceeds kicking the ever living shit out of Jerry and Jerry is forced to shove him in front of the truck.  What?

So truck driver dude blames Jerry as the murderer and shoots him.  Jerry runs off even though he is warned “Stop man or I’m gonna shoot you again.”  Really.  Why wouldn’t Jerry have just stopped?  Well thanks to Officer Exposition we find out that Jerry is erratic and he graduated from Cornell.  He also has had 10 jobs in the last 5 years.  We then cut to more people who are losing their hair and weeping… bah.  I weep whenever my shit falls out too, who wouldn’t.

Well, Jerry meets his main squeeze in a “borrowed suit”.  She tells him to turn himself in but he looks at her in confusion.  I was confused too, but then I noticed some subtle exposition in the background…I can’t believe the neighbor’s dog didn’t make it.

Is he bald too?  I can’t see the picture for the headline.

Well Jerry keeps digging to get to the bottom of things and clear his now besmirched name.  After some investigation he finds the word “blue sunshine” and then goes to ask a local politician about it.  I dozed a little bit during the whole Manchurian Candidate part of the flick anyway.

Despite all of Zippy’s investigating, it is his girlfriend who figures it out.  They all went to college together 10 years ago.  Gah.  Really?  Zippy shows up in time to see his surgeon friend flip out in the OR yelling at his nurses and prodding and cutting away on the patient.  

Doc spills the beans.  He was a dealer at school.  Blue sunshine was a type of acid that causes folks to lose all of their hair and go crazy. So everyone who took it is a ticking time bomb.  Meet Big Number 32.  He is the politicians sleazy body guard and he screams at inanimate objects that make noise.  Stanford must not have had too much of a drug problem back then.  

Our non-heroic, twitchy hero saves some kids from their babysitter and he is blamed for the babysitter’s death too.

I dig how all of the folks who suffer the psychotic flashback are police officers, photographers, babysitters, etc… all folks in authority.  I guess in that way it is a “message” movie in the way it views authority and “The Man”.  

Seventies goodness worth a look for sure.  But it falls by many of the same things that bring seventies flicks down, bad lighting, grittiness you know the usual.  The picture quality is good and there are two sound options, mono and 5.1 Dolby.  The Synapse release includes a feature length audio commentary with Jeff Lieberman, a 3o minute featurette Lieberman on Lieberman, a still gallery, a trailer, the educational short which inspired BLUE SUNSHINE called The Ringer with commentary, and a bonus CD with the remastered score.  The thing is loaded.

Check it out.

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