Monday, March 19, 2012

Happy Bloody Birthday To You

 Killer kids were a novelty before they started shooting up schools and acting like pint-sized Charles Whitmans. John Wyndham, who essentially created the killer kid genre with The Midwich Cuckoos, was really onto something, and cinema responded with Village of the Damned, Children of the Damned, These Are The Damned, The Bad Seed, and dozens of variations on little shits breaking bad.

Exported from England recently was The Children, a very decent effort about homicidal rug rats, and let's not forget the wildly entertaining Orphan, a killer kid flick that cheated on its age requirement, but did so smartly What makes a killer kid flick official is the age of its killers. They must be pre-teen.

 If you want to see kids killing and maiming and behaving in a way that is consistent with their age, I urge you to RSVP to the retro DVD event that is Ed Hunt's Bloody Birthday (Severin). It is one party that delivers, and the cake they cut will be you (!)

I'm not sure how I managed to avoid this gem for thirty-one years, but I suspect it has something to do with the title.  I was never a big fan of Happy Birthday To Me (even though I enjoyed watching 'Mary' from Little House on the Prairie going psycho), so it's  possible I avoided movies with "birthday" in the title, even if the birthday promised to be a bloody one. Well, shame on me, because this little number is an exceptional piece of 80's exploitation that never drops the ball.

Bloody Birthday is not a bad title (I vote for California Cuckoos), but it doesn't tell you squat about this movie. There is a birthday party, and it does get marginally bloody, but this flick is about three kids born during an eclipse who grow up to be ten-year-old killers. These moppets want to kill like teenage boys want to masturbate. Every time they turn around, they want to take someone out. When some fuck looks at them sideways, they know they should die. Why waste time doing good when you can do a shitload of bad?

The film is relentless. Once the kids are born in a California hospital, director Ed Hunt leaps forward ten years so the murders can begin. Although it's not a stylish or well shot film, it has a disturbing quality because it's stark. The beating of a cop is particularly grim, as is a terrific scene in which a killer kid opens fire twice on his enemy with a handgun, a gun so big it dwarfs the murderous squirt. A school teacher gets shot, a boy gets locked in a refrigerator, and the film's heroine gets chased through a junkyard by a car; the car is driven by an unlicensed (!) ten-year-old  in early Jason head gear.

Does it get any better than this, folks? Can ecstasy this sublime be truly surpassed?

Not really.

What allows the killings to occupy almost constant screen time is the lack of police. The town's top plod bites the dust early on, so that leaves a deputy who looks like he transferred in from 'Hazard County' or Last House on the Left. This ninkumpoop couldn't stop a snail with a jackboot. Which is great, because he's not around to stop the murders.

Because it wasn't enough to make the kids killers, screenwriters Hunt and Barry Pearson make the two males perverts also. The mini-skirted female of the trio charges the junior Larry Flynts a quarter each to peep on her teenage sister through a hole in the wall. They get to see some ass, some bra, some mild nipple action, but no pussy. The hole (the one in the wall) is also used as an opening by the vicious little vixen to shoot innocent people in the eye with arrows.

I could go on and on all day about this charmer, but I'll spare you that and wrap here with a big, meaty, bloody, subversive "Highly Recommended".


  1. IMO, this movie must take second place in the murderous moppet sweepstakes and yield to the incredible "Who Can Kill A Child?" It's always been a source of wonder to me that so many films capture the magic of childhood innocence, and so few capture the reality: kids are malicious, mean-spirited, selfish little motherfuckers. :)

  2. Bob -- WHO CAM KILL A CHILD is a ten times better film. A true masterpiece of horror. This (BIRTHDAY) is a masterpiece of trashy horror. KILL is poetry!

  3. jervaise brooke hamsterMarch 19, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    The word "cunt" has always looked very odd to me when its written down, it looks as though someone has written the word "count" and forgotten to put the letter "o" into the word.