Bloody Birthday (1981)

Director Ed Hunt brought us The Brain and Starship Invasions. But as the slasher boom continued, he combined The Bad Seed with the multiple murders that audiences were demanding. Jose Ferrer is along for the ride as a doctor and to add some Old Hollywood star power to the proceedings.

June 9, 1970. Southern California’s Meadowvale General Hospital sees two boys and a girl born during a solar eclipse. Certainly, this can’t be good.

Ten years later, a series of murders has been happening in town. Sheriff Brody comes to his daughter Debbie’s class and asks if any kids have seen a shovel or jump rope, but no one speaks up. Then we meet Debbie’s friends Curtis and Steven, who invite their teacher Ms. Davis (Susan Strasberg, the daughter of famous acting coach Lee and the originator of the main role in The Diary of Anne Frank; she’s also in Sweet Sixteen) to their birthday party.

The kids waste no time killing the lawman, trying to get him to trip on a skateboard before beating him with a baseball bat. Then, as they notice that a kid name Timmy is watching, they lure him to a junkyard and try to trap him in a fridge.

While he escapes, the kids go bonkers from here on out. Curtis shoots their teacher with the dead cop’s handgun. Then they graduate to using cars and vans as weapons.

How would you explain all of this to your kids? Timmy’s mom Joyce (Lori Lethin, The PreyReturn to Horror High) explains to him that Saturn was blocked when the three kids were born, which is the normal planet that controls how people treat one another.

Figuring that she’s figured out their scheme, the kids make Joyce look insane. And even worse, they kill Debbie’s older sister once she catches wise, too. This is where I should mention that Julie Brown — yes, the Earth Girls Are Easy Julie Brown — plays Beverly and she dances nude in a scene that was always in Celebrity Skin back before we had a thing called the internet.

I kind of love that Debbie is very much the Rhoda Penmark of this movie, always getting the boys to do her bidding and continually blaming them for everything. Even when these kids are caught, you get the feeling that they’re never going to learn how to behave. They’re going to become even worse murderers or go into politics.

Joe Penny from Riptide is also in this, as is Billy Jayne — who in addition to being in The BeastmasterSuperstition and Cujo is the half-brother of Scott “Bad Ronald” Jacoby — and Cyril O’Reilly, Tim from the Porky’s movies.

You can watch this for free from Tubi. Or grab the Arrow Video blu ray release.

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