Sunday, December 16, 2007
Happy Birthday to Me (1981)
Hokey slasher film cranked out during the early boom of teen slasher flicks, HBTM loses it's schlock appeal as soon as the person you are watching it with falls asleep and your wisecracks fall on deaf ears.
Melissa Sue Anderson of Little House on the Prairie fame stars as a high school kid suffering from an inability to remember the accident that resulted in her mother's death. As time goes by and her sessions with her therapist (played by John Ford of all people) become more productive, it soon emerges that she has had some sort of experimental brain surgery that "rebuilt" her brain after it was severely damaged. So she's kind of like the Bionic Woman.
Meanwhile, her group of friends each start getting picked off by a slasher who kills them in creative and ridiculous ways, my favorite being death by barbell. The plot isn't difficult to follow as much as it's just a mess. Who's killing whom, is it someone they know, is it someone they don't know, are people actually dying, is it all a hoax or (gasp) is it all in her mind? The end of the film is beyond implausible, but by the time it rolls around you really don't care much. Any kind of resolution that brings about the end of the film is welcome. Still, I did enjoy the fact that the film ends unhappily.
For a poster depicting a guy about the be skewered by his shish-ka-bob, the gore here is light, often being implied more than it's shown. One could chalk this up to a low budget, but that's probably not the case. Me thinks it's more a matter of being unwilling to "pull the trigger" so to speak.
There is, however, an overabundance of muscle cars and satin jacketed mulle-tude going on, as well as an amazing disco scene, it being 1981 and all. So if that's your thing....