Sunday, 29 July 2012

5 Happy Birthday Horror Films!

Getting older isn't the same for everyone. For some it is one step closer to access society's taboos, for others it's a reflection on what they have accomplished over the years and for most of us it's a time to forget and to tell your friends you've turned 29 again.  With that in mind I thought I'd dig up some other peoples birthday horrors, so when it's time for your birthday, you won't feel so bad because at least your not being chased by a faceless maniac or an evil leprechaun.

Here are 5 Happy Birthday Horror Films!

5. Happy Birthday to Me (1981) - Virginia has returned to school after she was hospitalized from a car accident that killed her mother.  She goes to a private prep school and hangs out with a popular clique of kids, who are rich and enjoy drinking at the pub and doing dangerous things.  Her birthday is coming up but unfortunately her friends seem to be disappearing and there is talk of a killer on the loose at the school! Can Virginia make to her birthday or will she chopped up for party pate? This is a Canadian film and was written by John C.W Saxton, who penned some of my favourites like Ilsa, She-Wolf of the S.S and Class of 1984. The director  J. Lee Thompson also directed some films I've enjoyed like Cape Fear, with Robert Mitchum and a couple of the Planet of the Ape films, so I was looking forward to seeing this.  There are some good gory scenes, a pretty decent body count and the ending is pretty disturbing, visually & plot wise buuuut, the script is pretty thin and can be really confusing at times.  There are times during the film that just don't make sense and the ending has some many twists, I had to map it out on a piece of paper afterwards.  The acting isn't very good, but there are some people in it, like Glenn Ford, Matt Craven and Lisa Langlois.  Like any good B-Movie, it's fun to watch, find the errors and the shots were you can see crew members.  Enjoyable and worth checking out.

4. Maskerade (aka Mask Maker)(2010) - So it's Jennifer's birthday and after complaining to her friend, Hillary about how nobody has gone out of their way to do anything or even acknowledged her birthday, her boyfriend Evan packs her up in a car and drives her out of town.  Unfortunately, she arrives there alive and they've come to an abandon house in the middle of nowhere.  Evan announces that he has bought this house for them to live as a birthday present.  She freaks out but she has been appeased by the house being her birthday present. Unfortunately, nobody has told them that a witch used to live there with her maniac son, