Happy Birthday To Me Blu Ray Review (Mill Creek Entertainment)
Happy Birthday to Me is a 1981 slasher film directed by J. Lee Thompson (Cape Fear, 10 to Midnight, The Guns of Navarone, & Conquest of the Planet of the Apes/Battle for the Planet of the Apes). J. Lee Thompson was mainly known as Charles Bronson’s personal director in his later years. They had several collaborations such as Death Wish 4: The Crackdown, The Evil That Men Do, Messenger of Death, Murphy’s Law, Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects, & others. It was part of the Video Nasty list in the United Kingdom. Columbia Pictures spent as much money as it cost to make on promotion after the success of Friday the 13th. It was the highest grossing Canadian film until Porky’s. From the same producers as 1981’s My Bloody Valentine, André Link (Shivers, Rabid, & My Bloody Valentine 3D) & John Dunning (Satan’s Sabbath, The House by the Lake, & Meatballs 1/3).
Virginia “Ginny” Wainwright (played by: Melissa Sue Anderson from Little House on the Prairie, Survival of Dana, Midnight Offerings, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, & Dead Men Don’t Die) has it all. She is pretty, popular, & a member of the elite “Top Ten” group. They usually meet up at the Silent Woman Tavern. “Top Ten” member Bernadette O’Hara (played by: Lesleh Donaldson from Curtains, Deadly Eyes, Funeral Home, & Star Wars: Droids / Ewoks) doesn’t show up one night. They play a game of chicken after leaving the bar & it traumatizes Virginia. The other members of the “Top Ten” include Ann Thomerson (played by: Tracey E. Bregman from The Bold and the Beautiful & The Young and the Restless), Alfred Morris (played by: Jack Blum from East End Hustle, Meatballs, Hog Wild, & Self Defense), Steve Maxwell (played by: Matt Craven from Jacob’s Ladder, A Few Good Men, Crimson Tide, & Indian Summer), Etienne Vercures (played by: Michel-René Labelle from Ilsa the Tigress of Siberia & Fantastica), Greg Hellman (played by: Richard Rebiere from Visiting Hours, Heavenly Bodies, & Adventures in Babysitting), Maggie (played by: Lenore Zann from Visiting Hours, American Nightmare, Murder by Phone, & X-Men TV Series), Rudi (played by: David Eisner from Phobia, Hangin’ In, To Catch a Killer, & Bless the Child), & Amelia (played by: Lisa Langlois from Class of 1984, Transformations, Phobia, & The Nest).
Virginia goes to her psychiatrist, Dr. David Faraday (played by: Glenn Ford from Superman, Raw Nerve, Experiment in Terror, & 3:10 to Yuma) for help. She has flashbacks from her past & starts to remember things. She lives her father Hal Wainwright (played by: Lawrence Dane from Scanners, Bride of Chucky, Rolling Vengeance, Darkman II, & Rituals) & tries to cope with her problems. All of her friends go missing one by one, the weird Alfred Morris is the main suspect. She’s trying to plan her birthday party around all this chaos, who will actually show up to it????
Happy Birthday to Me is well written, it has a real good cast, & it has a KILLER score!!!! It’s definitely one of the best slashers made in the 80s & that’s saying A LOT considering that’s when all the quality ones were being made. It has some slick twist & turns that will keep you on the edge until the very end. It really has an American giallo vibe to it with the mysterious black glove killer through the whole production. The kills are all different from each other, they are well executed & it has it some top notch special effects. The gore will satisfy any dedicated horror fan, it actually has a great story to it. The final act is amazing, it has a creative set up to all the madness here! It’s one of my personal favorites when it comes to 80s horror & the replay value is still very strong even after knowing the secrets from the feature. HIGHLY recommended to 80s horror, slasher, & films with twist fans!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Mill Creek Entertainment! This 1080p (1.85:1) transfer is much better the previous double feature blu ray with “When a Strangers Calls” & a 4 pack release. It’s also a huge upgrade compared to the other DVDs before this new retro VHS release. It’s the first time it’s been available solo in the U.S. at it’s highest quality. The English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track sounds better than ever on this disc! The top notch score & soundtrack has a nice boost to it. It includes English SDH subtitles.It has no extras on it but it does have a limited edition retro VHS style slipcover. Mill Creek Entertainment offers a cheap & affordable blu ray that will hold up with some of the greatest slashers that were ever made in your collection. It’s available right now at Walmart exclusively & everywhere else starting on January 15th, check it out!!!!