6.1/10
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120 user 103 critic

Happy Birthday to Me (1981)

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.

Director:

J. Lee Thompson

Writers:

John C.W. Saxton (screenplay) (as John Saxton), Peter Jobin (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
4,964 ( 507)

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3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Melissa Sue Anderson ... Virginia Wainwright
Glenn Ford ... Dr. David Faraday
Lawrence Dane ... Hal Wainwright
Sharon Acker ... Estelle Wainwright
Frances Hyland ... Mrs. Patterson
Tracey E. Bregman ... Ann Thomerson (as Tracey Bregman)
Jack Blum ... Alfred Morris
Matt Craven ... Steve Maxwell
Lenore Zann ... Maggie
David Eisner David Eisner ... Rudi
Lisa Langlois ... Amelia
Michel-René Labelle Michel-René Labelle ... Etienne Vercures (as Michel Rene Labelle)
Richard Rebiere Richard Rebiere ... Greg Hellman
Lesleh Donaldson ... Bernadette O'Hara
Earl Pennington Earl Pennington ... Lieutenant Tracy
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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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 May 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ab in die Ewigkeit See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

CAD 3,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Feature debut of Tracey E. Bregman. See more »

Goofs

When the car flies over the drawbridge it sustains immense damage. The damage vanishes later. 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 »

Alternate Versions

The 1986 RCA/Columbia VHS release features the original print. The 2004 Sony Pictures Home Entertainment DVD (with the "birthday girl" cover) uses a print with library music tracks and some differences in sound editing (possibly a temp soundtrack from the original production), though the closing Syreeta song is intact. The 2009 Anchor Bay/Starz Home Entertainment DVD (with the "shish kebab guy" cover) has the theatrical soundtrack, as does the Blu-ray from Mill Creek. See more »

Connections

Featured in Trailer Trauma 3: 80s Horrorthon (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Birthday
(uncredited)
Written by Mildred J. Hill and Patty S. Hill
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Much too clever of a slasher film for it's time.
7 March 2002 | by FrightMeterSee all my reviews

I may take a lot of grief for saying this, but I firmly believe that Happy Birthday to Me is one of most intelligent and well acted slasher films of the 80's. I think the reason that it never made as much of an impact as films like Friday the 13th and Prom Night, which were released around the same time, is that is was just TOO intelligent for its time. It was released around the time when gore and body count is what made a slasher succeed. HBTM relied on plot twists and character development. This film is comparable to something that would be released and be successful today, where plot twists are what make a "slasher movie." Melissa Sue Anderson gives a excellent performance as Virginia, a member of the elite "Crawford 10" who suffered injuries in a car accident just months before the start of the film. At the approach of her 16th birthday, her fellow classmates begin to get butchered. Yes, a lot of things about this film are very confusing, and the ending can be tricky at best to figure out, but overall it plays out well and provides just enough gore and suspense to satisfy the slasher fans, but also tries to appeal to those who want more than just a bunch of murders on film. Highly recommended. Intelligent, and very well acted by Melissa Sue Anderson. Just remember this film was made in 1981. Way ahead of its time.


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