Bloody Birthday (1981)

Ed Hunt

Lori Lethin - Joyce Russel
K.C. Martel - Timmy Russel
Elizabeth Hoy - Debbie Brody
Billy Jayne - Curtis Taylor
Andy Freeman - Steven Seton
Beverly Brody - Julie Brown

Genre - Horror/Thriller

Running Time - 85 Minutes

Score - 3 Howls Outta 4

As I'm approaching the big 3-0 in 22 months, the thought of settling down and having a boat load of children becomes more of a possibility. Hell, seeing my friends having children would make any single guy with father and committment issues question when the time is right to unleash his wolf spawn to the world. Each and every day, I always tell myself: 'Yeah, I definitely want to bring children to this world. Nothing would make me happier.'

Then I watch a film like BLOODY BIRTHDAY and I change my mind about the whole 'kid' thing. Little bastards...

BLOODY BIRTHDAY is a lost early 80's suspense horror/thriller involving evil kids that do what they do best: KILL!!! Add a young [and naked] Julie Brown, cameos from Joe Penny, Jose Ferrer, and Michael fuckin' Dudikoff, and some weird astrology shit - and you get a strange little flick that's fun to watch. Octomom, watch out! This may be your life in a few years!

On June 9, 1970, three women in Meadowvale, California give birth during a total solar eclipse. Since no one takes astrology all that seriously, they don't realize that when the moon and the sun block Saturn, kids are born without a conscience. No harm can come from that, right?

Ten years pass and these three children - Debbie (Elizabeth Hoy), Curtis (Billy Jayne), and Steven (Andy Freeman) - are the best of friends...WHO KILL! Forget tag and hide-and-seek. These kids like strangling people, shooting bitchy teachers in the head, smashing heads with a baseball bat, collecting news articles about the murders in a scrapbook, and looking to peepholes to see their friend's sister dance naked in her bedroom. Why couldn't I have friends like this growing up?

Anyway, some nosy little bastard named Timmy (K.C. Martel) notices these kids' behavior once certain members of the community end up being murdered right in their vacinity. This obviously paints a target on Timmy's ass, as well as his sister Joyce (Lori Lethin), who begins to notice the behavior as well. Will these evil hellspawn take over this town? Will Joyce, Timmy, and Lassie stop them?

What was that boy? You believe the children are the future?

What was that again? Teach them well and let them lead the way?

Oh Lassie, you really do know the greatest love of all...

BLOODY BIRTHDAY is honestly a film I was not at all expecting. I was expecting a really gory birthday party of sorts here, but you don't get that at all here. So yeah, the title is pretty misleading for the most part. But I got to say that evil children entertain the hell out of me so BLOODY BIRTHDAY pretty much won me over and left me with a smile on my face.

I will admit that the narrative isn't really the film's strong suit here. While interesting things do happen from time to time, BLOODY BIRTHDAY pretty much meanders over the course of days without any real point to it other than to showcase how evil these children are. Characters come and go, for reasons I really can't explain to you, that don't add much to the plot at all. As a matter of fact, some of these scenes could have been left out and not have hurt the film at all. Did we really need Joyce's college boyfriend popping up just to make out with her and incite this monologue about not wanting to go to college or something just for him to disappear for the rest of the film without a single mention? What's the point? People get murdered and it's like "whatever" sometimes, especially when these three kids have been at every crime scene. You get this explanation about how being born during a solar eclipse will prevent you from having a conscience, but it's all exposition and we're not really sure if that's even the real reason for their behavior. Maybe they had really fucked up parents! Maybe they woke up one day and realized that they're purpose in life is to write reviews for really crappy films as they cry away to sleep! It could have been a lot of things. More background about the astrological portion of the film would have been appreciated.

Also, I was figuring this would lead to the goriest birthday party next to HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME, but I got the total opposite! No one died during the birthday party. It was the most non-violent portion of the film! False advertisement and the Wolf doesn't like false advertisements! Boo to you for getting my hopes up, BLOODY BIRTHDAY!

Still, I can't help to be entertained by this film. The three villains of the film are pretty nasty and actually take pleasure in knowing that. What to see Debbie's sister naked through the peephole? Pay her a dime to see boobs and a quarter to see the full monty. Hate that teacher who takes her anger out on you because she ain't gettin' any? Shoot the bitch and stuff her in a closet! Disrespect authority, even if he is your father? Bash him with a baseball bat and make bacon out of him! Want to make sure there are no witnesses to your crimes? Try and run them over while wearing a sheet to look like a ghost? Michael Jackson does it all the time. Why can't you, right? These kids are pretty awesome and all have distinct personalities, making the murder scenes a lot of fun. And while they're brutal [8 people get killed in this film], they're not particularly bloody. But that's okay because you totally believe every sequence these children are in. They mean business and not once do you feel silly about the whole thing. The villains overshadow the protagonists/heroes of the film quite a bit, so I was rooting for these evil bastards. And it was a lot of fun doing so.

And you really can't complain when you get to see boobs. Especially Julie Brown's boobs. Very VERY nice, Julie. You also get some other ladies showing us their headlights as well, which I had absolutely no complaints about. As a matter of fact, they lit up my candle everytime they appeared. I could have done without that one dude's ass, but what can you do? I guess the ladies need to enjoy themselves too.

The direction by Ed Hunt was actually very good. I found the film to be well paced, even with these useless scenes intact. The killing scenes were full of tension and suspense, even though you knew what was gonna happen. They also weren't cut away from the actual acts either, allowing the viewer to see every part of the victim's demise. Hunt focuses on the characters and we get to know them pretty well through reaction shots and great editing. I have no complaints about the visuals. Ed Hunt gets two thumbs up from me.

The acting for BLOODY BIRTHDAY was surprisingly above average, which I appreciated. Even though Andy Freeman didn't do much as Steven, the other two child actors [Elizabeth Hoy and especially Billy Jayne] did a really bang-up job bringing evil to life as Debbie and Curtis. Hoy played the innocent little girl-next-door type, even though she was obviously the mastermind of the trio. Jayne played the brains of the group and probably the most evilest of the three, as he seemed to enjoy hurting people. I was totally convinced of their villainy and that's due to their great acting. K.C. Martel as Timmy was also credible as the good kid and played a nice foil to the evil trio. Lori Lethin didn't really impress me much as Joyce at the beginning, but once her character was being made to seem insane, I liked her acting more. Plus she was kind of cute too. Even hotter was Julie Brown, who showed us she was more than just a comedic actress. And by that, I mean I got to see her naked boobies and her fine ass. Whoo! Thank you, Ms. Brown! And of course we get cameos from Jake and The Fat Man's Joe Penny, Jose Ferrer, and AMERICAN NINJA's Michael Dudikoff. Not a bad cast at all.


- Don't ever play "Ambulance" with your lover inside of a graveyard at night. When the date is over, the only game anyone will be playing is "Guess Who's Inside The Bodybag?" How morbidly fun!

- A cop asked a bunch of 10-year-olds, "What is murder?" I would have answered with 'forcing someone to watch a 24-hour marathon of The Hills and The City.' But then again, we're all different.

- Julie Brown stripped in front of a peephole for 2 horny young boys. EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY and thank God for it!

- The little kids bashed some cop's brains in with a baseball bat. Who needs steroids or Madonna when you can hit a homerun each time at bat before the age of 10?

- The little kids shot a bitchy teacher in the head. Talk about taking it in the face. And she didn't even teach sex education!

- One of the kids dressed up as a ghost and tried to run over Joyce with a car. Looks like the Phantom Racer strikes again!

- A couple having sex in the back of the van were shot in the face after they were done. I think these results were more effective than the actual shot the dude made with his "actual" gun. I'm not saying the dude was shooting blanks, but the look on the girl's face says otherwise.

- Debbie shot her sister dead with an arrow through the eye. Some people need to remember that arrows only work on Valentine's Day. Otherwise, you'll be giving love a bad name.

- Debbie invited Joyce to babysit her at 7pm, to which Joyce agreed to. Doesn't Joyce realize that bad things happen to babysitters? Doesn't this bitch watch horror movies?

- The kids shot through a 1980 Van Halen poster. Apparently they're Van Hagar fans.

While deceptive in name and weak wise in plot, BLOODY BIRTHDAY still does enough to entertain and make watching young people kill fun to watch. Definitely worth a rental if you're into "Evil Kids" flicks like THE BAD SEED and THE VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED. Gorehounds will be disappointed but anyone looking for a suspenseful good time will get a kick out of this one.


  1. Great review man, as you mentioned the film is lacking in the actual gore, acting, and plot, but I find it immensely entertaining and an excellent entry in a killer kids movie night!

  2. Great review Fred - I too enjoyed this one!

  3. I've never seen this one, I have see Happy Birthday to Me (went to see it when it was released)I don't mind a horror film that lacks gore, I like a story that creeps me out not so much grosses me out. I want a horror movie that makes me want to sleep with the light on, gives me the heebie geebies, or just leaves me feeling totally unsettled. That's a harder task, to me anyway, than throwing blood and guts all over the place. Don't get me wrong, I love a good gory blood splatter, but I tend to be more "Oooooo...that was soooo cool! I wonder who did the FX?" rather than scared or creeped out.
    My favorite Evil Kids: Willie Jr, Donnie, and Ralphie Chandler from The Girl Next Door...anyone who makes a game out of sadistically torturing, multilating, and raping their female cousin definitely gets my vote.
    Very cool review, Wolfie, congrats on Big Daddy picking it for their site.
    Dreaded Dreams
    Petunia Scareum


Related Posts with Thumbnails