So I’ve been trying to enjoy my birthday all day long, but I just haven’t been able to get any peace. These three little kids have been following me everywhere, and something gives me the impression that they’re trying to kill me. I went to Denny’s to get my complimentary Birthday Slam, and they tried to put arsenic in my Moons Over My Hammy. I went for a relaxing stroll in the mall, and they tried to push me down the escalator. They even wanted to give me a birthday spanking with the business end of a machete, but I passed on that. I implored them to grant me a birthday wish and go away, and they agreed to let me have my birthday in peace if I would talk about their 1981 film Bloody Birthday here at the Lair. I was only too happy to oblige. After all, perennially young psychopaths stalking me are not something I really desire, and if I wanted a kid to kill me, I’d just have a couple of my own.
Bloody Birthday (1981) kicks off in typical slasher fashion with a couple of teens getting knocked off while trying to get their freak on in a graveyard. In that opening scene, the flick declares itself to be firmly mired in the genre showing off two murders, a point of view shot, and boobs all within the first two minutes. It’s from there on that Bloody Birthday separates itself from the pack. While the opening scene teases the killers, it takes merely moments for the murderer’s identity to be revealed as three ten year olds (Billy Jacoby, Elizabeth Hoy and Andy Freeman). It seems they were all born during an eclipse, and not having a complete zodialogical makeup, it’s turned them into soulless little monsters. They easily get away with murder due to the fact that no one suspects a group of elementary school students, but when brother and sister Timmy and Joyce Russel (K.C. Martel and Lori Lethin) stumble over the diminutive deviants’ dastardly doings, they quickly become the next targets.
If you have an empty spot in your collection somewhere near Who Can Kill a Child?, The Bad Seed, and The Good Son, then Bloody Birthday is going to be a perfect fit for you. (Also if your name is Emily and you write The Deadly Doll’s House of Horror Nonsense, this is also a perfect fit.) Where Bloody Birthday really stands out is in its particular blend of the 80’s slasher genre and killer kiddies on the loose. Though in the end it is the kids that really make it happen. Elizabeth Hoy, as the lone girl, stands out already, but she takes the blonde menace à la The Bad Seed to a whole different level. Scheming, conniving, murdering, smut peddling, this girl is doing it all and is never afraid to use her innocent looks to shirk blame. She would be the highlight of the film if it wasn’t for a young Billy Jayne. While this was years before his roles on Silver Spoons or Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, Jayne had 12 credits to his name when he played the role of Curtis Taylor. The maturity and poise he brought to the role really aped up the menace, and the oversized glasses he wore brought to mind images of Mark David Chapman, BTK, and the “Angel of Death” Richard Angelo.
Director Ed Hunt has given genre films a ton go goodies over the years with great films like The Brain and the Andromeda Strain lite feature Plague, but he really gave me a birthing day treat with Bloody Birthday. Not only was it an excellent film that kept me entertained from beginning to end, it also allowed me a simple pleasure I’ve harbored since the 1989 premiere ofJust Say Julie on MTV (which turned thirty yesterday by the way.) That’s right it only took the passage of twenty two years for me to finally see Julie Brown (Uptown, not Downtown) in her birthday suit. It was worth the wait, and the fact that it was wrapped up in a nice little shocker made it all the better.
All in all, checking out Bloody Birthdaywas a bloody good birthday idea indeed. While I usually take a W.C. Fields-ian stance to kiddies, in this case I’ll make an exception. That is an especially good idea after all when dealing with these three as it is highly likely that they would gladly kill me if I didn’t like their film. I must admit that the threats of three pre-adolescents didn’t inspire me to confidence when I pressed play, but by the credits end, I felt I had indeed gotten a birthday surprise, a new (to me) slasher in which to delight. I plan to talk about a lot more delightful films this month all leading up to August’s second important birthday in 18 days when the Lair turns three. I hope you all join me back for that and every day this month for much more. Until then this the Bugg signing off and saying, “Hey, I’m 35 now! I could be president.” Yeah if you didn’t think the world was in trouble before…..
Also because it’s my birthday, and the world needs more Julie Brown, Girl Fight Tonight….