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If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “Out of that early wave
of slashers, BLOODY BIRTHDAY doesn’t get nearly enough attention,” you’re
While admittedly silly, BLOODY BIRTHDAY, out today on DVD
from Severin Films, has it all: killer kids, astrological explanations, the
requisite post-HALLOWEEN steals, a fast pace and a high body count. It’s the
rare early-’80s slasher that still retains the sense of fun many claim to have
felt on first viewing, and it’s all thanks to the perfect performances put in
by its three little devils.
The film sees a trio of children in a small suburb all born
on the same day, during an eclipse. Ten years later, their joint birthday party
is approaching—and their murderous appetites are growing. As Joyce Russell
(Lori Lethin), the astrology-obsessed high-school gal and lone accuser of the
villainous trio, ridiculously explains, the eclipse done left Debbie (Elizabeth
Hoy), Curtis (Billy Jacoby) and Steven (Andy Freeman) emotionless and
Pouncing on their urges, and avoiding the suspicion of most
everyone thanks to their age and fresh faces, the three bypass both subtlety
and sneakiness, going for it in spectacular fashion as they dispatch two teens
making out in an open grave (of course!) with a jump rope and taking down
Debbie’s sheriff dad in broad daylight, to name two. Curtis, however, is
undeniably the smoothest of the pack. He struts along in his Barracuda jacket,
revolver in tow, like no other 10-year-old on the block. In a grand display of
showmanship, he attempts both a vehicular rundown and doing away with all his
party’s guests via poisonous cake. Jacoby’s smug turn is a child performance to
be treasured, for sure.
For those already endeared to BLOODY BIRTHDAY’s many
highpoints, the question with Severin’s brand new special edition will be how
it compares to those already available. Transfer-wise, it blows VCI’s previous
disc out of the water, giving you a much clearer presentation—plus, the fact
that it contains any special features at all already one-ups that previous
release. The first supplement is a video interview with actress Lethin, who is
good-humored about the film and seems to remember her time on the production
fondly, making for a light and fun bit of remembrance.
The same cannot be said for the 50-minute audio-only
interview with director Ed Hunt, who takes up a very small amount of that time
discussing BLOODY BIRTHDAY itself. With the distinct air of not looking back on
the film with much appreciation (what?!), Hunt mostly, and dryly, discusses
much of his other work. While interesting at times—especially in relation to
his interest in science fiction and the accuracy of his alien films in relation
to the famous Roswell incidents—it gets to be a bit much, especially with only
one image on screen the entire time. The final feature is, as titled, “A Brief
History of Slashers,” by GOING TO PIECES author Adam Rockoff. It’s a quick and
worthwhile tutorial, despite some of the onscreen posters and other visual aids
not matching up with the particular films being discussed.
Despite the DVD not knocking it out of the park
features-wise, the treat here is having a brand new and good-looking way to
introduce friends to, and shed some much-deserved love upon, BLOODY BIRTHDAY.
It’s not exactly a scarefest, but the film is trashy, at times hilariously
mean-spirited (these kids can really whale on folks) and truly is a killer-kids
entry to be remembered. Seriously, do eat the cake.
DVD/ Blu-ray Reviews
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