Bloody Birthday


1h 25m 1981
Bloody Birthday

Brief Synopsis

Three children born at the height of a total eclipse become heartless killers.

Film Details

Genre
Horror
Release Date
1981

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m

Synopsis

Three babies are born in the same town within minutes of each other during a lunar eclipse. Because of the alignment of the planets at this time, the children are born with no conscience or compassion. On the year of their tenth birthday, this defect in their characters is beginning to be acted out in gruesome ways.

Film Details

Genre
Horror
Release Date
1981

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m

Articles

The Gist (Bloody Birthday) - THE GIST


Somewhat lost amid the glut of "slasher" movies so popular at the time, Bloody Birthday (1981) could be more accurately described as an example of a more uncommon niche of the horror film genre - the Killer Kid movie. Taking some of its cues from the Granddaddy of all Killer Kid movies, Mervyn LeRoy's The Bad Seed (1956), and from the British science fiction classic Village of the Damned (1960), Bloody Birthday (co-written and directed by Ed Hunt) eventually settles into familiar "slasher" tropes and occupies the same mostly undistinguished territory as such contemporaries as The Burning, Hell Night, Happy Birthday to Me, The Funhouse, Eyes of a Stranger, My Bloody Valentine, and The Prowler (all also released in 1981).

Starting with a premise based more in fantasy and superstition than science fiction, we are shown a flashback to a blustery day in 1970, when a doctor (Jose Ferrer in an extended cameo) at Meadowvale General Hospital delivers three babies during a solar eclipse. The scene shifts to present day (1980), and a young amorous couple who seek some privacy to make love in a cemetery (never a good idea). The couple is killed via shovel and jump rope, wielded by the three "eclipse" babies, now ten-year-old killers: Debbie Brody (Elizabeth Hoy), Curtis Taylor (Billy Jacoby), and Steven Seton (Andy Freeman). James Brody (Bert Kramer), the town Sheriff, investigates, not realizing that his own daughter is one of the culprits. Giving a talk at the Elementary School, he asks, "Does anybody know what the word 'murder' means?" His daughter Debbie answers, "It's when someone kills someone - like on TV." As the children dispatch more and more suburban neighbors, the trio of tykes is watched carefully by Astrology fan Joyce Russel (Lori Lethin) and her little brother Timmy (K.C. Martel). Joyce theorizes that the eclipse in 1970 involved blockage of the planet Saturn, which created emotionless killing machines.

Director Ed Hunt (who also wrote and directed the regrettable Starship Invasions [1977]) wisely keeps the tone of Bloody Birthday decidedly straight-faced. Any hint of tongue-in-cheek comedy or self-reflexive winking would destroy the main potential for scaring an audience; the filmmakers have to play upon the fact that sometimes little kids can be creepy. The movie also does not attempt to create a needlessly dark world in the shadows. Instead, it makes the most of its natural setting and presents evil in sunny afternoons in a bright suburbia. The kid actors playing the terrible trio are effective, primarily because they look and act so normal -- fitting in at school and at home one minute, but conspiring to commit murder the next, even out of sheer convenience. For them, any handy object can be used as a murder weapon, including a baseball bat, a bow-and-arrow, a discarded refrigerator, or a junkyard car. Perhaps most disturbing, especially from our post-Columbine vantage point, is the casualness with which a handgun is toted around and put to use by the kids, including in the kitchen at school.

In addition to the "Special Appearance" (as the billing in the credits appears) in Bloody Birthday of Jose Ferrer, the cast of mostly unknown actors sports two other surprises. Susan Strasberg pops up in a rather thankless role as Miss Davis, a bitchy schoolteacher who rubs the terrible trio the wrong way; she may as well have worn a target on her back. Appearing in the "best friend" role is Julie Brown as Beverly (who is also the older sister of Debbie - the tyke collects quarters so that her little friends can watch Beverly undress through a peephole in the closet). Julie Brown would later become a 1980s icon as the writer-actress known for MTV's Just Say Julie (1989) series and for the cult comedy Earth Girls Are Easy (1988); while none of her comedic skills are on display in Bloody Birthday, her other charms are in full view thanks to an extended nude scene.

