April 4, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me (1981)

As we approach our first birthday party, it's time to remind ourselves of the one true birthday horrorfest: Happy Birthday to Me! Released in the same year as My Bloody Valentine (1981), this film also got heavily hit by the censorship board for the gruesome deaths included and had a twist ending just because the producers felt it needed one. Regarded as cult classic, what particularly stands out about Happy Birthday to Me is how well it sits at the peak of the slasher genre next to the original Friday the 13th and Halloween 2 for pure joy of cutting and dicing while covering the required tropes in the manner of the most gleeful exploitation flicks. Just look at that trailer, ladies and gentlemen! It screams "Rock on!" all the way through and it's no surprise at all that Eli Roth chose it as the basis for his mock trailer Thanksgiving in the Grindhouse project. Now, of course Happy Birthday to Me is neither smart nor revealing in any way except maybe as a sign of the times it was made in, but trust you me: if there's one old school pick you really need for your Saturday night matinee, this must be it. Oh, and one cool trivia I got from the allmighty IMDB:

Most ads and posters for the film carried a photo of a young man about to be orally impaled with a skewer of meat and vegetables, with the slogan "John Will Never Eat Shish Kebab Again." However, there is no character in the movie with this name.


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