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Happy Birthday to Me (1981)

 -  Horror | Mystery | Thriller  -  15 May 1981 (USA)
6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 4,640 users  
Reviews: 113 user | 101 critic

At the snobby Crawford Academy, Virginia's group of friends start to go missing years after horrible events that happened to her as a child around her birthday.

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(screenplay) (as John Saxton) , (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Sharon Acker ...
Frances Hyland ...
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Ann Thomerson (as Tracy Bregman)
Jack Blum ...
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David Eisner ...
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Michel-René Labelle ...
Etienne Vercures (as Michel Rene Labelle)
Richard Rebiere ...
Lesleh Donaldson ...
Earl Pennington ...
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Storyline

Virginia Wainwright is a spirited young woman who has returned to a private school having survived a deadly accident and regenerative brain surgery. She is proud that she belongs to the Top Ten - the school's inner circle with the best students - and attempts to resume a normal life. But her friends are falling prey to a grueling series of murders, and soon there will be no one left to attend her 18th birthday party. Could it be her? Striving to rekindle the memory of her nightmarish accident, Virginia suffers from memory loss and traumatic blackouts. We soon learn the horrible truth behind her accident and what is going on before her birthday party... Written by Joseph Henson <gzr@cdc.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Someone's having a party for the top ten, the senior class snobs. Before they get to celebrate, six of them will die in the most bizarre ways you'll ever see. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 May 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ab in die Ewigkeit  »

Box Office

Budget:

CAD 3,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the stanzas in the movie film posters says "Steven will never ride a motorcycle again" but this is incorrect because it is the character Etienne and not Steven who "gets his in the spokes" as show-business trade-paper "Variety" put it. See more »

Goofs

After the guy wins the bike race, the glove on his left hand vanishes. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mrs. Patterson: [to her attacking dog] Winston! Winston! Winston, just stop it, bad boy. Sit down. Sit!
Bernadette O'Hara: Oh, Mrs. Patterson.
Mrs. Patterson: Bernadette O'Hara, do you have any idea what time it is? Where are you going?
Bernadette O'Hara: Well, I, I was just going up to the village to meet some of the kids at the inn.
Mrs. Patterson: You mean the second home for the Crawford top 10, don't you?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Many Lives of Jason Voorhees (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Birthday to Me
Music by Lance Rubin
Lyrics by Molly-Ann Leikin
Performed by Syreeta
Courtesy of Motown Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Reasonable slasher with a silly finalé that takes the cake!
4 December 2008 | by (Hampshire, England) – See all my reviews

With seasoned pro J. Lee Thompson behind the camera, well known TV actress Melissa Sue Anderson in the lead role (hoping to make the transition from the small screen star to movie star), and veteran actor Glenn Ford giving able support, Canadian slasher Happy Birthday To Me is a far more competently made film than many of its contemporaries: the direction, cinematography, editing, lighting and acting are all top notch.

Unfortunately, it is this very slickness, along with the rather convoluted plot, lack of gore, and very silly finalé, that prevented this from being as enjoyable as I had hoped; I guess I just prefer my 80s slashers to be simpler, cheaper, nastier, and just a little more willing to shock!

Anderson plays Virginia Wainwright, newest member of the 'Top Ten', a clique of rich kids at exclusive private school, The Crawford Academy. After a game of chicken almost results in a terrible accident, Virginia begins to have flashbacks to a similar incident which claimed the life of her mother and left her with terrible injuries to her brain. When a gloved killer starts to stalk and kill the 'Top Ten', Virginia begins to wonder if she is the person responsible for the grisly murders...

Thompson, the director of highly regarded classic Cape Fear, puts his obvious skills to use, making the most of the silly script and delivering some well executed scenes of mayhem: the road race at the beginning wouldn't have looked out of place in a modern action movie, whilst the first death is worthy of an Argento giallo. However, the plot is so silly that even a skilled director like Thompson, with over thirty years experience, struggles to hold things together. The film eventually becomes a mess of disappointing gore-less deaths (the MPAA apparently cut some of the bloodier moments before its original release) and silly red herrings, and at times it also feels rather restrained (there is no nudity, despite there being the obligatory shower scene).

Thankfully, there is a sufficiently twisted ending, with the manky murder victims assembled around a table to take part in a macabre birthday party, although the final revelation is so daft that any suspense or terror is quickly dissipated.

After Happy Birthday To Me, Anderson returned to TV, Ford was given flack from critics for his appearance, and Thompson's career went downhill (King Solomon's Mines, anyone?); despite all this, the film isn't THAT awful, and should be of some interest to fans of the genre, if only for the infamous shish-kebab scene that featured on the excellent poster.

5.5 out of 10, rounded up to 6 for IMDb.


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Question about the twist ending... emiller89
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AnchorBay release of Happy Birthday To Me briangray30
anybody else mad..... moviefan72000
SIMILAR 80'S HORROR MOVIES AS THIS? nutopian-1
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