Happy Birthday to Me (1981) Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review
Happy Birthday to Me is a fairly grim, but surprisingly unpredictable horror film. Some of the kill scenes are trimmed a little close for rating purposes, but the climax has some pretty gory after images of the kills if that sort of thing interests you.
A girl about to celebrate her 18th birthday is at the center of a series of grisly killings.
A shell shocked PTSD-addled high school senior named Virginia (Melissa Sue Anderson) is trying to fit into a new clique of friends at school while working out some issues she has after a terrible car accident claimed the life of her mother and left her with brain damage. Virginia has several trigger memories that set her in a psychotic state, and when several of her new friends are killed or declared missing, the campus is on edge when it is believed that there’s a killer on the loose. As the clues seem to point to Virginia as the killer, a new revelation that ties to her past are revealed in a shocking finale that is set around her 18th birthday party.
An unusually long slasher from J. Lee Thompson, a veteran filmmaker who’d worked many times with Charles Bronson and Cannon Films, Happy Birthday to Me is a fairly grim, but surprisingly unpredictable horror film. Some of the kill scenes are trimmed a little close for rating purposes, but the climax has some pretty gory after images of the kills if that sort of thing interests you. I’ve enjoyed this film over the years, and though all the actors portraying teenagers look like they could be pushing 30, it gives the movie a sense of maturity not found in contemporary slasher films.
Previously released on Blu-ray from Mill Creek, Happy Birthday to Me has just been reissued by Kino Lorber in a rock solid special edition release containing a high definition transfer that looks as good as it ever has. Newly produced bonus features include an audio commentary by the co-screenwriter, plus an interview with one of the supporting actors, as well as TV spots, radio spots, and the trailer.