First of all a shout out to my beloved Webmistress, Chani. I write the stories but she makes the place look as awesome as it does. And today is her Birthday so wish her a good one.
So, since I am on the subject, let's talk Birthdays. Or more specifically, the "renowned" 1981 slasher flick, Happy Birthday to Me.
So, a little background here. Back in 1978, John Carpenter released the original Halloween (a movie that you can bet your ass we will be discussing in the next few weeks). It was a huge hit. As evidenced by the fact that it put out sequels well into the early 2000's, THEN it got a remake, the remake got a shitty sequel and now a retcon/reboot that will be out soon. A couple of years later the first Friday the 13th movie came out and was, if anything, an even bigger hit. The film industry, being what it is, decided from then on that what audiences REALLY wanted to see were cheap slasher films based around important days on the calendar. So we got My Bloody Valentine, a veritable crapload of Xmas themed slashers like Black Christmas, and Silent Night Deadly Night, April Fools Day, and so on. Somewhere in there, someone got the bright idea to base it on a character's Birthday and voila, like some kind of magic, "Happy Birthday To Me" was born
I won't go too deeply into it, because it wasn't a very good movie and frankly, I have watched so many 80's slasher movies over the years that they have all begun to blend together in my head. But the plot was kind of murky, involving a clique of popular kids at a preppy high school, a traumatic brain injury and a literal death via shish-kebab.
Really, as I recall it, it's like they took every 80s slasher cliche and turned it up to 11. Which could have been kind of a good movie, done properly, but instead made this one just sort of silly. Too bad.
What makes it all kind of sad is that it was originally an attempt at making a more...cerebral...kind of horror film. The director, J. Lee Thompson, had one classic film under his belt, Cape Fear (the 1962 version with Gregory Peck) and he had been a dialogue coach to Alfred Hitchcock. So, at least at first, they didn't intend for Happy Birthday to Me to be just another el cheapo slasher film. Somehow, for reasons I can only speculate, but I would bet involved trying to make it more commercial, the movie got dumbed down to what eventually became the end product. Just another forgotten piece of cinematic detritus spawned by the flood of slashers made in the era.