Monday, July 6, 2009

Day 155: Happy Birthday to Me (1981) - Rank 2.5/5


This film is one of the countless thousands of slasher flicks spawned by the success of "Halloween" and "Friday the Thirteenth." Pictures of this age loved their gimmicks and this one surrounds a macabre birthday present which I can't tell you about (because it's the twist climax of the film, so back off). There's also a Dr. Phibes air about the tale, for the killer is knocking off members of a collegiate clique called "The Top Ten" (presumably membership is determined by GPA, athleticism and obnoxiousness). So, as is the case in the Dr. Phibes series, much of the appeal for the film are the elaborate albeit impractical deaths that are staged for the victims. Regrettably though, Vincent Price is nowhere to be seen.

Ginny, the main heroine/victim/possible killer, etc. is a new member/hanger-on of the Top Ten (actually, her affiliation is rather dubious). As the killings progress, she begins to have traumatic flashbacks to her mother's death and a surreal operation that one can only assume is intended to remove said memory (this too is rather vague). In the end, as the body count stacks up, we progress shakily to a far-fetched (by far, I mean "other side of God" far) twist ending. However, the grisly killing (shish kebab into the throat, an overloaded barbell dropped on a weightlifter's head, etc) keep it watchable.

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