June 27th, 2013: Happy Birthday to Me (1981)

Happy Birthday to Me

Cast and Crew:  J. Lee Thompson (Director)

What It’s About: Ginny Wainwright (Melissa Sue Anderson), is a new student at an exclusive academy and one of the “Top Ten”, a club made up of the ten richest kids in town.  It’s a fine club, at least until someone begins to murder the members, one by one. Ginny’s birthday is coming up, and she’s a prime suspect thanks to the black outs she experiences due to the experimental surgery neurologist Dr. David Faraday (Glenn Ford) used to save her life after a car accident.  Who is killing the Top Ten, and why?

Why Watch it Today?:  It’s “Happy Birthday to You” Day, which marks the birth of Mildred J. Hill, the author of “Happy Birthday to You”, in 1859.  Of course, the song itself doesn’t grace today’s film (no doubt due to rights issues), and the replacement for it is truly atrocious.  Happy Birthday to Me is a solid “also-ran” early slasher film with a great, if unbelievable and out of left field, twist ending that piles on the atmosphere.  Happy Birthday to Me was also a major influence of Scream, and by influence I mean source of much of the later film’s plot.

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