This is why I don’t go to too many birthday parties!
Happy Birthday To Me (1981)
Directed By: J. Lee Thompson (Death Wish 4: The Crackdown)
We spoke here before about the Slasher-mania that was running wild in the 80’s. Halloween got the ball rolling late in the 70’s and then it just kept running with Friday the 13th and the zillion others that followed it. That being said it was easy for a slasher film to get lost in the mix and if one stood out you just know it had to be better than average and that is just what Happy Birthday To Me is, better than average.
So after the out pouring of people wanted a DVD for the film they got one in 2004 but it not only lacked the original cover art it also was missing the film’s score..not only was it missing it but they had replaced it with a disco score..Needless to say, people were not happy.
So our good friends at Anchor Bay release a copy this year with the original art, the original score, and not much else..But as a great man once said, “Two out of three ain’t bad”.
Virginia (Melissa Sue Anderson) has had a rough life, her Mom is not longer alive having died on her birthday. Now one year later all she wants to do is fit in. So when she finally becomes part of a clique around her 18th birthday will things get even worse when members of that clique end up missing?
And that folks is the simple way of telling you of the plot because it runs much deeper than that and it can at times get a little confusing so that right there should tell you that somebody put more effort into thinking this one out, which can’t be said for a lot of slashers in the 80’s…or hell even the 90’s and now.
The casting here isn’t completely terrible as the over-all acting won’t bring it down that much. One thing I noticed off the bat was that the actor playing Ann was none other than Tracey E. Bregman of The Young & The Restless fame..not that I..um..watch that or anything..running right along..
The kills here aren’t overly gory but they they do have cool gore to them. It’s the quick cut kind that really to a point saves the effect, while everyone loves a good gruesome shot of a kill, keeping the camera on one too long can cause it to look fake, so you don’t have that trouble here. However after you see the ending, a few of these kills don’t add up..Or maybe I’m just too picky?
Speaking of the ending, I won’t give anything away but I bet M. Night Shyamalan loves this movie, I also bet this movie’s director J. Lee Thompson must have loved Scooby-Doo! And that’s really all you need to know about that.
So it’s not the best of the slashers, but above the rest for sure. Which when added up with a very cartoon-like ending scores this one where it belongs, just above average!
Well it runs a little long for my taste in slashers but it’s almost painless to watch. Apparently you could get this at Wal*Mart for $5 bucks when it came out in October which is a great price, I on the other hand paid like $12 from Hastings when I was out spending my x-mas cash!
So if you’ll pardon me for a moment allow me to rant a little at Anchor Bay..what is the deal folks?? This is as bare as it gets with only a trailer. Nothing else special, not even a real cover on the disc! (not the cover-cover I mean ON the disc) I’d expect much better from Anchor Bay, and this may be a rant for a whole other post all together soon.
But as far as Happy Birthday To Me, it’s worth a watch.
The Rating (6.5/10)