Happy Birthday To Me (1981)


Directed by: J. Lee Thompson

Written by: John C.W. Saxton, Peter Jobin, Timothy Bond & John Beaird


Melissa Sue Anderson .... Virgina 'Ginny' Wainwright
Glenn Ford .... Dr. David Faraday
Lawrence Dane .... Harold 'Hal' Wainwright
Frances Hyland .... Mrs. Patterson
Tracey E. Bregman .... Ann Thomerson
Jack Blum .... Alfred Morris
Matt Craven .... Steve Maxwell
Lenore Zann .... Maggie
David Eisner .... Rudi
Lisa Langlois .... Amelia
Michel-Rene Labelle .... Etienne Vercures
Richard Rebiere .... Greg Hellman

Special Appearance:

Sharon Acker .... Estelle Wainwright

Release Date: Theatrical: May 15, 1981









A troubled girl named Ginny Wainwright (Melissa Sue Anderson) is recovering from a freak accident that happened to her last year on her Birthday which caused the death of her mother Estelle (Sharon Acker) as well as having a regenerative brain surgery which has blocked her memory.
Before celebrating her 18th Birthday during her grad year things seem better for her as all her friends promised to attend to her party unlike the year before.
However, her friends are mysteriously being murdered one by one as Ginny thinks that she is losing her mind wondering if she is responsible for all of this when her friends have mysteriously disappeared but her shrink Dr. David Faraday (Glenn Ford) assures her that she is totally sane and nothing bad is happening to her.
But Ginny is also plagued by tramautic blackouts and her memory is slowly coming back to her on what happened on her 17th Birthday when the horrible incidents started to happen to her and how her Mom died.
Then on the night of her Birthday party start to wonder if she will be the next to die or is she the killer herself with a split personality?


One of those cult favourites that was in the same year as those other low budget slasher flicks like Graduation Day, My Bloody Valentine, The Burning, Friday the 13th Part 2 and Halloween II which gained a similar status to the fans of those movies.
The poster will always be remembered with the shishkabob murder. 
There's a good start off with a snobby schoolgirl mocking the headmistress of the school academy behing her back in which we see these types in a slasher flick during this time period and even during present day too. You just know that something is going to happen to her for her naughty behavior.
Then afterwards a bunch of the school kids hang out a bar pulling practical jokes almost starting a riot which is another good pointer for the story as well as them doing a car race to try and make a bridge that's about to lift up for a boat to go by since there's many daring teens to try anything to prove on how macho they are even if it means living on the edge in which this moment looked very suspenseful and well written in. To top it off the story was also effectively creepy when the head character Ginny visits her mother's gravestone which is another nice start off to the film in which she behave's strangely.
There's also some cheesy suspnseful moments with a mysterious killer dressed in black killing other teens in which could cause accidents like a guy fixing his motobike wheel by turning his engine on and his scarf getting caught in the wheel dragging him in which this killer was responsible for doing so or helping someone benchpress but the weights are too heavy and the killer pulls to handles away from him. You think to yourself this guy could throw the weights behind his head to have his life saved. Again, you think to yourself that people in slasher films never make wise choices so they meet their death bed big time. Some of these killings kinda makes you wonder if Robert Hiltzik watched this and inspired him to do similar events in his cheesy 1983 cult classic flick Sleepaway Camp.
There's also other moments with certain male characters acting intimidating or making out that they are going to kill someone or yet be killed in which you wonder if this is really happening or not as this could've easily inspired the makers to produce April Fools Day.
There's also disturbing flashback sequences with Ginny in a brain surgery room which would psych you out watching and wondering why this was all happening as well as other flashback sequences on her drunken mother at her birthday party with no friends coming and things going down with the two of them. Especially with the drunken mother and her bitter attitude towards her ex-husband that she talks to on the phone along with a terrible car accident on the bridge with the two of them inside the vehicle which is everyone's worst near death nightmare on what could happen if you couldn't get out of a dangerous situation. This was susensefully well written in too along with everything surrounding it.
There's also some near riots between two males over Ginny in which you think to yourself as well that either one of these guys could be the killer but yet it might seem too obvious but still want to keep watching to find out in the end even if there's some stale moments in the flick.
The ending looks quite twisted when it's time for the birthday cake and shocking surprises that involves Ginny which can be well remembered for anyone who watched this flick.
Bottom line is the film is quite cheesy but yet very mysterious whodunnit type of flick which was done in good taste but yet the story is a little stale. A good drive-in type of film though and was considered a cult classic to most horror fans.
It carries on with the slasher tradition though like Halloween the final terror happens and the same with My Bloody Valentine and Black Christmas.

