Directed by J. Lee Thompson
Produced by John Dunning & Andre Link
Written by John Saxton, Peter Jobin & Timothy Bond
Cinematography by Miklos Lente
Music by Bo Harwood & Lance Rubin
Cast: Melissa Sue Anderson, Glenn Ford, Lawrence Dane, Tracy E. Bregman & Matt Craven

1981/111 mins/Color/Dolby Stereo
1.85:1 anamorphic/English/USA/NTSC Region 1

Review from the Columbia Tristar DVD

Virginia Wainwright (Melissa Sue Anderson of Little House on the Prairie) is attending Crawford Academy. More importantly, she's one of the elite cliq known as "The Top 10". But it wasn't always that way. Sometimes ago, she wasn't much appreciated by others. And even worse is the fact that she had a brutal accident and since then had suffered from some type of traumatic brain damage.

On the days before her birthday, her new friends are strangely killed by the hand of a black gloved killer who's using some rather unique techiniques (shish kebab skewer anyone?!). In the end, nothing is what it seems and onced the killer is finally revealed we get a very unlikely climax (you'll find yourself sayinh "What?!"). Thankfully it ends with a nice and twisted ending.

Like most movies that followed the 1980 mega success that was FRIDAY THE 13TH, most slashers of the time got heavily cut by the ever lovable MPAA. Still we get some nice bloody and gory moments but I'm sure that more was filmed at the time. Director J. Lee Thompson previously gave us the original CAPE FEAR and CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. At the time, the movie ended up costing $3 million which was a lot for a slasher film but made it back the first weekend. Actress Tracey E. Bregman, who in the end is the killer has aged very well and is now a delicious milf.

Columbia Tristar released HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME in a 1.85:1 anamorphic aspect ratio. The image looks pretty good but does contains some grain and dirt from time to time, still nothing alarming. The Dolby Stereo track isn't spectacular but does the job. The main problem here is that Columbia Tristar saw fit to change the musical score of the movie. Still to this day, there was no reason given why the change. We also have the choice of English, Japanese or Spanish subtitles.

The only extra featured on the disc are trailers for I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, IDENTITY and RESIDENT EVIL APOCALYPSE... pretty lame if you asked me. I know that John Dunning and Andre Link, the producers of this movie and another big 80s slasher classic by the name of MY BLOODY VALENTINE, have a lot to say about this one and it woulkd have made a great commentary track. The movie is separated in 12 chapters, features average static menus and comes in a inlay card featuring the original poster. To make things even more fustrating, Columbia Tristar changed the cover for a terrible new one which looks ridiculous and is way too remiscent of all the direct to video crap release these days. I think that Columbia Tristar wanted to fool the customer with them thinking that its a new movie. This is a shame since it will probably be the only edition available on DVD, ever!

"John Will Never Eat Shish Kebab Again."




No points were allowed since there is no extras on the disc.


This Film Features:

Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2006. ©