Children in slasher movies are a touchy subject, and when the kids in the neighborhood aren’t aright and start a killing spree, Ed Hunt’s Bloody Birthday shows how far you can go.
(USA 1981, director: Ed Hunt)
When three children are born under a foreboding total eclipse, years later a series of murders start happening.
Unlike Stephen King’s Children of the Corn, the setting is urban, while the uneasiness of isolation is replaced by scary mundane life, surrounded by many people becoming potential victims. Despite the hinted supernatural element at the beginning, the motivation behind the killings remains mysterious, which makes it even more unnerving to watch these children kill and hide their evil deeds.
Generally, the murder sequences aren’t that shocking nowadays, but some are surprisingly brutal, even without much blood being spilled. At times they’re just as gruesome as the nudity scenes are gratuitous. And maybe that’s the problem of the movie: the material is controversial, the execution is routinely done, but the characters themselves are pretty uninteresting, while suspense is often only present because of the anticipation of the next murder (something so many slasher movies have done before and after) and less because of genuine fear for the characters. This has more to do with no real heroes or heroines being seen for most of its running time, and when they do finally show up, it’s too late to make them memorable.
However, Bloody Birthday has an undeniably twisted charm to it, while the children are at times genuinely scary. This might have to do with often amateurish performances (also of the adult actors), but one nevertheless can’t shake the feeling that despite some illogical scenes (where the children seem to have supernatural strength, or their victims are too stupid to react), this feels just as unsettling as it did back in the 80ies, making it a recommendable horror flick.
The 88 Films BD release is another great HD remaster with often very good picture quality and despite the mono track satisfying sound. What’s of course also interesting is the bunch of special features, including trailers, interviews, audio commentary and the A Brief History of Slasher Movies featurette. The alternative cover art with a booklet is also worth mentioning, making this a strong package.
If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every Facebook LIKE or comment is appreciated :).
Using one of the Amazon links and buying the products also helps ;).