Producer: Gerald T. Olson
Director: Ed Hunt
Screenplay: Ed Hunt, Barry Pearson
Cinematography: Stephen Posey
Art Direction: Lynda Burbank, J. Rae Fox
Music: Arlon Ober
Film Editing: Ann E. Mills
Cast: Lori Lethin (Joyce Russel), Melinda Cordell (Mrs. Brody), Julie Brown (Beverly Brody), Joe Penny (Mr. Harding), Bert Kramer (Sheriff James Brody), K.C. Martel (Timmy Russel), Elizabeth Hoy (Debbie Brody), Billy Jacoby (Curtis Taylor), Andy Freeman (Steven Seton), Susan Strasberg (Miss Viola Davis), Jose Ferrer (Doctor)
C-92m.

by John M. Miller

The Gist (Bloody Birthday) - The Gist

The Gist (Bloody Birthday) - THE GIST

Somewhat lost amid the glut of "slasher" movies so popular at the time, Bloody Birthday (1981) could be more accurately described as an example of a more uncommon niche of the horror film genre - the Killer Kid movie. Taking some of its cues from the Granddaddy of all Killer Kid movies, Mervyn LeRoy's The Bad Seed (1956), and from the British science fiction classic Village of the Damned (1960), Bloody Birthday (co-written and directed by Ed Hunt) eventually settles into familiar "slasher" tropes and occupies the same mostly undistinguished territory as such contemporaries as The Burning, Hell Night, Happy Birthday to Me, The Funhouse, Eyes of a Stranger, My Bloody Valentine, and The Prowler (all also released in 1981). Starting with a premise based more in fantasy and superstition than science fiction, we are shown a flashback to a blustery day in 1970, when a doctor (Jose Ferrer in an extended cameo) at Meadowvale General Hospital delivers three babies during a solar eclipse. The scene shifts to present day (1980), and a young amorous couple who seek some privacy to make love in a cemetery (never a good idea). The couple is killed via shovel and jump rope, wielded by the three "eclipse" babies, now ten-year-old killers: Debbie Brody (Elizabeth Hoy), Curtis Taylor (Billy Jacoby), and Steven Seton (Andy Freeman). James Brody (Bert Kramer), the town Sheriff, investigates, not realizing that his own daughter is one of the culprits. Giving a talk at the Elementary School, he asks, "Does anybody know what the word 'murder' means?" His daughter Debbie answers, "It's when someone kills someone - like on TV." As the children dispatch more and more suburban neighbors, the trio of tykes is watched carefully by Astrology fan Joyce Russel (Lori Lethin) and her little brother Timmy (K.C. Martel). Joyce theorizes that the eclipse in 1970 involved blockage of the planet Saturn, which created emotionless killing machines. Director Ed Hunt (who also wrote and directed the regrettable Starship Invasions [1977]) wisely keeps the tone of Bloody Birthday decidedly straight-faced. Any hint of tongue-in-cheek comedy or self-reflexive winking would destroy the main potential for scaring an audience; the filmmakers have to play upon the fact that sometimes little kids can be creepy. The movie also does not attempt to create a needlessly dark world in the shadows. Instead, it makes the most of its natural setting and presents evil in sunny afternoons in a bright suburbia. The kid actors playing the terrible trio are effective, primarily because they look and act so normal -- fitting in at school and at home one minute, but conspiring to commit murder the next, even out of sheer convenience. For them, any handy object can be used as a murder weapon, including a baseball bat, a bow-and-arrow, a discarded refrigerator, or a junkyard car. Perhaps most disturbing, especially from our post-Columbine vantage point, is the casualness with which a handgun is toted around and put to use by the kids, including in the kitchen at school. In addition to the "Special Appearance" (as the billing in the credits appears) in Bloody Birthday of Jose Ferrer, the cast of mostly unknown actors sports two other surprises. Susan Strasberg pops up in a rather thankless role as Miss Davis, a bitchy schoolteacher who rubs the terrible trio the wrong way; she may as well have worn a target on her back. Appearing in the "best friend" role is Julie Brown as Beverly (who is also the older sister of Debbie - the tyke collects quarters so that her little friends can watch Beverly undress through a peephole in the closet). Julie Brown would later become a 1980s icon as the writer-actress known for MTV's Just Say Julie (1989) series and for the cult comedy Earth Girls Are Easy (1988); while none of her comedic skills are on display in Bloody Birthday, her other charms are in full view thanks to an extended nude scene. Producer: Gerald T. Olson Director: Ed Hunt Screenplay: Ed Hunt, Barry Pearson Cinematography: Stephen Posey Art Direction: Lynda Burbank, J. Rae Fox Music: Arlon Ober Film Editing: Ann E. Mills Cast: Lori Lethin (Joyce Russel), Melinda Cordell (Mrs. Brody), Julie Brown (Beverly Brody), Joe Penny (Mr. Harding), Bert Kramer (Sheriff James Brody), K.C. Martel (Timmy Russel), Elizabeth Hoy (Debbie Brody), Billy Jacoby (Curtis Taylor), Andy Freeman (Steven Seton), Susan Strasberg (Miss Viola Davis), Jose Ferrer (Doctor) C-92m. by John M. Miller

