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USA 1976
Directed by
Jeff Lieberman
96 minutes
Rated R

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Blue Sunshine

In the 70s and 80s director Jeff Lieberman produced a trio of interesting little horror films Squirm, Just Before Dawn and Blue Sunshine. All show a director with a vision that far exceeds his often-limited budgets. Blue Sunshine is a fascinating fusion of 60s drug-fuelled paranoia and gritty 70s ultra-violence.

All is going well at a party until suddenly one of the guests goes beserk, killing three women and running off into the night. Jerry (Zalman King) is framed for the murders and goes into hiding whilst trying to discover why his friend murdered the party-goers. He soon uncovers a strange conspiracy involving politics and LSD and must fight for his life to reveal the horrific truth.

The central performance is by Zalman King, the man who went on to produce The Red Shoe Diaries and star in Two Moon Junction, with Sherilyn Fenn is surprisingly good and makes you wonder if he shouldn’t have continued his career as an actor rather than giving us a long line of soft core titillation as a producer. As a character his actions make no sense and he always behaves irrationally but then again, how would you act if one of your best friends ripped out his own hair and went troppo? And the film also has something to say about political corruptions and drug use and its long-term effects

Lieberman shows a sure hand with the action but a few of the more should-be-intense scenes fall a bit flat. The film’s low budget is apparent during some of the political rallies and some of the performances are not up to scratch but the storyline is so compelling it doesn’t really matter. King’s wide-eyed disbelief as his friends suddenly go mad carries through to the audience and the plot twists and turns in a delightful manner. It’s a shame that Lieberman has remained out of the public eye for the last couple of decades.

DVD Extras: Director Lieberman gives a fun and informative commentary and is also interviewed in the featurette Lieberman on Lieberman. You also get a stills gallery, a trailer and an early Lieberman short, The Ringer.

Available from: Shock Entertainment




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