“Bloody Birthday” (1981)
Studio: Judica Productions
Starring: Lori Lethin, Julie Brown, Elizabeth Hoy, K.C. Martel, Billy Jayne, Andy Freeman
Directed by: Ed Hunt
Running Time: 85 min.
Synopsis: Three children that are born on a total eclipse go on a killing spree towards their 10th birthday.
The slasher craze in the early 80’s spawned many films that capitalized on holidays and special events such as, Friday the 13th, Mother’s Day, Prom Night, the list goes on and on. Bloody Birthday is one of those films from that time. One thing that makes this slasher film stand out from all the others is the killers are three little children.
The movie starts in 1970, when three children are born to three separate parents on a night of a total eclipse. Ten years later, murders start to happen in a small California town. Turns out it’s the three kids (Debbie, Curtis, and Steven) that were born on the same day. There’s no real reason why they’re killing and there’s no remorse from the evil trio. A teenage girl, Joyce, is on to the children when one tries to kill her little brother. She’s also big into astrology and figures out that the day they were born during the eclipse, the sun and moon were blocking Saturn, which controls emotions. Since they were born with no emotions, Joyce figures that’s why they are cold-blooded killers.
Bloody Birthday is a cool little slasher flick from that era. Of course, not the greatest film from that genre, it is very entertaining with some good suspense and uniqueness to it. Most slasher films of that time were whodunits and had masked killers. In this film you know from the get go who the killers are and being kids, they were the unlikely choice to be vicious killers, but that makes it all the creepier. When you have a killer in a film that is unexpected like a child, puppet, or doll, for me, it always seems to be scarier and more disturbing.
These kids are pure evil and don’t waste any time taking out people that can threaten their murderous rampage. Right in the beginning after the first murders happen, Debbie’s dad, who’s the sheriff, is trying to track down the killer. Debbie and the rest don’t mess around and take out her dad by beating him with a baseball bat. They make it look like he tripped on a skateboard and hit his head. Not even the parents of this twisted trio are safe from their devilish tactics.
Debbie is clearly the leader of the three as she makes all the calls. She’s smart, cunning, and very disturbed. She charges money to the kids to watch her sister undress through a peephole that she made in her closet. Her sister, Beverly, is played by 80’s comedian/singer, Julie Brown. She also kind of tries to seduce Joyce’s brother, Timmy, when he goes over Debbie’s house and she asks him if he wants to play doctor. One thing that Debbie does that isn’t very smart is start a scrap book with newspaper clippings of all the murders the kids committed. She even keeps it lying around out and the open for anyone can find it.
Most of the main cast and especially the children do a good job in their roles. Even the supporting characters play their roles well. One actor, that has a small role in the film is Joe Penny from TV’s Riptide and Jake and the Fatman. He’s only in one scene that makes no sense and should really be cut from the film because it adds nothing to the story. It happens earlier on and it has Joyce talking to Penny about astrology. When you first see the scene you think it’s introducing this character as a love interest for Joyce, but you never see him in another scene. It made no sense and it should have been cut from the film.
Bloody Birthday is a good horror film from that slasher area during the early 80’s. It’s not your typical slice and dice slasher film and that’s what makes it a good movie. If you’re a fan of evil children movies like Village of the Damned, The Bad Seed, or The Omen, then Bloody Birthday is the film for you. It’s a cool horror flick that’s worth checking out.