Happy Birthday to Me (1981)

1981. The world has run out of holidays on which to have murders on. The horror movie industry is on the brink of extinction... and then! A guy suggests that birthdays are technically, in a way, holidays too. Horror is saved! That is how this movie happened. Shortly after that the same guy realized horror movies can happen for any reason on any day, and then they all made zombie movies until the end of time.

I ordered this along with My Bloody Valentine and I enjoyed that movie quite a bit so it was a happy coincidence that, according to the DVD case, Happy Birthday to Me is "from the producers of My Bloody Valentine." Could it be? Another amazing Canadian horror movie from the 80s? Well, according to wikipedia, this is an "American slasher movie filmed in Canada" which I guess counts.

Ginny is a member of the Top 10 at Crawford Academy, which is a nasty group of elite jerk kids. How bad are they? They hassle old guys at the bar, they race over bridges... there is basically nothing these rotten to the core thrill-seekers won't do! Ginny seems like a nice girl, regardless of her vaguely unprofessional relationship with her psychiatrist, but I guess she is desperate to be seen as elite so there you go. Meanwhile there is a killer stalking everyone.

This movie is a little hard to follow. It keeps trying to throw you for a loop because much of the film is from Ginny's perspective and she is an unreliable narrator, since she is crazy. But instead of feeling awe at being expertly manipulated, you just feel kind of confused and then, at the end, let down. But at least they didn't just pull the old "the killer is this kid they picked on!" thing that so many other, weaker, slashers have.

I guess my problem with this movie is it isn't Canadian enough. Where is the insanity of something like The Pit, where you are constantly on the verge of losing your mind as you watch? Where are the macho low-key Canadian guys drinking beer and getting into polite brawls from My Bloody Valentine? The twist at the end that invalidates the entire movie like in Rock 'n Roll Nightmare? None of that stuff is in this movie and it suffers for it.

The murders are not even bizarre enough to remember really, regardless of what the poster claims. I can come up with more bizarre murders just looking around the room! Eating a television to death! Buried alive in pens! A bunch of bookcases combine into a giant mummy and then roll you up like a tube of toothpaste, causing your brains to explode from the top of your head!

In conclusion, exhaust the library of Canadian horror movies until you tackle this one. It's a good way to cleanse the palate before watching some good old American slashers.