Blue Sunshine Limited SE announced

Discussion in 'DVD' started by JohnS, Dec 25, 2002.

  1. JohnS

    JohnS Producer

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    John Steffens
    http://www.lasersedge.com/item_detai...38460&tMedia=1
    Laser's Edge already has this for pre-order.
    For a very nice price of just under $20
    I haven't seen this?
    Can anybody give thoughts on this film
    I want to pre-order this just from the description and extras alone.
     
  2. Charles Ms

    Charles Ms Stunt Coordinator

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    I just found this review:
    Blue Sunshine DVD
    Has anybody on this forum watched this DVD and is willing to share his thoughts on it ?
     
  3. Joe Valha

    Joe Valha Stunt Coordinator

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    I ordered it just on the description and review alone. I'll post once I receive and view.
     
  4. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

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    Having loved this film since I first saw it many years ago, I immediately preordered this disc, and my copy arrived a few weeks ago. The transfer isn't the greatest, but it was taken from film elements that were feared to be lost, and the restoration they did on it is marvelous. There is even an extra that shows what the print looked like before and after the restoration, and they worked wonders. The disc does not look bad, but as I said, its not the greatest. Regardless, Synapse's restoration efforts on this film payed off big time!

    Also, I really love this films score, so the soundtrack CD that came with the set is quite an excellent extra to say the least, and I've been listening to it a lot recently.
     
  5. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    I remember catching this on late night TV in the early to mid 80's & it was one that induced both laughter a little bit of the creepies...the image of a psychotic bald woman is hard to pull of without it falling into absurdity & parody which I believe the film maker was going for in some small part, in that light I have to say that the idea/image of Disco Music driving a man into a psychotic episode is very funny.
    The DVD has a pretty good image considering the source & it really had a nice 5.1 remix...well OK sometimes it ventures into that "slightly too aggressive mono remix" area and there is a rather noticeable hiss in the surrounds from time to time but the engineers really do open up the soundstage rather well considering what they had to work with.
    I say go for it if you like semi-schlocky films from the 70's but be aware that it certainly isn't everyones cup of tea. Not a truly bad film and for the curious well worth the $16 I payed for it at Best Buy...sometimes BB has titles you just wouldn't expect it to have.
    Regarding the music, what is the electronic instrument that is used in the main theme? It was used extensively in the 70's by many film & TV composers (if you like The Night Gallery & KOLCHAK: The Night Stalker you know the eerie sound I am talking about), was it just a synth or something else?
     
  6. Mark_TS

    Mark_TS Screenwriter

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    Theramin?
     
  7. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    It could be a Theramin, but that instrument has a very distinctive sound & what I am talking about has much less warble and/or quavering than a Theramin traditionally has. I think it might just be a Moog but the sound is exactly the same no matter what composer used it in the 70's, an eerie electronic weeeeooooooeeeee type sound that has an organic quality to it as well, almost like the sound that Louis & Bebe Baron's musical circuits made for Forbidden Planet...but more refined. It might be a modified Theramin.
     
  8. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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  9. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    It's not a Musical Saw
    ...[​IMG]
    I think it may just be a Moog, but the sound is so distinctive for so many different composers to have used it in so many different films & TV shows.
    Think of Night Gallery and think of this lonely, eerie, creepy oooo,ooooweeeooo sound and you'll know what I am talking about, they used it a lot during contemplative scenes or when a character is walking down a deserted road towards a creepy house.
     
  10. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    The oooooweeeeeeoooooo is a distinctive sound of a theremin. It's a pretty nifty gizmo--you play it by waving your hands over it. When the restoration of Metropolis was making the rounds with organist Dennis James, he used a theremin to accompany the robot creation sequence. It was terrific--and since the theremin had already been invented in 1926, not anachronistic!
     
  11. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    As I said, I know what a Theramin sounds like and, if anything, this sound is a Moog's interpretation of a Theramin, but I don't think it is the actual instrument. Just listen to Blue Sunshine's opening music (the credit sections with the blue moon) and you will hear what I am talking about, it isn't any normal theramin I have ever heard because the theramin has (as I have said) a distinctive warble or quavering voice/wave where as this is a more steady tone. Or it may be a modified (for the 70's) Theramin. I'm not sure but I recently watched Devil Dog: Hound from Hell - Gargoyles - Trilogy of Terror - Don't be Afraid of The Dark - Kolchak: The Night Stalker & The Night Gallery and they all had this precise instrument / sound that was particular to 70's horror/thriller and that I haven't heard since.
    If it's a Theramin then it's an unusual one.
    I think I just set a record for number of times the word Theramin has been used in a post.[​IMG]
     
