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Happy Birthday to Me

Lawrence Dane , Frances Hyland , J. Lee Thompson    DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Happy Birthday to Me typifies the horror genre prior to the self-reflection and irony that saturated the genre in the late '80s and '90s. A solid cast, decent acting, a well-written script, and relatively high production values result in a solid movie that is engaging on its own in addition to offering a glimpse into the history of '80s horror. The plot follows the rules of the genre (later parodied in such films as the Scream and Scary Movie series). A number of teenagers (played by actors who appear visibly older than their characters) from an elite prep school get into mischievous sexual situations fueled by alcohol and pot smoking. As teens start to disappear, murdered in a variety of violent ways, the film suggests a number of suspects. Is the killer the troubled star played by Melissa Sue Anderson who lost her overbearing, social-climbing mother in a car accident that she survived? Or is it the stern school mistress, the wacky, cool social clown, the social misfit, or none of the above? The film keeps you guessing until the final scene. Happy Birthday is a must-see for serious fans of the horror genre and this release is a solid digital mastering of the movie. Hardcore fans should note that the DVD release was not able to secure the rights to the original soundtrack so this version features an alternate soundtrack of largely nondescript '80s electronic music. --Brian Saltzman

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Noirdame TOP 1000 REVIEWER
My feelings toward this film ranks both high and low on the scale of ambivalence. Obviously an attempt to cash in on the early 80s horror craze, it boasts unique murder scenes, a low budget (which can either benefit or derail the film, depending on what plot point is reached), and a surprise ending that no one but previous viewers will see coming. It's interesting to see Tracey Bregman, in her pre-soap days, as well as Canadian actor Matt Craven, practically immortalized as the young fellow pretty much impaled by a shish kabob.
Ginny's friends are systematically being knocked off in bizarre and brutal ways. Is she going off her rocker (she suffers from blackouts, due to her traumatic car accident which claimed the life of her mother), or is someone close to her committing the evil deeds? Her psychiatrist, David Faraday, attempts to assist her in unraveling her nightmare.
It's a pity that Glenn Ford was unable to find a better project to lure him back to his native Canadian soil. As he is usually a much better judge of scripts, it's a safe assumption that he was most likely in dire financial straits. The poor guy just looks lost - and who can find fault with him for that - although to his credit he tries to rise above the material, despite the atrocious dialogue he is often saddled with, and his character is sympathetic. But he never succeeds in looking comfortable, and in some scenes you can almost see that he's trying his mightiest not to fluster with embarrassment. And if you don't mind Miss Little House On The Praire seeming as if she's had a lobotomy in some sequences, you'll manage just fine. Melissa Sue Anderson's incandescent but sometimes vacant blue eyes make her ideal as the confused, helpless young heroine.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
Here is another horror movie classic. College kids like this one. Melissa Sue Anderson (Little house on the Prarie) and a gaggle of other university students are being killed one by one. Each one of the students are a little on the crazy side, so no telling whom the killer may be. Her mom had died. Eventually her dad and herself move back into town and the family house. "Virginia" is really down and bothered. But she is making friends in school and considers herself to be in the Top Ten. Cast also includes Tracy Bregman (Days Of Our Lives, Young and the Restless, Bold and the Beautiful) and Glenn Ford (Superman [1978]). Can you guess who the killer is? This RCA home video print is not too good. The color is faded. The film being Canadian might have something to do with that. But this is a good film worth watching and good acting from Melissa Sue Anderson.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars cheesy fun Jan. 7 2004
Format:VHS Tape
okay so it isn't the best movie ever but it's fun and funny. i liked it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good product! Jan. 21 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this movie. The only thing I didn't enjoy was the LONG postal delay to get it. It's not the vendors fault although I would have appreciated an expedited shipping option. The product itself did arrive and I can say that I would do business again with the vendor. Some of the best things require waiting!!
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