Bloody Birthday (1981) Review

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You know your horror movie might not be a classic when it’s remembered more for a nude scene featuring an MTV personality than any actual horror. This is the case with Bloody Birthday, a movie that’s fun to watch for the nostalgia element, but not for very much else.

The story centers around three little children: blonde ringleader Debbie, mischievous Curtis and moppet-haired Steven. These kids are very naughty indeed as it turns out they were born during a solar eclipse which apparently means they have no conscience and therefore have a predilection towards committing bloody murder. As their 10th birthday approaches, the trio decide to embark on a killing spree that encompasses the town. But as the bodies start piling up, local teenager Joyce (Lori Lethin) and her younger brother Timmy start to suspect the kids aren’t behaving themselves, and that they might be the next victims.

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Kids killing should be horrifying but this movie misses the mark in a variety of ways. The children aren’t so much terrifying as they are bratty. You really don’t fear them so much as want to put them in the corner and give them a stern talking to. Once more the film cops out with moments that could have been brutal. For example, there’s a scene where we see Curtis icing a cake for his birthday while holding a can of ant poison. Being that the whole town is there for the birthday celebration and everyone’s eating cake, this could have been quite a horrific scene. Instead it was just Curtis’ way of toying with Joyce, and the ant poison is never used at all, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

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Yes, there is blood, and more than a few death scenes. And yes, that is comedian Julie Brown, former MTV person and singer of such classics as “The Homecoming Queen’s Got a Gun” daring to bare it all as Debbie’s teenage sister. But despite the nudity and gore, Bloody Birthday plays more like an ABC Afternoon School Special than anything resembling true horror. Even the music seems like it came directly from a cheesy Made-for-TV movie.

People remember this film fondly from the title, but it really doesn’t deliver compared to some of the other 80s slashers. However, there are still a few moments of true suspense, and it’s an enjoyable enough romp, even though it isn’t scary in the least. Just don’t expect it to be the classic you remember it to be.

Rating: 5 out of 10

About the Author:  Cheryl thinks these naughty little children are in major need of a time-out. Hit her up on Twitter at @FeralCherylZ

5 thoughts on “Bloody Birthday (1981) Review

  1. I rented this movie from Netflix. My IMDb review called it the movie where Cyrano de Bergerac meets Hyman Roth’s daughter (whose character shares a name with the actress from “Doubt” and “The Help”).

  2. Just a month ago I was this close to blind purchasing the dvd for this based on the cover alone. Your review makes me so glad I changed my mind.

    1. It would be worth *one* watching, say a rental or if you stumble across it on On Demand – but yes, the cover is much more frightening than the movie. 🙂

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