It doesn't really have all its marbles together but Blue Sunshine (1978) provides an interesting amalgam of low-rent mid-70s horror filmmaking that's roughly comparable to De Palma's Sisters, Romero's The Crazies, Cronenberg's Shivers, touched by Taxi Driver-like nods to the political thriller and a Big Chill-style Stanford alumni ten years later 'what happened to the dream we all shared at Stanford dropping acid called Blue Sunshine made by our chemist friend who's now running for political office' cross section. Perma-scowler Zalman King must have been the 'guide' of the bunch, or the conscientious objector who didn't want to pollute his chromosomes, so he's not turning homicidal and bald ten years after basking in the 'blue;' but takes it on himself to run around stopping it all, anyway, single-handed. That means looking guilty holding the knife he took from his assailant before she fell to her death after he barged in on her and started yelling, etc. Rather than stick around and explain to the cops he presumes they won't believe him so just runs off one jump ahead of the cops to singlehandedly save the day. He didn't cook it up, or sell it, or even take it. He had nothing to do with it. He's just a narcissist martyr who wouldn't share a chance to be the hunted hero in a million years. To most temporarily sane viewers, no matter how much acid they've done, he's only slightly more irrational and wacko than the baldheads. Oh Zalman King, your self-righteous scowl is so unrelenting you make Jason Patric seem like Harpo Marx!
Like its leading character, Sunshine can never figure out where it wants to go. It lacks the nerve to take two tabs like everyone else, so just takes a half, and so 'misses the party' that Hitchcockophiliacs like De Palma, druggy clinicians like Cronenberg, and blue collar Swifts like Romero all raged at in the approx. same time and with the approx. same film stock and same approx. interior decor. So while those other guys broke new cinema ground and flew into cult immortality, and have a body of work still trenchant and discussed, director Jeff Lieberman was left behind, too nervous to follow them into the deep end. For a movie about the effects of LSD, has Lieberman even ever done any? The only person you know for sure did some at one point is Leon the replicant (below) and the guy in the poster at top. Star Zalman King is such a Sean Penn-ish scowler he makes you annoyed and perhaps annoyed Lieberman as the film seems to dryly mock his martyrish spotlight hog (he was probably directing all his own close-ups and milking lines for every last ounce of method interiority.
|"wake up, time to fly!"|
|Meth, I hear you callin'|
|My doctor added Abilify|
|May also induce scowlingitis|