Today marks my 26th birthday. To celebrate the occasion, I decided to surround myself with close friends and family, and take a little break from the world of awful movies. Just kidding! I watched a shitty movie with a birthday theme.
1981’s “Bloody Birthday” was co-written and directed by Ed Hunt, whose credits include a documentary called “UFO’s Are Real” and an episode of “Greatest Heroes of The Bible.” Sounds like just the sort of person I try to avoid in my daily life. The other co-writer on “Bloody Birthday” is one Barry Pearson, who primarily producers television programs that I assume no one has ever seen.
The music for “Bloody Birthday” was done by Arlon Ober, who provided scores for such horror films as “Incredible Melting Man,” “Q,” “Child’s Play,” and “House.”
The cinematographer on “Bloody Birthday” was Stephen L. Posey, who might be best known for his work on the much-maligned “Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning.”
The special effects on “Bloody Birthday” were provided by Roger George, who worked on films like “Blacula,” “The Terminator,” “Saturday the 14th,” “Chopping Mall,” “Ghoulies,” and “Repo Man.”
The cast of “Bloody Birthday” includes Lori Lethin (“The Day After”), Susan Strasberg (“Scream of Fear,” “Picnic”), Billy Jayne (“Cujo”), Julie Brown (“Plump Fiction,” “Earth Girls Are Easy”), Jose Ferrer (“Dune”), and Michael Dudikoff (“American Ninja”) in a background role, the same year as “Enter The Ninja.”
The story of “Bloody Birthday” centers around three children who were born on the same day, and are apparently ravenous killers due to the astrological situation at the time of their birth. Around their 11th birthdays, they decided to go on a spree, picking off parents, teachers, and local teenagers. One of their classmates and a babysitter start to catch on, but the town refuses to believe that children are behind the string of horrific murders.
“Bloody Birthday” went by a number of alternate titles in foreign markets, including “Killers of the Eclipse” and “Children of the Devil,” which are both easily more appropriate names for the film. I assume “Bloody Birthday” was chosen because of the trend of naming horror movies after assorted holidays, despite how tangential the birthday actually is to the story.
“Bloody Birthday” currently has a 5.7 score on IMDb, as well as a 38% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. However, it does have a little bit of a cult following among horror aficionados, but it is still a bit of an obscure film. I couldn’t dig up any financial information on the film, but I assume that the budget was plenty low and that it didn’t receive any kind of wide release, given that the production company behind it has no other credits.
There are certainly plenty of things to criticize about “Bloody Birthday.” First off, the trio of evil children aren’t exactly stealthy killers, but the small town is apparently incapable of hearing gunshots ring out in the night. They also kill in broad daylight on a couple of occasions, giving little mind to the fear of witnesses.
Speaking of which, how strong are these children supposed to be? It could be argued that they are cursed by their astrological destiny, but that doesn’t really excuse their ability to beat a grown man to death. I happen to know that there are plenty of scientifically accurate studies out there about how many 5th graders grown adults can take in hand to hand combat, and this film doesn’t seem to fit with those findings.
I don’t think I need to go into the problems with the astrology-based mythos behind this movie’s plot. Basically, the alignments of planets do not affect people’s personalities. Also, why aren’t there thousands of maniacal children in this movie? Surely there were more than three kids born on the astrologically significant day in question?
To the credit of the child actors in “Bloody Birthday” the killer kids are genuinely creepy in this movie. I usually dread any movies that rely on children in key roles, but this trio is absolutely passable here. The rest of the acting in the film is your typically b-movie mixed bag, but it is all serviceable enough in my opinion.
Overall, “Bloody Birthday” isn’t a great horror movie. It has a few creative deaths that are worth watching, and the evil children keep it interesting, but this is more of a copycat of other horror movies than anything unique to itself. There also isn’t a very satisfying conclusion, which brings it down a peg.
As far as a recommendation goes, you could certainly do a lot worse. The movie is paced well enough, and never quite felt boring. If you want to watch an obscure horror movie or are itching to watch children murder people, “Bloody Birthday” will satisfy you.
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