Monday, February 11, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me

Director - J. Lee Thompson (The Reincarnation of Peter Proud and Conquest of the Planet of the Apes)
Starring - Melissa Sue Anderson (The Suicide Club), Glenn Ford (Superman), and Lawrence Dane (Scanners)
Release Date - 1981
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "R.S.V.P or die!" and "Pray your not invited to the party"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Stills from youtube)

Rating (out of 5):
     Slashers are hit and miss just like any other horror sub-genre.  For every 5 slashers you watch only one is worth a damn even though they all follow the same formula incorporated into a different story.  What makes them so entertaining are the kills.  People remember the slashers that offer amazing kills and that is why I was skeptical of this one.  I had never heard anyone mention this film at all which is quite a feat with all the horror sites and forums I visit.  Anyway, it wasn't until I was at Wal-Mart when I found this in the $5 bin.  I didn't buy it then and decided to hold off.  That was a few years ago and after recently ordering a few other slashers I decided to order this.  I quickly cancelled my order when I saw a picture Shawn C. Phillips (youtuber coolduder) posted on Facebook of this film on bluray.  That night I drove to two different Wal-Marts till I found it.
     The film follows Virginia (Anderson) who is mere days away from turning 18.  She attends a private school and is a member of the "top ten," a clique of popular kids.  As her birthday draws near her friends start to go missing one by one.  She also starts to remember the events that lead to her mother's death on one of her previous birthdays.  Virginia suffered severe brain trauma and had to go through an experimental procedure to repair her brain tissue and does not fully remember the entire ordeal.  She now has a hard time determining what is reality and what is only a dream.  She keeps seeing visions of the missing teenagers who are now dead and suspects she is the one responsible for it.  Her father returns home from a business trip and discovers his deceased wife's grave has been robbed and the corpse of the doctor who treated Virginia.  He heads down to a cottage on his property and finds the bodies of the top ten with Virginia holding a knife.  She slits her father's throat before going on a rant of why she killed them.  She then admits she is Virginia's half-sister and is wearing make up to look like her. Virginia is there unconscious but awakens in time to take the knife from her and kill her with it.
     Most directors did not want to create great slasher films, however, they just wanted to cash in on the success of those released before them.  I feel as if this was not the case.  This film is a solid slasher and does not fail to entertain.  The acting is decent but I have definitely seen better in other slashers.  The lead girl is very nice to look at but not very convincing in her role. The rest of the cast did decent as well but there was a lot of room for improvement for the entire cast.  The story is your typical slasher-fare that follows the revenge formula.  Though it is nothing original it is very well executed and pulled together giving the film the perfect early 80's slasher atmosphere.  The kills are nothing special but are executed very well.  With so many slashers in place by 81 it was hard to be original so they just took the old and made it better.  The special effects on the kills are your standard fake blood and knives, however, the dead bodies around the table during the end scene look amazing.  Overall, this one does not offer anything new or groundbreaking but does deliver a great slasher experience.  I recommend this one.           

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