February 10, 2014

Netflix Review- Bloody Birthday (1981)

The 70's and 80's gave us a slew of Killer Kid movies, most of which were pretty good, or at least fun.

Killer Kid movies usually tend to work well because it's pretty terrifying to imagine sweet little children killing people in heinous ways, especially in cold blood.

I mean, is there anything more fundamentally frightening than imagining that the cute little thing you just tucked in for the night is going to get up, creep into your room, and kill you while you sleep?

No, there really isn't.

Three babies are born during a lunar eclipse in 1970, which tells me that they should have been drowned straight away, because, Satan. But no, the idiot people of the sleepy little town of Meadowvale instead revere them as "special," because nothing else of note ever happens in Meadowvale.

"From the Eye of Satan's Butthole they came..."
On the eve of their 10th Birthday(s), the three little eclipse bastards decide to start killing people. Why? Because it's fun, and they apparently have no souls, and feel no remorse, and are evil, because, Satan! They kill their parents, siblings, teachers, other kids, young lovers... basically anyone that they feel like killing. They're obviously on a mission from the Dark Lord himself.

Honestly? You couldn't grab that rope and pull it out of the hands of a 10-year-old kid?
It's bad enough that these little creeps love to murder people, but they're also reverse Pedophiles; little sis' charges neighborhood kids to peep on big sis' while she's changing, and she even enjoys it herself! I don't know what was in that eclipse (Satan), but it sure wasn't happy stardust. And since they're so cute and Eddie Haskell-like, no one in town suspects them of anything, even when presented with about 100 red flags that scream "these kids are not alright!"

Every kid in the 70's looked like one of these three. *Change hair color as needed.
Luckily for the morons of Meadowvale, Joyce and her little brother Timmy know what's up with the Trio of Terror, and they'll stop at nothing to reveal the murderous kids for what they are! Actually, they don't do much at all to reveal anything. I mean, they kinda do, but then no one believes them, so then they kinda relax and forget about all of the terrifying shit that's happening around them, which basically allows the killer kids to run amok with no repercussion. So yeah, it's one of those types of movies.

Typical 80's cheesiness/goodness ensues.

That dog has the best haircut on that porch.
Bloody Birthday plays like its one of those Made-For-TV movies -or even an over-long Afterschool Special- of the late 70's/early 80's. It's pretty well made, even if it is a bit bland at times, and it works well enough to entertain on that Retro B-grade Horror level. We just kept waiting to learn a lesson at the end, or something.

This movie boasts some pretty decent acting talent, most notably by way of Jose Ferrer, Joe Penny, and Ellen Geer, all of whom have had long and fairly successful acting careers. Add Susan Strasberg, and MTV personality Julie Brown to that list (not to mention the kid from Growing Pains), and this movie is full of familiar faces.

The trio of murdering whelps In this one are a memorable bunch, not only because they look like everyone's kid in the 70's/early 80's, but because they just kill people like they're playing hopscotch or something, and it doesn't affect them at all.They don't come across as being very "scary" or anything, but they do come across as being all sorts of menacing, which is almost as good.

Nice bowl cut, Ricky Schroeder.
With a title like Bloody Birthday, we were kinda expecting the big birthday party to result in a massacre of some sort. When creepy kid #2 broke out the rat poison and starting frosting a cake, we were positive that we'd get to see a yard full of people puking up blood and dying painfully, convulsions and all... but no.

Also, the people in the town on Meadowvale are morons, especially the Police. After a bunch of murders, a girl gets chased around by someone in a car who is obviously trying to run her down, and she's not placed in any sort of protective custody?

And what was with the girl and that rope? She was always popping up everywhere trying to lasso someone in the neck!

Always with the rope!
The junkyard car chase scene has to be one of the silliest things we've ever seen in a Horror movie. I get that this is a B-Horror flick, and they had to play the scene for effect at the expense of common sense, so I can excuse the whole "Run away from the car in straight line, don't run off to the side where the car can't go" thing.

Whats really hard to swallow though, is how the ditz running from the car "fell" into a pile of loose cables, and got her foot "caught" in them. The cables were pretty much just laying there and not hindering her movement at all, and it still felt like it took her 12 minutes to get free of them... which of course happened right in time!

Pure cheese.

The Town That Dreaded Kids at Sundown?
People get hit with shovels, strangled with jump ropes, shot, crushed to death... one even gets an arrow through the eye. Bloody Birthday isn't crazy gory, but it gets the job done in the kill scene department.

Probably the best scene in the movie.
A couple of girls get naked in this one, but it's Julie Brown that steals the nudity show here: the former MTV VJ strips naked and dances around her room for what seems like 20 minutes, as the creepy kids look on through a peephole. Good stuff.

Probably the best scene in the movie, part 2.
All kids, whether cute or otherwise, are evil and creepy. Also, lunar eclipses are Satan's doing. Solar eclipses probably are too.

Boom, headshot!
Bloody Birthday is a sweet little piece of Horror nostalgia that every Horror Fan should see at least once. Sure, it's cheesy, but that's why 80's Horror flicks are so great; for better or worse, they have a special feel about them, and that particular feel is something that is sorely missing from a lot of Horror movies today.

It's streaming on Netflix right now, so if you're in the mood to watch a bunch of soulless little kids kill people for the fun of it, give it a go.


If you were alive in the 80's, and had MTV, then Julie Brown* was definitely a part of your life. It's funny to us to remember an MTV that played music videos, had VJs, and actually made people like Martha Quinn, Kurt Loder, and Carson Daily into household names. Nowadays, MTV is nothing more than lowest common denominator programming that has almost nothing to do with music at all. Sad is what it is.

Anywho, Julie Brown was cute, curvy and spunky, and her boobs are one (two?) of the reasons that we'll always love Bloody Birthday.

*Not to be confused with Downtown Julie Brown, who was Black and British. "Wubba, wubba, wubba. Goodbye and God Bless."

1 comment :

  1. Thank you for the review. Just caught it on TCM. Love it for all the reasons you mention.