Bloody Birthday


Somewhat lost amid the glut of "slasher" movies so popular at the time, Bloody Birthday (1981) could be more accurately described as an example of a more uncommon niche of the horror film genre - the Killer Kid movie. Taking some of its cues from the Granddaddy of all Killer Kid movies, Mervyn LeRoy's The Bad Seed (1956), and from the British science fiction classic Village of the Damned (1960), Bloody Birthday (co-written and directed by Ed Hunt) eventually settles into familiar "slasher" tropes and occupies the same mostly undistinguished territory as such contemporaries as The Burning, Hell Night, Happy Birthday to Me, The Funhouse, Eyes of a Stranger, My Bloody Valentine, and The Prowler (all also released in 1981).

Starting with a premise based more in fantasy and superstition than science fiction, we are shown a flashback to a blustery day in 1970, when a doctor (Jose Ferrer in an extended cameo) at Meadowvale General Hospital delivers three babies during a solar eclipse. The scene shifts to present day (1980), and a young amorous couple who seek some privacy to make love in a cemetery (never a good idea). The couple is killed via shovel and jump rope, wielded by the three "eclipse" babies, now ten-year-old killers: Debbie Brody (Elizabeth Hoy), Curtis Taylor (Billy Jacoby), and Steven Seton (Andy Freeman). James Brody (Bert Kramer), the town Sheriff, investigates, not realizing that his own daughter is one of the culprits. Giving a talk at the Elementary School, he asks, "Does anybody know what the word 'murder' means?" His daughter Debbie answers, "It's when someone kills someone - like on TV." As the children dispatch more and more suburban neighbors, the trio of tykes is watched carefully by Astrology fan Joyce Russel (Lori Lethin) and her little brother Timmy (K.C. Martel). Joyce theorizes that the eclipse in 1970 involved blockage of the planet Saturn, which created emotionless killing machines.

Director Ed Hunt (who also wrote and directed the regrettable Starship Invasions [1977]) wisely keeps the tone of Bloody Birthday decidedly straight-faced. Any hint of tongue-in-cheek comedy or self-reflexive winking would destroy the main potential for scaring an audience; the filmmakers have to play upon the fact that sometimes little kids can be creepy. The movie also does not attempt to create a needlessly dark world in the shadows. Instead, it makes the most of its natural setting and presents evil in sunny afternoons in a bright suburbia. The kid actors playing the terrible trio are effective, primarily because they look and act so normal -- fitting in at school and at home one minute, but conspiring to commit murder the next, even out of sheer convenience. For them, any handy object can be used as a murder weapon, including a baseball bat, a bow-and-arrow, a discarded refrigerator, or a junkyard car. Perhaps most disturbing, especially from our post-Columbine vantage point, is the casualness with which a handgun is toted around and put to use by the kids, including in the kitchen at school.

In addition to the "Special Appearance" (as the billing in the credits appears) in Bloody Birthday of Jose Ferrer, the cast of mostly unknown actors sports two other surprises. Susan Strasberg pops up in a rather thankless role as Miss Davis, a bitchy schoolteacher who rubs the terrible trio the wrong way; she may as well have worn a target on her back. Appearing in the "best friend" role is Julie Brown as Beverly (who is also the older sister of Debbie - the tyke collects quarters so that her little friends can watch Beverly undress through a peephole in the closet). Julie Brown would later become a 1980s icon as the writer-actress known for MTV's Just Say Julie (1989) series and for the cult comedy Earth Girls Are Easy (1988); while none of her comedic skills are on display in Bloody Birthday, her other charms are in full view thanks to an extended nude scene.

