“There’s a bald maniac in there, and he’s going bat shit!” Believe it or not, this is an accurate description of several scenes in this movie. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr – as they check out this representative of the 70s LSD-scare hype, Blue Sunshine (1977) from Jeff Lieberman, the director of Squirm (1976).
Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 176 – Blue Sunshine (1977)
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A bizarre series of murders begins in Los Angeles, where people start going bald and then become homicidal maniacs. But could the blame rest on a particularly dangerous form of LSD called Blue Sunshine that the murderers took ten years before?
- Writer/Director: Jeff Lieberman
- Selected cast:
- Zalman King as Jerry Zipkin
- Deborah Winters as Alicia Sweeney
- Mark Goddard as Edward Flemming
- Robert Walden as David Blume
- Charles Siebert as Detective Clay
- Ann Cooper as Wendy Flemming
- Ray Young as Wayne Mulligan
- Alice Ghostley as O’Malley’s Neighbor
- Stefan Gierasch as Lieutenant Jennings
- Richard Crystal as Frannie Scott
- Bill Adler as Ralphie
- Barbara Quinn as Stephanie
- Adriana Shaw as Barbara O’Malley
- Bill Sorrells as Ritchie Grazzo
- Jeffry Druce as Junkie
- Brion James as Tony
Blue Sunshine is a request from a Grue Believer that has popped on and off the 70s schedule depending on its streaming availability and that of other films on the Grue Crew’s list. At long last, it made it through to the recording schedule as Jeff’s pick for this episode and he is impressed with the surprisingly good cast of actors familiar to TV viewers of the time. He kind of likes the idea of the chromosome-altering, 10-year time bomb included in a designer version of LSD, and the trippy music – highly appropriate for the period and the subject – is to his liking. However, Zalman King’s overboard approach to method acting, though he’s directed to do so as a red herring, is off-putting.
“The longest hour-and-a-half he’s had to sit through” is how Chad describes Blue Sunshine. He didn’t care for the story or the characters and Zalman King’s character’s lack of feeling for personal space is annoying as hell. On the plus side, he is hilariously amused by Ray Young’s portrayal of Wayne (or “Biff,” as Chad calls him) and his final rampage. Bill agrees with Chad on the unlikeability of King’s character calling his performance more like meth-head acting than method acting. He doesn’t buy into the conspiracy presented, but admits, Blue Sunshine is definitely a 70s film. Doc had a great time with Blue Sunshine. The bizarre and quirky lead, Bryon James flapping around, “Biff’s” murder spree, and the crazed bald maniac look are just a few of his trigger trippers in this movie.
Blue Sunshine certainly isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a director Jeff Lieberman (Squirm, 1976) completist or are in the mood for some LSD-fueled political intrigue dressed up as a horror movie, this should fit the bill. At the time of this writing, Blue Sunshine is available to stream from Shudder.
Be sure to check out The Black Saint’s and Doc Rotten’s take on Squirm in Decades of Horror 1970s #6!
Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror 1970s is part of the Decades of Horror two-week rotation with The Classic Era and the 1980s. In two weeks, the next episode in their very flexible schedule, chosen by Bill, will be The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975), an ABC TV movie of the week starring Elizabeth Montgomery. How does that go? Forty this and forty-one that or something like that?
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