John Ary here with another installment of Ain’t It Scary Reviews. Today, a trio of miniature psychopaths celebrate their birthdays with a string of murders.
Bloody Birthday is a fun slasher flick from the early 80’s that features three kids as the killers. It’s a nice spin on a genre convention that by this time had begun to hit its plateau.
10 years earlier our child slashers were born on the same night during a rare eclipse. Apparently, when the sun and moon block Saturn, newborns lose the ability feel empathy and later become sociopaths. Our three little murderers begin a killing spree, first starting with the local teenagers and moving on to the adults. No one is safe. When a high school senior and her little brother catch on to their plan, they become the killers’ next target.
The filmmakers judiciously plant the kill scenes throughout the picture. As soon as things begin to slow down, it’s time for another death. I like how just about everyone is a target. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old. That’s one of the great things about early 80’s horror movies. Kids in peril. Just because you were a child didn’t mean you life wasn’t at risk. It adds tension and brings a bit more gravity to horror scenarios like this. I also like how the three bad guys have no redeeming qualities about them at all. These kids are ruthless. They may be cute on the outside, but their hearts are black.
You’ll have to suspend your disbelief on a few plot points. How these small kids could kill an adult and then move the body without leaving much forensic evidence is a mystery in itself. Plus, it’s never explained why the three kids start up their murder rampage in the first place. Why now? Also, all of the deaths happen pretty quick. I think there were like 7 murders in span of two or three days. These kids stay busy.
The performances are haunting from the three little psychopaths, especially Billy Jacoby. He was a staple of after school specials and teen comedies in the 80s and early 90s. There are points in the movie you just want to punch the little maniac in the face, he’s such a creep. The little girl is great too as the face of the group. She has all of the adults wrapped around her little finger. Then there’s the blond boy. I’m not really sure what he brings to the crew. I guess he’s more of the muscle, assisting where he’s needed?
In a horror landscape filled with Jasons, Michael Meyers, Leatherfaces, and other everyday psychos, it’s refreshing to see a different kind of slasher. These three kids provide a strong foundation to movie filled with solid kills, good pacing and a deviant spirit.
Bloody Birthday is streaming on Netflix. It’s also available on a DVD here.
Check back in tomorrow for another Ain’t It Scary Review as Dario Argento helps define a subgenre of horror.
Here’s a look back at the Ain’t It Scary Review installments that you might have missed:
The Ground Rules to the Project
#1 Son of Frankenstein
#2 Scream, Blacula, Scream!
#3 Black Sabbath
#5 Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
#6 Invisible Invaders
#7 The Mummy’s Curse
#8 Lord of Illusions
#9 Night of the Demons
#10 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
#11 The House of the Devil
#12 Dr. Phibes Rises Again!
#14 The Catman of Paris
#17 Werewolf of London
#18 Tales from the Hood
#19 The Keep
#20 The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog
#22 Night of the Living Dead
#23 Pit and the Pendulum
#24 Tucker and Dale vs Evil
#25 The Stuff
#26 Creature from the Black Lagoon
#27 Planet of the Vampires
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