Producer: Gerald T. Olson
Director: Ed Hunt
Screenplay: Ed Hunt, Barry Pearson
Cinematography: Stephen Posey
Art Direction: Lynda Burbank, J. Rae Fox
Music: Arlon Ober
Film Editing: Ann E. Mills
Cast: Lori Lethin (Joyce Russel), Melinda Cordell (Mrs. Brody), Julie Brown (Beverly Brody), Joe Penny (Mr. Harding), Bert Kramer (Sheriff James Brody), K.C. Martel (Timmy Russel), Elizabeth Hoy (Debbie Brody), Billy Jacoby (Curtis Taylor), Andy Freeman (Steven Seton), Susan Strasberg (Miss Viola Davis), Jose Ferrer (Doctor)
C-92m.

by John M. Miller

Bloody Birthday

Somewhat lost amid the glut of "slasher" movies so popular at the time, Bloody Birthday (1981) could be more accurately described as an example of a more uncommon niche of the horror film genre - the Killer Kid movie. Taking some of its cues from the Granddaddy of all Killer Kid movies, Mervyn LeRoy's The Bad Seed (1956), and from the British science fiction classic Village of the Damned (1960), Bloody Birthday (co-written and directed by Ed Hunt) eventually settles into familiar "slasher" tropes and occupies the same mostly undistinguished territory as such contemporaries as The Burning, Hell Night, Happy Birthday to Me, The Funhouse, Eyes of a Stranger, My Bloody Valentine, and The Prowler (all also released in 1981). Starting with a premise based more in fantasy and superstition than science fiction, we are shown a flashback to a blustery day in 1970, when a doctor (Jose Ferrer in an extended cameo) at Meadowvale General Hospital delivers three babies during a solar eclipse. The scene shifts to present day (1980), and a young amorous couple who seek some privacy to make love in a cemetery (never a good idea). The couple is killed via shovel and jump rope, wielded by the three "eclipse" babies, now ten-year-old killers: Debbie Brody (Elizabeth Hoy), Curtis Taylor (Billy Jacoby), and Steven Seton (Andy Freeman). James Brody (Bert Kramer), the town Sheriff, investigates, not realizing that his own daughter is one of the culprits. Giving a talk at the Elementary School, he asks, "Does anybody know what the word 'murder' means?" His daughter Debbie answers, "It's when someone kills someone - like on TV." As the children dispatch more and more suburban neighbors, the trio of tykes is watched carefully by Astrology fan Joyce Russel (Lori Lethin) and her little brother Timmy (K.C. Martel). Joyce theorizes that the eclipse in 1970 involved blockage of the planet Saturn, which created emotionless killing machines. Director Ed Hunt (who also wrote and directed the regrettable Starship Invasions [1977]) wisely keeps the tone of Bloody Birthday decidedly straight-faced. Any hint of tongue-in-cheek comedy or self-reflexive winking would destroy the main potential for scaring an audience; the filmmakers have to play upon the fact that sometimes little kids can be creepy. The movie also does not attempt to create a needlessly dark world in the shadows. Instead, it makes the most of its natural setting and presents evil in sunny afternoons in a bright suburbia. The kid actors playing the terrible trio are effective, primarily because they look and act so normal -- fitting in at school and at home one minute, but conspiring to commit murder the next, even out of sheer convenience. For them, any handy object can be used as a murder weapon, including a baseball bat, a bow-and-arrow, a discarded refrigerator, or a junkyard car. Perhaps most disturbing, especially from our post-Columbine vantage point, is the casualness with which a handgun is toted around and put to use by the kids, including in the kitchen at school. In addition to the "Special Appearance" (as the billing in the credits appears) in Bloody Birthday of Jose Ferrer, the cast of mostly unknown actors sports two other surprises. Susan Strasberg pops up in a rather thankless role as Miss Davis, a bitchy schoolteacher who rubs the terrible trio the wrong way; she may as well have worn a target on her back. Appearing in the "best friend" role is Julie Brown as Beverly (who is also the older sister of Debbie - the tyke collects quarters so that her little friends can watch Beverly undress through a peephole in the closet). Julie Brown would later become a 1980s icon as the writer-actress known for MTV's Just Say Julie (1989) series and for the cult comedy Earth Girls Are Easy (1988); while none of her comedic skills are on display in Bloody Birthday, her other charms are in full view thanks to an extended nude scene. Producer: Gerald T. Olson Director: Ed Hunt Screenplay: Ed Hunt, Barry Pearson Cinematography: Stephen Posey Art Direction: Lynda Burbank, J. Rae Fox Music: Arlon Ober Film Editing: Ann E. Mills Cast: Lori Lethin (Joyce Russel), Melinda Cordell (Mrs. Brody), Julie Brown (Beverly Brody), Joe Penny (Mr. Harding), Bert Kramer (Sheriff James Brody), K.C. Martel (Timmy Russel), Elizabeth Hoy (Debbie Brody), Billy Jacoby (Curtis Taylor), Andy Freeman (Steven Seton), Susan Strasberg (Miss Viola Davis), Jose Ferrer (Doctor) C-92m. by John M. Miller

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1980

Released in United States 1980