I’ve been trying to include movies that I rarely or never hear mentioned when ‘top horror’ lists are named, and Blue Sunshine is one of those films. I only recently saw it, and I really enjoyed it.
The year is 1978. Disco is in full effect, polyester is the preferred material — everything is groovy. That is, until, certain people start suffering psychotic episodes where their hair falls out and they turn into murderous maniacs. A man, Jerry (played by a pre-Skinemax fame Zalman King), is wrongly accused of one of the murders and goes on the run. While evading the authorities, he tries to get to the bottom of these psychotic episodes. He soon uncovers the cause — 10 years earlier, a group of college students had taken a bad batch of acid called Blue Sunshine that eventually leads to their mental breakdown.
It’s a great premise for a horror film as it plays on our natural, human fears (“drugs are bad!”). Plus, there’s a bit of social commentary in there: what if your late, great 60s weren’t so great after all, and something you did during the Summer of Love came back to haunt you many years later?
The movie is pretty freaky, lots of weird imagery. I don’t know what it is, as I normally don’t consider bald people or baldness itself terrifying in the least — but the bald maniacs in this film are truly unsettling. An oft overlooked gem that’s worth a watch.
Even though this movie steals a major plot point from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 (a burned boogeyman haunts the minds of several patients at a mental hospital), and went so far as to cast ANOES3 tough cookie Jennifer “I’m bad…and beautiful!” Rubin in the lead — it’s still a fun watch, not to mention, shot really well. I love it and remember seeking it out after seeing it on TV once.
Rubin is a young teen in the mid-1970s, and she’s part of a cult. The leader – played by the late, great Richard Lynch – decides it’s time everyone sacrifices themselves by self-immolation. Rubin reconsiders, as burning to death isn’t her thing, and she tries to escape. The house explodes, killing everyone…except Rubin who is merely put into a coma. Ten years later, Rubin emerges from the coma. Worried that she might have issues adjusting (or may still have some nasty memories of the incident), she’s incorporated into a group for troubled teens and adults. Eventually, Rubin starts having visions of Lynch — charred up like a hot dog on the grill too long. But his presence is also followed by the deaths of the group members. The staff attributes it to suicide (these are troubled people, after all), but Rubin knows better. Now if only she could convince them it’s actually her long dead cult leader doing the killing.
The movie is an easy watch. The acting is fine and the effects are cool, and thankfully, it doesn’t drag. It also stars a couple 80s hot properties at the time, like EG Daily and Dean Cameron (‘Chainsaw’ from Summer School). Plus, Richard Lynch gives such a terrifyingly creepy performance – before, as the cult leader, and after as the burned up bad-guy.
If you’ve never seen this movie, it’s definitely worth a watch. It’s your standard entry level 80s horror fare.
This is a Roger Corman classic. It stars Corman muse, Dick Miller, in his first role playing the recurring “Walter Paisley” character. Set in the beatnik world, Miller plays an uninspired artist trying to fit in with the cool cats and hep daddies. He doesn’t discover his true talent until he finds a dead cat and covers its body in clay. He shows his piece to a couple people who laud him and his artistic capabilities. Seeing how easy it is to create art and garner the respect he so long desired, Miller moves onto bigger subjects: humans. Soon, he’s displaying clay-covered dead bodies to the unsuspecting beatnik crowd, to their (and his) delight.
The movie is a quick and fun 66 minutes. If there were any movie to get you started on Corman, this would be it.