One from the to watch pile…
Bloody Birthday (1981)
88 Films have risen so quickly in the go-to UK DVD and bluray collectors scope that they now rival Arrow Films, and the quirky Shameless Screen Entertainment. I admit the only one of these companies that I have bought all the films available is Shameless, but my collectors reflex has been in full flight with the numbered yellow covers.
Whilst I watched many slasher films in the 80s on VHS, I have no recollection of ever seeing this title, even on the shelves! We certainly didn’t have it in the video shop I worked in, and I don’t recall seeing it at any of the other local shops near my house.
This film was directed by Ed Hunt, who also directed Diary of a Sinner and Plague, amongst others and he co-wrote the film with Barry Pearson, who wrote Paperback Hero, and worked with Hunt on several other projects.
This film is about the tenth birthday of three children, Timmy (K.C Martel), Debbie (Elizabeth Hoy) and Curtis (Billy Jayne) who were born during a solar eclipse which, according to astrology, means they are missing ‘something’ in there personality.
What that thing is, is remorse, as over the course of several days, the three start a serial killing rampage, targeting anyone who has wronged them and these victims include teachers, babysitters…. even family members, but can they be stopped, or will their little group fall apart as kids start to blame each other for the murders…
Its a fun movie, for sure. It’s not very bloody and at times feels like it was almost made for television, except for the collection of boobs on show would never have been allowed on TV in the early 80s! The performances range from decent to terrible, and I should point out that both Susan Strasberg and José Ferrer make cameos. The final girl, played by Lori Lethin, is a delight too: a real ‘sunny’ personality.
Format: This review was done with the U.K., region B bluray release of the film, which runs for 85 minutes. The film was presented in an average but clear and artefact free 1.78:1 video with a decent mono audio.
Extras: The first thing I have to say is I like how 88 Films have given us a black bluray cover and a reversible sleeve; one side with original artwork and the other with an unimpressive, updated one. I always dig these kind of physical bonuses!
There’s a couple of OK extras on this disc:
Don’t Eat the Cake: an Interview with Lori Lethin is just that, an interview with the actress who played Joyce which is charming.
A Brief History of Slasher Movies featurette is a short look at the slasher film, but it’s really just an interview with Adam Rockoff, author of the book Going to Pieces: The Rise & Fall of the Slasher Film.
There are also several trailers for Bloody Birthday, Bloodsucking Freaks, Tourist Trap and Two Moon Junction.
There is also a informative commentary by the author of Teenage Wasteland, Justin Kerswell with Calum Waddell.
Hidden in the audio section is also an audio only interview with the director, Ed Hunt which is also played over the film as a director’s commentary.