  12. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    Getting back to the DVD, the commentary is fairly good but I have to say that it occasionally seems to fall into the arena of "taking a little to much credit for it's influence on cinema" along the lines of Phantasm's commentary track..
    (I mean come on Coscarelli, do you really think that George Lucas stole the idea for the Jawas off of Phantasm since your film was released over two years after Star Wars?)
    ..but then again on Blue Sunshine it is a little hard to tell because they joke around as to it's influence as well "You see how he throws that girl? That one shot was the entire inspiration for the mosh pit.".[​IMG]
    By the way, anyone know who that is joining Jeff Lieberman on the commentary? I guess it might be Don May Jr. but they never mention who he is exactly.
    To those who aren't sure as whether to get this dvd sight unseen...well if you're in the mood for a pseudo-political thriller involving balding psychotic acid freaks...IT'S FOR YOU! It's a shame that they didn't number these limited discs but at any rate it is probably the most ambitious title that Synapse has put out yet, more power to you Don May Jr.
     
  13. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    Never mind, a little web searching revealed that the moderator is Howard Berger.
     
  14. Roderick Gauci

    Roderick Gauci Stunt Coordinator

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    When Synapse first announced that it was going to release BLUE SUNSHINE (1977) – which I had never heard of before – on DVD, I didn’t pay it any mind. However, upon learning about the host of supplements which were going to be included on this 2-Disc Set, I decided to look more into it. Consequently I found out that the film had a great premise and something of a cult following among genre fans. At any rate, its Limited Edition status was what closed the deal for me! Now that I have watched the film itself and gone through all the supplements, I still think it was quite a worthwhile blind purchase – if, perhaps, nowhere near as satisfying as Critical Mass’ SE DVD of Bob Clark’s BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974)!

    As I said earlier, the film has an intriguing premise. To have a group of people who had dabbled in substance abuse in college experience the after effects of such misdemeanors a full decade after the fact, and in such an utterly bizarre (the loss of hair) and violent fashion, was ingenious. The film’s opening and title sequence is a masterful introduction to those characters which will be effected by the “Blue Sunshine” drug later on during the course of the story – although neither we nor they realize this at the time. In fact, the very first sequence offers us something of a red herring: Dr. David Blume (Robert Walden) had not actually ingested the drug while in college - although he did some trafficking of it on the side – and therefore, despite much evidence to the contrary, he won’t be going on a murderous rampage like the rest of the drug’s past users.

    The main character of the story is Jerry Zipkin, played by THE Zalman King(!) as a sort of a hybrid between Jean-Pierre Leaud (most famous for playing the character of Francois Truffaut’s alter-ego Antoine Doinel in a series of five films) and Andy Robinson’s characterization of the deranged Scorpio in Don Siegel’s DIRTY HARRY (1971). In short, while King is good-looking enough to attract our attention to his plight, his performance is too often way over-the-top for an audience to truly identify with him as an innocent bystander on the run from both the cluless police forces, the maniacal “victims” and the “respectable” true villains of the piece. Nowhere is his performance more misjudged, in my opinion, than when he visits the scene of the second crime – the O’Malley’s home – and literally (and for no logical motive) feels sick at the sight of the taped outlines of the bodies on the floor, inducing him to hallucinate and “attack” the body of the dead police officer! One can understand that he was feeling disorientated by his surroundings (and what had gone before in the film), but to take his emotional response to all this to such uncalled for extremes is silly and, in retrospect, unintentionally funny!

    Another particular sequence I was let-down by was the “one-man destruction of a disco” sequence – when Wayne Mulligan (Ray Young), the bodyguard of shady politician Edward Flemming (Mark Goddard), goes berserk and supposedly trashes the disco he’s in. Frankly, I was expecting it to be much more spectacular with a table (or two) thrown up in the air and a speaker (or two) sent flying through the room or something, but nothing of the sort happens. The guy, for all his brawny muscles and current attack of insanity, merely pushes the disco’s patrons this way and that as if somebody’s just inadvertently stepped on his foot on the dance floor or something! Oh, well… I guess that’s a sign of the perils of making movies on a low-budget!

    For all its apparent flaws, however, the film is undeniably effective in spots and has a way of sticking with you long after the end credits have rolled. I myself have watched this a week ago today and it’s still quite fresh in my mind despite the passage of time and the various other movies I watched in the interim! Both the first attack, perpetrated by Frannie Scott (Richard Crystal – Billy’s brother) and the one made by the put-upon baby-sitter Wendy Flemming (Ann Cooper) respectively, are well-handled by director Jeff Lieberman. As I said earlier, the film does not score too highly in the acting department, due to a mainly inexperienced cast, but both Robert Walden and Mark Goddard deliver credible performances for a change.

