BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
There’s a solar eclipse this Friday. There’s also a visible green comet streaking across the skies. It will, in addition, also be a full moon that night. If you are a teacher, get a substitute. If you are elsewhere in the public sphere, know that the only safe place will be under the covers that night.
Speaking of triple threats, anyone remember Bloody Birthday and the trio of murderous kids at its center? If you’ve ever seen poor little Timmy Russel (played by K.C. Martel from The Amityville Horror) get locked in a discarded fridge and fight to keep his last breath or witnessed his sister, Joyce (Lori Lethin from The Prey), get chased by a vehicle with a white-sheeted “ghost” behind the wheel, you aren’t likely to forget who is responsible. The three killers at the heart of this horror film are disturbing and completely unhinged. They are also merely kids. How fucked up is that?
It seems more than appropriate - considering this triple threat sky phenomenon - to bring up a little known horror flick from 1981 about three 10-year-old killers, all born prematurely during a solar eclipse. Bloody Birthday is a not-so gentle reminder that sometimes even the cutest of children can be complete and utter assholes. Bloody Birthday is The Bad Seed times three.
Written and directed by Ed Hunt (The Brain, Diary Of A Sinner) and featuring performances from Michael Dudikoff (American Ninja), Susan Strasberg, and José Ferrer, this rarely seen straightforward slasher is as solid as they come. It’s unsettling, surprisingly authentic, and just all around nasty in its handling of three young children – child actors Elizabeth Hoy, Billy Jane, and Andy Freeman – and their murderous spree as they go to war with the adults, teachers, and peers in the neighborhood.
No on is safe because no one would suspect the youngest and cutest among them, but these kids – all sharing the same birthday – are of similar mind. And speaking of birthdays, if you think something is off with the cake frosting, you might want to check the rat poison bottles…
Even comedian (and MTV star) Julie Brown – who has a famously awesome striptease in the movie thanks to a peephole in her sister’s closet – and her va-va-voom figure are in harm’s way. Thank God then that none of these asshole kids own a pet. The killing – and we are talking bullets to the back and arrows to the eye here – is limited to the adults only.
Throughout all the violent ups and downs of the flick, Severin is there to uncover all the skin and sin with their immaculate 1080p HD transfer of the cult film. With only the opening suffering a bit from saturated crush (thanks to the heavy inky blacks of night), Bloody Birthday is indeed a finger-licking treat.
When it comes to B-minded horror, Bloody Birthday proves that you can have your cake and eat it, too.
MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 85 mins
Director: Ed Hunt
Writer: Ed Hunt, Barry Pearson
Cast: Lori Lethin, Melinda Cordell, Julie Brown
Genre: Horror | Thriller
Tagline: The Nightmare Begins with the Kids Next Door.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Debbie, clippings of murders? What are you, a little ghoulie?"
Theatrical Distributor: Rearguard Productions
Release Date: April 28, 1981
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: July 8, 2014
Synopsis: Get ready for the rarely seen slasher classic from the '80s that may also be the most disturbing 'killer kids' movies in grindhouse history: Three babies are simultaneously born in the same hospital at the peak of a full solar eclipse. Ten years later, these adorable youngsters suddenly begin a kiddie killing spree of stranglings, shootings, stabbings, beatings and beyond. Can the town's grown-ups stop these pint-sized serial killers before their blood-soaked birthday bash?
Home Video Distributor: Severin Films
Available on Blu-ray - July 8, 2014
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Audio: English: LPCM 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A, B
Featuring an engaged 1080p HD transfer from the original vault elements, Severin Films presents Bloody Birthday in a way it has never been seen before: with stunning clarity. Severin's 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.78:1 Blu-ray is impressively detailed and crisp, with more clarity to the proceedings than any other DVD release of the movie. Black levels are solid and daytime scenes are crisp. There is a new depth to the picture that – while limited – invites audiences to look closer at some of the shadows. An uncompressed LPCM 2.0 track provides the film’s audio. Originally released in 2014, this gem is a true find in the vaults of horror.
While highly recommended, it is sad that there are no commentaries for the film.
Included with this release is a 52-minute audio interview with the film’s director, an interview with Lori Lethin about her roles in B-movies, and a look at the history of the slasher in Hollyweird.
- Audio Interview With Director Ed Hunt (52 min)
- Don’t Eat That Cake! Interview With Star Lori Lethin (10 min)
- A Brief History Of Slasher Films Featurette (15 min)