BLOODY BIRTHDAY (director/writer: Ed Hunt; screenwriter: Barry Pearson; cinematographer: Stephen Posey; editor: Ann E. Mills; music: Arlon Ober; cast: Lori Lethin (Joyce Russel), Melinda Cordell (Mrs. Brody), Julie Brown (Beverly Brody), Joe Penny (Mr. Harding), Bert Kramer (Sheriff James Brody), K.C. Martel (Timmy Russel), Elizabeth Hoy (Debbie Brody), Billy Jacoby (Curtis Taylor), Andy Freeman (Steven Seton), Susan Strasberg (Miss Viola Davis), Jose Ferrer (Doctor); Runtime: 92; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Gerald T. Olson; VCI Home Video; 1981)
“A time-waster tasteless horror flick, with no redeeming social values.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A time-waster tasteless horror flick, with no redeeming social values. Director Ed Hunt (“Alien Warrior”/”The Brain”/”Starship Invasions“) is co-writer withBarry Pearson of this thoughtless exploitative bloody ‘killer kid’ slasher pic that’s worse than the typical ’80s horror film. It’s a low-rent riff on Bad Seed (1956).
In 1970, in the serene all-white suburban Meadowvale, California, a doctor (Jose Ferrer) at Meadowvale General Hospital delivers three babies during a total eclipse of the sun. It then picks up in 1980, and we view a young couple necking in the Meadowvale cemetery who are viciously killed by three children. These three 10-year-olds, Debbie Brody (Elizabeth Hoy), Curtis Taylor (Billy Jacoby), and Steven Seton (Andy Freeman), are the same children born during the eclipse. We’re told some nonsense that because the sun and the moon were blocking Saturn, which controls emotions, human feelings were blocked out of their personalities and is the reason they go on a killing spree.
The three tykes, looking like angels, murder Debbie’s sheriff father (Bert Kramer), and make it look like an accident; the trio brutally kill another couple necking in their van; they slay their strict elementary school teacher (Susan Strasberg); Debbie kills her sexy older high school sister (Julie Brown) by shooting an arrow into her eye through a hole in sis’s closet, where she previously charged the boys a quarter to watch her undress; and, finally the kids run out of luck, as they try but fail to kill their astrology following high school babysitter Joyce (Lori Lethin) and her 10-year-old brother Timmy (K.C. Martel). The boys get arrested but Debbie’s grief-stricken mom (Melinda Cordell) flees with her little devil in tow.
The creepy ‘killer kids’ are unpleasant to watch in action (though they give outstanding performances), but are not necessarily horror pic scary. The violence includes using a rope for strangulation, a revolver, a baseball bat, a bow-and-arrow, a discarded refrigerator to lock in a vic, and trying to run over a vic with an automobile. None of it was believable or entertaining, but it follows the formula of the usual ’80s horror pic.
REVIEWED ON 7/25/2011 GRADE: C-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