Happy Birthday To Me (1981)
J. Lee Thompson
Timothy Bond, Peter Jobin, John Saxton, John Beaird
Melissa Sue Anderson, Glenn Ford, Lawrence Dane, Sharon Acker, Frances Hyland, Tracey Bregman, Lisa Langlois
Budget $2.5M Box Office $10.6M
IMDb 6.1/10 Rotten Tomatoes 27% Metacritic 24/100
So, after watching this film, I have tried and tried to think of how I am going to sum it up for you guys and I gotta tell ya, I can’t. It is truly so all over the place that you’re just better off watching it, if you want to. But, here’s what I AM gonna tell you…
This film received negative reviews upon release and still somehow managed to make over four times its budget at the box office. It also has still developed a serious cult following which, after viewing, I can kinda get. There ARE some scenes that, for the era, it doesn’t surprise me they are considered some classic scenes.
I will say that this movie was one of the films banned during the “Video Nasty” panic in the 1980s in the United Kingdom where there was a huge controversy about violent movies, the ease of their availability and the effect they were having on young people. Eventually, people calmed down and everyone came to an agreement but, the debate will always remain, as it does here in the States.
Also, if everything feels like it doesn’t quite fit together, don’t feel bad. It’s not just you. It’s because the ending you see in the film is not the original ending that was planned before production started. The first ending was thought to be not climatic enough, the horror movie industry just coming off Friday the 13thand Prom Night. So, they decided to change it.
Now, while I feel like they could have gotten the same movie done in less time, I think they did pretty good for it being from 1981. I will admit there was a lot of needless POV walking shots, downtime that seemed pointless, that sort of thing. I don’t know if they were trying to use up the budget or pad the budget or lengthen the film or what. But, I don’t think all of it was needed.
Plus, while some of the kill scenes were creative, the amount of blood was exaggerated for the method of death. I mean, road rash from a motorcycle tire doesn’t spew gallons of blood. Just saying. However, you all know how much I love the gore so, splatter on blood hounds!!!!
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