July 31, 2014

Movie Review: Bloody Birthday

In the early days of slasher cinema, there was something of a free for all. I do not say this from any real knowledge aside from just seeing all the sorts of movies they were putting out in those days as the style was beginning to find its footing in the world. We had the early classics that set the formula, like Black Christmas and especially Halloween. We had Friday the 13th that brought it all to the masses. Then there was everything else. That brings us to today's film which seems to have been made by those who were paying close attention to the direction horror was taking. Bloody Birthday may not be a great movie, but it certainly is worth paying some attention to.

Bloody Birthday was co-written and directed by Ed Hunt, a man clearly schooled in the ways of Carpenter and Cunningham. It will never be confused with one of the greats, but it is hard not to enjoy this thing. It feels a lot like Halloween and Friday the 13th. In a lot of ways this movie feels like what it may have been like to follow a young Michael Myers develop into the psycho we all know and love. We also get to see a few of his like-minded friends as well.

The story begins in 1970, three children are born in the same town on the same day, during a solar eclipse which blocks Saturn, which controls emotions. What? You didn't know that? Me neither. Anyway, this results in these little kids being born without emotions. We catch up with them ten years later. The trio are cold, emotionless, and downright nasty. If they don't like you, they kill you, and because of their youthful innocence, they are never suspected of a thing.

We all remember how Michael Myers killed his sister as a youngster? Of course you do. Now, what if he wasn't locked away? What if he got away with it and had a couple of accomplices? Yeah, sounds pretty terrifying. That is what we get here. These three creepy kids essentially run amok though town all cute and innocent like, killing people, playing pranks, never caught, never even suspected.

These three kids are doing their thing, taking out anyone who they don't like or may suspect, and even selling a peepshow for a quarter (one of them has an older sister who takes her clothes off in her room and they peek through a hole in the wall). All goes well until suspicion falls on them and things begin to fall apart. Or do they? I guess it is all going to come down to the believability of those making the accusations.

It is not really a gory movie, although it does have some. It really rests on the shoulders of the kids, and they certainly do the job. In particular, the ringleader, Debbie (Elizabeth Hoy), is seriously creepy and not just a little evil looking. Again, the movie feels a lot like somebody wanted to see a Myers-like kid on the rampage. Add in a little dark humor, some nudity, and a score that sounds just like Harry Manfredini's Friday score and you have the makings of a fun little movie.

If you like slashers, you have probably already seen this one already, but if you haven't, give it a shot. It is an entertaining early slasher entry that pays homage to the soon to be classics that definitely added to the tapestry of this tale of killer kids.


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