    One of BLUE SUNSHINE’s major assets, however, is certainly the music score courtesy of Charles Gross. It is an eerie and unnerving piece of repetitive but effective warbling on a theramin which is totally suited to the creepy atmosphere which pervades the whole film. Synapse’s decision to issue it on its own respective disc was a sound and very welcome one and, hopefully, more DVD production companies will follow its lead (and that of Anchor Bay’s R1 LE of SUSPIRIA [1976] and the R2 LE of THE WICKER MAN [1973] from Warner). The Soundtrack CD also includes a couple of songs which are heard during two of the film’s key sequences.

    The supplements found on Synapse’s 2-Disc set are a well-rounded collection of entertainment and information which can only enhance one’s respect for the film, its makers and Synapse itself. Apart from an easy-going and self-deprecating Audio Commentary from Jeff Lieberman, we have an interesting half-hour interview with the director in which he ponders on his entire career and, in particular, his three best-known movies: SQUIRM (1976; which will be released as a SE DVD from MGM and I’ve just pre-ordered), BLUE SUNSHINE and his own favorite among his films, JUST BEFORE DAWN (1981). The unexpected highlight for me, as regards to the extras, was Lieberman’s “eductational” short THE RINGER (1972), a delightfully subversive and irreverent satire on marketing and consumerism, which can also be viewed accompanied by Lieberman’s commentary.

    I expect to like this film more on subsequent viewings and I am looking forward to this, if only because I misguidedly chose to watch it with the Dolby 5.1 remix expecting a cleaner soundtrack, but which proved to be too aggressive and unfortunately muffled a lot of the dialogue!
     
  15. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    Roderick, you might want to add spoilers to any "Review" you post since you revealed a few plot points that anyone who hasn't seen the film might like to discover on their own without having them spoiled by reading a review.
    P.S. IMO I still don't think it is a Theramin (the distinctive Theramin "warbling" you mention in the review is just not there, it is a different sound IMO), and I think the 5.1 remix is a little better than you give credit for....considering the film.
    Apart from the fact that you pretty much disagreed with every point I made before, it was a nice review.[​IMG]
     
  16. Roderick Gauci

    Roderick Gauci Stunt Coordinator

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    Quote (originally posted by Kevin M):

    “Roderick, you might want to add spoilers to any "Review" you post since you revealed a few plot points that anyone who hasn't seen the film might like to discover on their own without having them spoiled by reading a review.

    P.S. IMO I still don't think it is a Theramin (the distinctive Theramin "warbling" you mention in the review is just not there, it is a different sound IMO), and I think the 5.1 remix is a little better than you give credit for....considering the film.

    Apart from the fact that you pretty much disagreed with every point I made before, it was a nice review. ”

    Considering that most online reviews (and a lot of these pertaining to BLUE SUNSHINE [1977] have been available for some time already!) are rampant with spoilers anyway, I don’t think I’ve marred anything much for anybody who intends to discover this obscure film for himself!

    As for the 5.1 track, it was perfectly acceptable - even for myself - until I decided to check out brief sections from the original Mono track and the difference in clarity of the dialogue was considerable. In fact, I would take perfectly audible dialogue over any form of enhancement (that was not originally intended to be there in the first place!) in a soundtrack anyday!!

    By the way, thank you for your positive comments on my review of BLUE SUNSHINE.
     
  17. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    You may not think so Roderick, however anyone who might be interested in this title but hasn't actually seen the film yet might not appreciate this, it is just a matter of simple politeness here at HTF (and indeed in reviews in general) to use spoilers when giving away plot points or giving away red herrings.....or in fact to not do so at all.
    And realize that simply because you may have read other reviews containing spoilers, that is no excuse to ruin it for anyone else unaware that you regularly (I assume) give away plot points in reviews.
    Just something you might wish to consider because I guarantee that this sort of thing will not be appreciated here at HTF, no matter whether it is an old obscure cult movie or a new mainstream title. It's fairly rude.
    In regards to the remix, I had no difficulty at all hearing any dialog in the 5.1 track...the only thing that truly distracted me was some extreme hiss in the surround channels in one of the early introductory "set-up" scenes during the title sequence. But for me that was minor, "Your mileage may vary".
     
  18. JayF

    JayF Stunt Coordinator

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    I picked this up for $16.99 at Best Buy today. Haven't seen it since the 80s when it showed up on the Movie Channel. Hope it lives up to what I remember!
     
  19. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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