happy birthday to me.jpg

3 an a half stars   Cheese Rating: 75% Fierce Fondue!


directed by: J. Lee Thompson
starring: Melissa Sue Anderson, Glen Ford, Lawrence Dane, Sharon Acker

(back of video blurb):
       "A real shocker!!

a real shocker       When pretty student at exclusive High School disappears mysteriously, a terrible chain of events begins...with one gruesome murder following another. As the death toll mounts it becomes obvious that a mentally unbalanced student holds the key. Everything will be revealed at a macabre birthday party where the guests have one thing in common...they are all corpses!

       Horror and terror on a grand scale, with Glenn Ford heading the cast list and director J. Lee Thompson executing heart-stopping shocks at a non-stop pace."

choice dialogue:

"Daddy I have to remember....David says until I stop repressing what happened, I....I won't be completely cured"
"Maybe we should all put in $20 and the last one left takes all!"

slash with panache?

       Oh yes!....This one is a riot from beginning to end.

        HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME is probably one of my favourites of the cheesier side of slasher cinema made around this time. It teeters on the edge of pastiche, but never quite becomes a parody. It plays like a gory episode of SCOOBY DOO- yes, its that much fun!

       For once in a film like this there is a complex, if deliriously hokey, plot.....Members of the dead guestsCrawford Academy's 'top ten' are disappearing, one by one. We know they are being offed by a black gloved killer. "Six of the most bizzare murders that you will ever see", in fact there are more than six and many things are not what they first appear to be. The killer is obviously known to the victims, there is lots of the "Oh, its you!" when stalkee meets stalker. And the stalker could be any number of people. At least once almost everyone appears to throw doubt on their sanity with a macabre 'throw-away' line or a faintly psychotic gleam in their eye.

       Virginia (Mellisa Sue-Anderson) is the main character and number one suspect. She keeps getting flashbacks to an accident ,four years previously, when her mother had died and she had sustained serious head injuries- cue very gory brain surgery! She is convinced she is going mad and as the student number continues to dwindle suspicious eyes turn to her..... In fact Mellisa Sue-Anderson couldn't be further from LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRARIE if she tried. Especially the scene where she does a (mild) strip to the sounds of funky disco, whilst an unseen voyeur watches and then steals her knickers! This novelty value alone makes her fun to watch. dead guestsAlthough I couldn't quite get over the fact she has perhaps got the worst case of split ends in living memory!

      The climax of the film is Grand Guginol of the cheesiest degree. That old chestnut, the birthday party where all the guests, bar two, are corpses-(an almost identical finale was used in the same years' MADHOUSE). Red herrings are legion, there is a gratuitous disco scene, a 'you have to see it, to believe it' twist ending and to cap it off- death by shish-kebab.... What more could you ask for?!"

BODYCOUNT 9  bodycount!   female:3 / male:6

       1) Female teen has throat cut with 'cut-throat' razor
       2) Male teen's face is dragged into motorcycle wheel after his scarf is thrown
              into it  to screen captures of this scene...
       3) Male teen crushed by weight lifting apparatus  to screen captures of this scene...
       4) Male teen stabbed in gut with garden shears
       5) Male teen- death by shish kebab!   to screen captures of this scene...
       6) Female (middle-aged) drowns when car goes into river
       7) Male (middle-aged) battered to death with fire poker
       8) Male (middle-aged) has throat slit
       9) Female teen stabbed in gut

Click here:       to see UK quad cinema poster