Blue Sunshine (1976)

BLUE SUNSHINE (1976)
Article 3321 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-1-2010
Posting Date: 9-17-2010
Directed by Jeff Lieberman
Featuring Zalman King, Deborah Winters, Mark Goddard
Country: USA
What it is: Science fiction thriller

A man who accidentally kills a friend who went on a murderous rampage finds himself on the run from the police who believe he is guilty of all the murders. The fugitive stumbles across a thread that connects the murders to a rampage committed by a policeman. What is it that is causing people to lose their hair and go insane? What does this have to do with the phrase “blue sunshine”? And how is a local congressional candidate involved?

I suspect that a real close examination of the plot will reveal a number of holes. Furthermore, the story is overreliant on coincidence, and the lead character practically goes out of his way to make mistakes that will make him look like the guilty party. But director Jeff Lieberman (who also gave us the killer worm movie SQUIRM) has a way of sucking you into the story, getting you interested in the characters, and can occasionally set up some very clever suspense moments; I was on the edge of my seat during the operation sequence in particular. I very much admire the way the movie disperses the credits between three separate scenarios, one involving a doctor, the second involving a babysitter, and the third involving a policeman; these three scenarios seem unrelated except for the fact that all the characters in question seem to be very stressed out. The movie is fictional, though the ending crawl has fooled a few people into thinking that this is based on a true story. Lieberman pulls very good performances from a cast of mostly unknowns; the only one I recognized immediately was Alice Ghostley, though Ray Young did seem a little familiar; it turns out he played Mango in BLOOD OF DRACULA’S CASTLE.

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