Thursday, July 26, 2012

Review: Happy Birthday to Me (1981)


“You'd be proud of me now, mother. All the kids like me.”

Director: J. Lee Thompson
Starring: Melissa Sue Anderson, Glenn Ford and Lawrence Dane
Writers: John C.W. Saxton, Peter Jobin and Timothy Bond

When I saw that this slasher was released on the year of my birth, I couldn’t help but sit down and watch it. Yeah sometimes it’s that easy to get me to watch a movie. But I always have high hopes for slasher films that centre on celebrations; holiday or other. So does this classic hold up, or is it a pretty crappy birthday present?

Simple set up for this film, Virginia (Melissa Sue Anderson) is about to turn 18 in a few days. But as the days tick down, her friends starting dying off one by one. Does it have to do with car accident she was in that took the life of her mother? Is it one of the many creepy people that seem to be hanging around? Or could it be Old Man Witherby down at the local amusement park? Well maybe not Old Man Witherby cause he doesn’t exist.

While I kind of enjoyed this movie, I think it’s a very acquired taste. This movie is made of red herrings, with many people acting more psychotic than they should. It’s a tad annoying as it’s very obvious what the film makers are trying to do, and it just seems all a tad extreme for the characters. Also while the end leads to a pretty interesting and creepy scene involving the birthday, the reveal is a tad stupid if you start thinking about it too much. But then again these are just the side attractions, most people will come for the more interesting kills. The movie proudly proclaims it's murders are some of the six most bizarre, but I think by now they are a tad dated. Still take a look at the poster above and if this image intrigues you, then maybe the kills are up your alley.

Basically this movie is for the slasher fans and that’s about it. You can have some fun with it, but by all means don’t think about it to seriously. After watching this movie I’m sure of one thing. I don’t want to ever visit the Crawford Academy as everyone is a bunch of loons. 

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