The Film (5/5)
I will admit Jeff Lieberman's Blue Sunshine is one of those film's I have been waiting to hit Blu-ray since the format’s inception, and now that it has I couldn't be more pleased. Blue Sunshine is the second feature from director Jeff Lieberman and arguably his finest overall work. Lierberman's first film is the worm-sploitation epic Squirm, and he would make his contribution to the slasher genre post-Blue Sunshine with the underrated Just Before Dawn, however after that film he would not make another feature film for 7 years until the satiric sci-fi film Remote Control. The 90's would not see a feature film from the director, outside of some documentary and TV work, before his return to horror in 2004 with the quite fun Satan's Little Helper.
Blue Sunshine follows Jerry Zipkin (Red Shoe Diaries’ Zalman King), a young man that finds himself involved in the middle of an acid-drenched conspiracy when he reunites with some old friends at a cabin for some hijinks, and one of them goes mad, burning a few of their other friends alive in the cabin's fireplace, before Jerry manages to wrestle him in front of semi-truck bringing his reign of terror to an end.
As it turns out a decade before a group of students at Stanford University had all purchased and taken a type of acid called Blue Sunshine. Its effects would not be known to them until a decade later, when the users of the drug would lose all their hair, and their minds. These bald-headed psychopaths would then find themselves with murderous desires, and attempt to kill those around them. Jerry, now finds himself on the wrong side of the law, after his investigation into Blue Sunshine puts him in the position of looking like he murdered the Blue Sunshine-afflicted psychos on multiple occasions.
Blue Sunshine manages to combine elements of the conspiracy thriller film that was popular in the 70's such as All The President's Men and Three Days of the Condor with the horror genre. Lieberman also interjects the material with a hint of nostalgia for a bygone era, but not so much that it feels sappy. The film has quite solid performances all around, but special notice should be pointed out to the now late Zalman King who does an excellent turn as Jerry the aimless drifter, who finds himself in the middle of a murder plot he had nothing to do with.
The direction from Lieberman is excellent, and is arguably his finest looking film. It is well paced, and I don't believe there is boring moment. If there is not something furthering the plot along, there is something weird and interesting happening to keep things at least interesting on a surface level. The score by Charles Gross (included in the set as a CD) is quite fitting and helps set the tone of the material quite well. Blue Sunshine is an absolute bizarro delight of a film that is entertaining, suspenseful, and just a total fun watch all around.
FilmCentrix is the non-erotic offshoot of Distribpix who have been doing a fine job restoring and releasing classic erotic films for decades. Their recent Blu-ray releases of the Opening of Misty Beethoven and Barbara Broadcast have been absolutely stunning affairs, so knowing they had the negatives of Blue Sunshine, my only concern was the overall quality of the negatives themselves.
I am happy to report that the Blu-ray presented by FilmCentrix on their debut release (I hope more are forthcoming) in a 1080p AVC encoded 1:85:1 transfer looks absolutely stunning, and the film has never looked better on home video than it does here. Detail throughout the Blu-ray presentation is absolutely fantastic from facial detail in close-ups to background detail everything looks tremendous here. The colors in the film are very well reproduced, black levels are inky and deep, and the grain structure is organic and natural, but never intrusive. There is some minor speckling, and a little source damage, but it appears the negatives were practically pristine so everything looks really great overall.
There are 2 audio options a DTS-HD MA 5.1 and a 2.0 track both in English with optional subtitles. I stuck primarily to the 5.1 track, and was pleased with the result. The track has excellent sound separation. The dialogue and score come through nicely, and I could find no negatives in regard to the audio presentation.
FilmCentrix have packed their Blu-ray release of Blue Sunshine with a lot of extras. Some of these are on the disc, some in the package itself. We get a commentary track with director Lieberman moderated by Elijah Drenner, this is followed by a select scene commentary by Marc Goddard. There are 2 version of the trailer scanned in HD. A documentary featurette about the film's locations, a Q&A at the Jumpcut Cafe, HD versions of LSD scare films (so much FUN), a Film Festival screening piece with Jeff Lieberman and Mick Garris, interviews, slide shows, liner notes, replica press books, fake acid tabs, and MORE!
Blue Sunshine is a wild acid-drenched, horror-driven conspiracy thriller that is all too easy to recommend . It is an absolute blast to watch, and now with the debut Blu-ray from FilmCentrix restoring it to its full splendor fans can now see the film looking and sounding better than it ever has before. The film comes with an absolute deep and diverse extras package including soundtrack CD that pushes this one over the top. Blue Sunshine the debut release from FilmCentrix comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!