Junesploitation 2022: Curse of the Blue Lights (1988)

June 5: Junesploitation’s topic of the day — as suggested by F This Movie— is free! We’re excited to tackle a different genre every day, so check back and see what’s next.

As the world has grown smaller thanks to all of us being connected 24/7/365, the weird pockets of regional filmmaking may not exist. After all, you can download the latest Polonia movie or watch it on Tubi, right? But in 1988, odd little movies could still just show up at your video store with nothing telling you what they were all about or where they came from.

Dudley is a nothing happening town that only has a few things for teens to do and all of them get you in trouble. The Blue Lights of the title are both a place for them to have furtive backseat car sex and also see the strange glow that could either be aliens or the ghosts of a train wreck from long before any of these kids were born.

Four kids back from college for the summer — Ken (Patrick Keller), Alice (Becky Golladay), Paul (Clayton A. McCaw) and Sandy (Deborah McVencenty) — and three guys who are probably never getting out of Dudley — Bob (Kent E. Fritzell), Max (Tom Massmann) and Sam (James Asbury) — decide on one of those boring long hot summer nights to go see the lights for themselves.

Oh yeah — that train fire also had a petrified monster within its wreckage known as The Muldoon Man and that’s what they find. Now, if I discovered a ten-foot-tall monster in my drunken teens, I would totally not touch it or even be anywhere around it, no matter how much Pucker, Yuengling or Fireball I had to drink. No, instead they decide to haul it off in a truck — what no one wanted to go mudding instead? — and try and make money off it.

If you guess that the creature gets away — or someone steals it — you’ve seen enough horror movies. So instead of doing the sensible thing like drinking on someone’s porch, the teens all head to Sunny Hill Cemetery, more specifically the tunnels under the graves. That’s where they learn the truth: the Blue Lights are to signal the return fo Loath (Brent Ritter), a gigantic undead leader of a cult of zombies who want to return the dreaded Muldoon Man to life by devouring the living. Somehow, they get away, with Paul stealing the disc they need to complete their ritual, and the zombies follow.

How do you stop them? Maybe the witch (Bettina Julius) can help.

If you’re reading this and think, “That’s way too much for one movie,” you’re right and also wrong, because gloriously regional movies existed outside the purview of La La Land and studio notes so deliriously madcap things could happen. Like, well, this movie.

Also, perhaps most amazingly, this movie looks like a million bucks thanks to the sets and special effects by Michael Spatola (Return of the Living Dead, Predator 2) and Mark Sisson (A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream MasterSubspecies). Sure, there are way too many primary characters and yes, perhaps too many monsters to keep track of, but isn’t it nice sometimes to totally lose track of something and have it still be fun?

Even better, Curse of the Blue Lights is based on several suburban — rural? — legends of  Pueblo, Colorado, which is where it was made. The Blue Lights really is a parking spot for teens where they would see mysterious blue lights in the nearby river bottom.

The Muldoon Man was real, too.

This supposedly prehistoric petrified human body was discovered in 1877 — seven years after his infamous Cardiff Giant hoax — by a con man named William Conant at a spot now known as Muldoon Hill, near Beulah, Colorado. The figure had a brief tour of the United States before it was revealed to be a hoax. Named after pro wrestler William Muldoon, it was made of clay, plaster, mortar, rock dust, bones, blood and meat.

Director and writer John Henry Johnson also made two documentaries, Zebulon Pike and the Blue Mountain and Damon Runyon’s Pueblo. Turns out that the Consumer Infomation Catalogue isn’t the only great thing to come out of that town.

You can watch this on YouTube. Maybe technology isn’t all bad.

One thought on “Junesploitation 2022: Curse of the Blue Lights (1988)

  1. “ Turns out that the Consumer Infomation Catalogue isn’t the only great thing to come out of that town.”

    Hahahaha thanks I needed that. I, too, am a child of 70’s/80’s daytime television. I just had a flashback to McMillan & Wife.

    Like

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