Blu-ray Review: BLOODY BIRTHDAY (1981)

PrintE-mail Written by Julian White

Bloody Birthday Review

REVIEW: BLOODY BIRTHDAY / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: ED HUNT / SCREENPLAY: ED HUNT, BARRY PEARSON / STARRING: LORI LETHIN, JULIE BROWN, ELIZABETH HOY / RELEASE DATE: JUNE 23RD

Bloody Birthday (1981) takes the sporadically trendy “killer kid” subgenre and crosses it with the slasher movie, which was then in its early '80s heyday, when any new angle seemed worth a punt. Not that the kids in question stalk their victims with anything as rudimentary as knives – no, their weapons of choice are guns, baseball bats and, er, skipping ropes. Still, you get the picture.

The three killer kids in question are born during a solar eclipse, which messes up their astrological charts and causes them to become little psychos. On the verge of their tenth birthday, they go on a murder spree, gunning down their teacher and tidying up the crime scene like pros (although wouldn't you be able to tell from the trajectory of the bullet that the shooter was only four feet tall?). Sweet little Timmy (Martel) is an unwitting witness to one of the crimes and becomes their next target, but his elder sister Joyce (Lethin) begins to sense that something is not quite right with his beady-eyed playmates.

It's all enjoyably cheesy but not too silly, thanks in great measure to writer/director Ed Hunt's confidently low key, commonsensical handling of the story. There's a slow, deliberate build to the acts of violence (including one very nifty murder involving a bow and arrow and a peephole) which gives them weight. And those are some scary kids, especially their twinkly, blonde, butter-wouldn't-melt ringleader, Debbie – an adorably creepy performance from young Elizabeth Hoy that should have turned her into a child star. If ET had landed in this lot's back yard, they would have sent him home in pieces.

This Blu-ray offers a pretty decent HD transfer – there's some grain in the close-ups but the wide shots are crisp and nicely atmospheric. It comes with a 9-minute interview with Lori Lethin, who tells a few funny anecdotes about the cast and reveals that there was no child safety regs on the three week shoot in Pasadena. There's also a Brief History of the Slasher Movies, which does what it says on the tin, offering a sprightly romp through the subgenre all the way from Psycho to the remakes of the mid-Noughties. A decent little '80s horror nicely presented.

Extras: Don't Eat That Cake / A Brief History of the Slasher Movies / Trailers

 


Suggested Articles:
The Climber is from the period Joe Dallesandro spent in Europe during the 1970s making movies after
Described by Samuel Beckett himself as an “interesting failure”, the 21-minute Film is the Nobel
She’s back! Evil is reborn as Samara, the creepy dead kid in a well who crawls out of the TV scree
Let’s face it; if you choose to watch Headshot then you’re not here for the strength of narrativ
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in DVD / Blu-ray Reviews

THE CLIMBER 24 May 2017

FILM / NOTFILM 23 May 2017

RINGS 22 May 2017

HEADSHOT 21 May 2017

AN AMERICAN TAIL 21 May 2017

UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS 20 May 2017

XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE 20 May 2017

POWER RANGERS DINO CHARGE: UNLEASHED (VOLUME 1) 20 May 2017

YU-GI-OH! THE MOVIE: DARK SIDE OF DIMENSIONS 20 May 2017

RITA, SUE AND BOB TOO 19 May 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner