Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Bloody Birthday (Blu-ray)

Collapse
X
Collapse
  •  
    Ian Jane
    Administrator

  • Bloody Birthday (Blu-ray)



    Released by: Severin Films
    Released on: July 8th, 2014.
    Director: Ed Hunt
    Cast: Elizabeth Hoy, Andy Freeman, Michael Dudikoff, Erica Hope, Billy Jayne, Julie Brown
    Year: 1981
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    Bloody Birthday begins in 1970 when three children - Debbie (Elizabeth Hoy), Curtis (Billy Jacoby) and Steven (Andy Freeman) - are born at the pinnacle of a lunar eclipse where the sun blocks Saturn, which is the planet that according to astrological lore, controls human emotions. Ten years later, the three kids, now fully enrolled in school and well known around town, start killing off some of the townsfolk. Obviously because they're just a bunch of innocent looking little kids - and we all know kids are angels, right? Nobody suspects them.

    A kid named Timmy (K. C. Martel of Growing Pains!) and his sister, Joyce (Lori Lethin), become convinced of their evil disposition and decides to do something about it. The three evil kids, however, are smarter than you'd expect and so they decide that they have to try to get rid of their problem. As things start to get even worse around town, Joyce will have to try and convince the adults of the town and the proper authorities that these three young killers are the real thing, which won't be easy.

    Notable for a couple of gratuitous nude scenes (including one by future MTV star Julie Brown of Clueless and other goofball comedies), Bloody Birthday has only some mild gore (which is unusual for an 80s horror film when you consider how grisly the slasher films would get in the first part of the decade) and very little suspense worth noting. As an 80s time capsule of sorts, the film works though, and it's good for a few unintentional laughs for those who appreciate that decades specific brand of camp. Time hasn't been kind to it on certain levels, but it's still got some pretty significant entertainment value to offer and it's easy to see why it remains a cult favorite.

    Influenced by Village Of The Damned, the mother of all killer kid movies, Bloody Birthday moves at a good pace and actually succeeds in creating a fair bit of suspense towards the end. The performances aren't bad for a low budget early eighties horror film and Lori Lethin in particular does quite well in her part. The three 'killer kids' in the film aren't particularly scary, but they play their parts with enough conviction that you definitely do get the vibe that they're bad news. The shot of Debbie zipping around with a full size hunting bow towards the end of the film is simultaneously goofy and eerie - two adjectives you could use to describe most of the film. To explain, the fact that it's very much a product of the early eighties makes the fashions, hairstyles and furnishings on display amusingly campy, but the actions of the kids are, at least in this day and age where kids do periodically kill one another, can get under your skin a little bit. Some creative kill scenes, a novel premise, some welcome celebrity nudity and the presence of a very young Michael Dudikoff makes this one worth revisiting. Dated or not, it holds up well and benefits from excellent camerawork throughout.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Bloody Birthday arrives on Blu-ray from Severin Films in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 1.78.1 widescreen. Generally this one looks pretty nice. There are some minor compression artifacts visible in the darker scenes but otherwise the image is pretty stable. Detail and color are improved from the DVD release and depth and texture are improved here as well. Skin tones look good and for the most part this is a solid effort from Severin that never tries to make this low budget slasher look like something that it's not.

    The only audio option on the disc is an English language LPCM 2.0 Mono track and it has a few scenes with some mild hiss but odds are pretty good that if you're not listening for them you won't notice them. Dialogue is typically clean and clear and the levels well balanced. The score gets a noticeable bump in quality here compared to the DVD release too, with a little more noticeable presence behind it.

    Extras are carried over from the previous DVD release and start off with a featurette called Don't Eat That Cake which is a ten minute interview with the film's leading lady, Lori Lethin, who speaks about her experiences making the film quite fondly. For some reason there's a creepy ventriloquist dummy behind her during the interview - yikes! - but this is definitely a good little look back at the making of the movie. She talks about her co-stars, including Julie Brown, and about the kids themselves as well as some of the movie's themes. The film's director, Ed Hunt, is also interviewed for a lengthy fifty-one minutes. It's an audio only interview and Ed's thoughts on the film play out over top of the same still taken on the set, so it's not the most visually impressive thing you're ever going to see but it's great to hear from him even if the audio clarity here isn't so hot. At any rate, technical quirks aside, the interview is a good one as Ed talks about what was and wasn't acceptable as far as the script goes, working with the child actors, working with the adult actors and more.

    Severin has also included a fifteen minute featurette entitled A Brief History Of Slasher Films that starts off with some input from Adam Rockoff who wrote Going To Pieces: The Rise And Fall Of The Slasher Film who traces the genre's origins back to Hitchcock's Psycho before discussing the influence of Bava's Bay Of Blood on films like Friday The 13th and their subsequent knock offs. He talks about most of the high points in the genre, like Black Christmas and Halloween before going into some of the finer points of more obscure slashers, such as Bloody Birthday, Bloody Moon, Maniac, Pieces and plenty more before moving onto modern slashers like Scream and Rob Zombie's stupid Halloween remake. It's a clip heavy interview but one that fans of the genre will enjoy as it uses some nice poster art and VHS art throughout its running time.

    Rounding out the extras are an Easter egg which, when clicked, plays the film's trailer (It's in rough shape and looking like a Youtube rip but better to have it here than not to), trailers for a few other Severin releases (The Baby, Bloody Moon, Nightmares and Horror Express), static menus and chapter selection. Unfortunately the interview with the film's producer, Max Rosenberg, that was included on the VCI disc is not included on this Severin release.

    The Final Word:

    Bloody Birthday holds up well as a very fine killer kid film with some cool murder set pieces, even cooler boobs and plenty of entertainment value. The Blu-ray carries over all of the extras from the special edition DVD release that came out a few years ago and offers a nice upgrade in picture and sound quality.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!































      Posting comments is disabled.

    Latest Articles

    Collapse

    • The Jackie Chan Collection Vol. 1 1976 – 1982 (Shout! Factory) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Shout! Factory
      Released on: January 24th, 2023.
      Director: Lo Wei, Chen Chi-Hwa, Lo Wei, Chen Chi-Hwa, Lo Wei, Robert Clouse, Jackie Chan
      Cast: Jackie Chan, Jimmy Wang Yu, Hsu Feng, Nora Miao, James Tien, Kristine DeBell, José Ferrer, Shirley Yim
      Year: 1976/1976/1977/1978/1979/1980/1982
      Purchase From Amazon

      The Jackie Chan Collection Vol. 1 – Movie Review:

      Shout! Factory brings together seven films featuring the legendary
      ...
      01-27-2023, 07:06 PM
    • Home Grown Horrors Volume Two (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
      Released on: November 25th, 2022.
      Director: Jimmy Lee, Michael S. O'Rourke, Dennis Devine
      Cast: Barry Wyatt, Jake Henry, Francine Lapensée, Blake Gibbons, Ingrid Vold, John Marzilli, Tom Hamil, Diana Karanikas, Angela Eads, Kay Schaber
      Year: 1989/1989/1990
      Purchase From Amazon

      Home Grown Horrors Volume Two – Movie Review:

      Vinegar Syndrome second Home Grown Horrors collection assembles three films
      ...
      01-27-2023, 06:54 PM
    • Attack Of The Beast Creatures (AGFA) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: AGFA
      Released on: February 28th, 2023.
      Director: Mike Stanley
      Cast: Robert Nolfi, Julia Rust, Robert Lengyel, Lisa Pak, Frank Murgalo, John Vichiola
      Year: 1985
      Purchase From Amazon

      Attack Of The Beast Creatures – Movie Review:

      In May of 1920, somewhere in the North Atlantic, a ship that is not the Titanic but very much like the Titanic goes down. A few survivors manage to make their way into a life board and a short
      ...
      01-23-2023, 11:52 AM
    • The Invisible Maniac (Vinegar Syndrome) UHD/Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
      Released on: November 25th, 2022.
      Director: Adam Rifkin as Rif Coogan
      Cast: Noel Peters, Shannon Wilsey, Stephanie Blake, Melissa Moore, Clement von Franckenstein, Rod Sweitzer, Debra Lamb, Marilyn Adams, Savannah
      Year: 1990
      Purchase From Amazon

      The Invisible Maniac – Movie Review:

      Directed by Adam Rifkin, credited as Rif Coogan, 1990’s The Invisible Maniac, opens with a scene where a psychiatrist
      ...
      01-20-2023, 06:53 PM
    • Don’t Deliver Us From Evil (Mondo Macabro) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Mondo Macabro
      Released on: February 7th, 2023.
      Director: Joël Séria
      Cast: Jeanne Goupil, Catherine Wagener, Gerard Darrieu, Bernard Dheran, Michel Robin
      Year: 1970
      Purchase From Amazon

      Don’t Deliver Us From Evil – Movie Review:

      Don't Deliver Us From Evil is a very loose adaptation of the notorious story of Pauline Parker and Juliet Hammond, the two murderous maids who also inspired Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures
      ...
      01-18-2023, 01:32 PM
    • Freeway (Vinegar Syndrome) UHD/Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
      Released on: November 25th, 2022.
      Director: Matthew Bright
      Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Kiefer Sutherland, Brooke Shields, Dan Hedaya, Brittany Murphy, Amanda Plummer
      Year: 1996
      Purchase From Amazon

      Freeway – Movie Review:

      Written and directed by Matthew Bright, 1996’s Freeway tales the story of a high school student named Vanessa Lutz (Reese Witherspoon) who lives with her crack smoking prostitute
      ...
      01-17-2023, 06:31 PM
    Working...
    X