Blue Sunshine (1977)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller  |   Release Date - Mar 20, 1978 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 97 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Donald Guarisco

This odd yet intriguing blend of horror and thriller trappings lacks the craftsmanship to live up to its potential, but has won a cult following thanks to its mix of shocks and social commentary. The best element is director Jeff Lieberman's script, which infuses its drug/political paranoia plot with an undertone of criticism toward the wild hippies who became placid yuppies and populate the script with quirky but believable characters. Unfortunately, Blue Sunshine suffers from inconsistent acting; the biggest problem in this area is leading man Zalman King, who overdoes the method-acting theatrics in an attempt to make his character seem intense. However, Robert Walden turns in a witty, low-key performance as helpful doctor David Blume and Ray Young is downright terrifying as an ex-drug addict turned brutal bodyguard. Blue Sunshine also dilutes its effectiveness with some experiments that don't work (for example, a scene where King enters the house and "relives" the murders that happened there) and an anti-climactic ending that leaves too many loose ends untied. However, it remains compelling despite these flaws thanks to Lieberman's ability to create taut suspense set pieces; highlights include a scene in which a deranged victim of the title drug pursues the children she is babysitting with a butcher knife and an unexpectedly brutal attack that happens in a placid condo setting. Ultimately, Blue Sunshine is too uneven to please a general audience, but offers enough moments of interest for fans of horror films and offbeat cult items.