The acting was well performed for it's time although it looks a little dated while watching it now.
We have former Little House on the Prairie TV child star Melissa Sue Anderson (Ginny Wainwright) playing the title role in the film as she can pull her part off not too bad and could easily be billed with Jamie Lee Curtis and Linda Blair during this time period. Also showed some good energy with her intense behavior and disturbed attitude too n certain events happening. Did well when a bridge is about to open up for a boat going by freaking out when this happened as well as a good shot on her jumping out of the car and running away. She does well by snapping at her onscreen father when she arives home as it's a daughter and father discussion and also does well showing her loving emotions afterwards. She screams quite well when she loses her balance in a certain scene as well as doing well by being nervous beforehand. A good creeped out reaction on her after someone goofs around towards her in a library. Shows off great intense emotional crying towards her onscreen doctor when she thinks that she is losing it. She is terrific screaming intensely after spotting a corpse in a bathtub. Does well acting monstrous and menacing during a death battle moment. This young lady is a fairly passable as a character actress.
Glenn Ford (Dr. David Faraday) seems to come across nicely as the shrink in this film with his caring and concerned attitude. He expresses a great seriouness to his role but of course he's been a veteran for many shows and can prove himself to be a worthy character actor.
Frances Hyland (Mrs. Patterson) can be well remembered for her role in this film as she does well with her scrictness as a headmaster at the school. She has a great sharp and stern voice whenever she speaks which worked well and played this off perfectly too. You wonder to yourself while watching her perform if this killer will get her too. Was great at scolding one of her onscreen students in her office about the disappearance of one of the students showing good straight forward attitude.
Matt Craven
(Steve Maxwell) of course had the perfect role playing the outgoing boyfriend in which he pulled off quite well. He has a nice bubbly type of behavior in this role as well as the teenage looks even if he looked a bit dorky. Yet he went far with his acting career afterwards.
David Eisner
(Rudi) portrayed a perfect aggressive teen and almost behaving violently along with his sarcastic behavior that he definetely comes across as a possible suspect to the story along with being a great key role the the story. He acts goofy with his discussion towards his fellow actress during a certain scene which seems a little silly. Later he shows a good intimidating attitude towards her when he slowly walks towards her with a jack knife.
Jack Blum
(Alfred Morris) really came across nicely as a dorky type of schoolkid who is fascinated with science and also drew nicely to his part as someone who is creepy and mysterious with his stalking type of attitude too. He certainly portrayed another perfect suspect in the film. We have a perfect moment with him by showing a serious and intimidating attitude towards two onscreen students in a science lab with a good dark setting.
There's a brief supporting role by Sharon Acker (Estelle Wainwright) played a great crazy drunken mother in the film having the most energy out of everyone. She really brought out terrific emotions to her role and portrayed a believeable dysfunctional basket case. Does well losing her sanity at the front of a gate of a mansion where a party is occuring demanding to let her in.
We've got an effective small supporting role by Lesleh Donaldson (Bernadette O'Hara) who does well playing a spoiled snob with her whiney type of behavior and the first victim in the movie. Does well with a mocking remark behind someone's back after being scolded by being out late at night. Does well by showing her cried scared emotions when she sees a a razor blade about to strike her throat. I had to mention her even if her role was very brief.

Ginny's head is operated in a surgery room.
A guys face is bloodied by a wheel of a motorbike.
A violent bloodshed over some walls and a carpet
Some slit throats
Gruesome looking corspes sitting around a table.

Bo Harwood and Lance Rubin compose some great classical music in this film with some sharp and screechy violin music for the suspenseful moments such as the killings as well as some clarinet playing with the theme song being played in some parts of the film as well as some mysterious music too.

We also have a cheesy depressive sounding ballad during the rolling credits performed by Motown artist Syreeta performing the title song which did nothing for me. She did have a nice soft singing voice though.

Steve Maxwell (After eating a bite on a shishkabob fed by Ginny): MMMM, delicious
Ginny Wainwright:
Well have some more (Rams the shishkabob in his mouth)