Elvira's Movie Macabre Double Feature: Blue Sunshine & Monstroid DVD Review
Written by Steve Pattee
DVD released by Shout! Factory
Yeah, it's little old me, that gal in a wig whose talents are big! – Elvira
Written and directed by Jeff Lieberman
1976, Region 1, 106 minutes, Not rated
Zalman King as Jerry Zipkin
Deborah Winters as Alicia Sweeney
Mark Goddard as Edward Flemming
Robert Walden as David Blume
Charles Siebert as Detective Clay
Ann Cooper as Wendy Flemming
Ray Young as Wayne Mulligan
Directed by Kenneth Hartford and Herbert L. Strock
Written by Kenneth Hartford, Walter Roeber Schmidt, Garland Scott and Herbert L. Strock
1979, Region 1, 96 minutes, Not rated
James Mitchum as Travis
John Carradine as Priest
Anthony Eisley as Pete
DVD released September 25th, 2007
A few reviews back, I said one of the reasons why I liked Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) was that she was not a "punny" horror host. That was obviously before I watched Blue Sunshine, this first of Elvira's Movie Macabre Double Feature: Blue Sunshine and Monstroid.
It's the '70s. Free love is over, coke has replaced acid as the drug of choice, and there's a stellar party over at Frannie's pad. Stellar, at least, until that jerky jerkface party-thrower rips out all of his hair and starts killing the guests. Way to ruin a good time, Frannie.
Due to a series of unfortunate events, Jerry (Zalman King) gets wrongfully accused of the deaths of his pals, so he does what any sound minded person does in his situation — he sets off to clear his name, while avoiding the warrants out for his arrest.
Come to find out, Greg's outbreak wasn't due to a history of mental illness, but past drug use. Through Jerry's investigation, he finds that quite a few people are going on murderous rampages, and rapid hair loss isn't the only thing they have in common — they all had a taste of the Blue Sunshine ten years previous. Now Jerry has to get to the original salesman of the acid so the people who haven't yet flipped out can be stopped before they do.
Like The House that Screamed, Blue Sunshine is a pretty damn decent movie and deserves its cult status (as well as its special edition treatment). The story, while a little far-fetched (tracking down people that took a particular drug a decade previous? C'mon!), is solid and the script is sound. Sunshine could have quite easily crossed the border into Shlockville, but is smart enough to take itself seriously, and not too seriously, inviting you to do the same.
Since the nutzoids in Sunshine all have serious hair issues, Elvira exploits that particular tidbit in her pun-filled breaks. As I've mentioned in previous reviews, I am not a fan of the pun. But, as awful as some as Elivira's are, they don't bother me as much as other hosts I've seen. Since I'm a sucker for a half naked women, I'm quite sure that's one of, if not the only, reasons.
Unlike Sunshine, the second feature of this twofer, Monstroid, is what "Movie Macabre" is all about. Well, to say Sunshine is not what "Movie Macabre" is about is not fair, because "Macabre" is all about using sci/fi, horror and cult films for its show, and Sunshine certainly falls in the latter category. But Monstroid is the type of movie you fully expect to watch on a show like "Movie Macabre." Monstroid is cheesy, ridiculous, brutal to watch without friends or on a show like Elvira's and has a rubber sea monster. What more do you need?
In Monstroid, an evil American-owned factory is dumping its waste in the waters of a small town in South America (a small town that would be a ghost town without said factory). After a mysterious death, and even more mysterious monster sightings, the American headquarters send out a man to investigate what the hell is going on in that little village. Nobody likes bad press, which the company is getting a lot of, mainly due to a meddling reporter.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the rest of the movie, so I will spare you. But I will say one of the best parts of Monstroid is spread out over two scenes. In the first, a man breaks up with his girlfriend. It's not a pretty breakup, and she finishes the conversation by telling her former beau that she will be skinny dipping at the lake that evening, and will his new girlfriend do that?
Apparently his new girlfriend won't because the next scene finds him down at the lake getting busy with the old honey. The best part? After he's dressed, he looks at his ex and says, "Look, uh, Laura, I came down here to apologize for the way I talked to you today. I don't want to hurt you. You just got to understand I didn't come down here to make it with you. You've got to face it...it's over, it's finished."
WOW! And to make things worse (or better, depending), she gets eaten by Sigmund (the sea monster). Poor girl gets fucked twice in one day.
Nothing else in the movie matches the greatness that is that sequence. Although the rubber sea monster comes pretty damn close.
As one can imagine, Elvira has a lot of fun with Monstroid, often even appearing apologetic for its badness.
Blue Sunshine and Monstroid are two completely different flicks, but both are enjoyable for various different reasons. Sunshine has a surprising level of seriousness, while Monstroid is just goofy fun.
Video and Audio:
Blue Sunshine's 1:85:1 presentation is nothing to cheer about. The print has damage throughout, and colors are bland. However, considering the video quality of the previous "Movie Macabre" discs, the pic is stellar. Let's call this one an original Beta release.
Sunshine's 2.0 soundtrack is what it is. I'm happy I could hear everything without having to reach for the remote.
Now, Monstroid is another story. This is where Shout! Factory shines in its lack of care for restoration. No original Beta release here, folks, but more like a seventh generation VHS copy that was stored in direct sunlight for six months. Massive print damage plagues the 4:3 presentation, as well as overall softness and pisspoor colors. Like Maneater of Hydra, the colors are so bad, there are scenes that border on black and white. If this picture were any worse, you'd be watching snow.
The audio is almost as bad, with muffled sound being the biggest offender. Keep your remote close.
This really is unacceptable. I'm half-tempted to create a negative star guideline just to use it here.
Elvira's Movie Macabre Double Feature: Blue Sunshine & Monstroid
This Blue Sunshine and Monstroid double feature is a lot of fun, and Elvira fans should want to pick it up. But until Shout! Factory gets off their ass and starts cleaning up the presentation and throwing down some special features, I'll find it hard recommending a purchase, no matter how much I love Elvira.
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