Bloody Birthday. Film Review

wp982b8666_1aBLOODY BIRTHDAY
SCREENPLAY: Ed Hunt, Barry Pearson
STARRING: Lori Lethin, Melinda Cordell, Julie Brown, Billy Jayne, K.C. Martel
FORMAT: Blu-ray
Reviewed by Guy Adams

Kids are little shits sometimes aren’t they? They mope about pretending butter wouldn’t melt in their insidious, cherubic mouths and then they throttle you with a skipping rope.

Ed Hunt’s 1981 slasher movie is a very simple affair, and all the stronger for it. In fact I wish he’d cut the small piece of explanation he does offer for his pint-size psychos (astrological guff that even a forgiving, eighties audience must have raised a plump, hair-sprayed eyebrow at).

Little Curtis, Steven and Debbie look like perfect small town ten-year olds. their parents love them, everybody else considers them cuteness personified. In actuality they love nothing more than killing people in a variety of inventive ways (and Debbie’s earning sweet money by letting boys queue up at a peep-hole in her wardrobe to secretly watch her elder sister undress).

It’s a fun and gruesome idea, most particularly when our hero’s powerlessness is hammered home. Joyce Russel (Lethin) knows the kids are up to no good but nobody’s going to believe her and what do you do when faced with their evil, knowing grin? Fight back without cast-iron proof and you’ll be the villain in most people’s eyes.

It’s not a movie that’s been showered with praise over the years, and certainly it’s rough around the edges, but I enjoyed it a great deal. A movie like this rests heavily on the performances of its juvenile villains and all three give an excellent account of themselves,  with special mention going to Billy Jayne who is so hateful I was chewing the sofa cushions, praying someone would pummel him to death with something blunt. 88 Films should be praised for giving it a solid showing on blu-ray. While the sound is a little muted and prone to crackle, the picture looks superb.

Justin Kerswell, the author of ‘Teenage Wasteland’, a book on the history of slasher films, provides a commentary; there’s an audio interview with Ed Hunt; a video interview with star Lori Lethin and a short featurette, ‘The Brief History of Slasher Movies’. A solid disc of an unfairly dismissed movie.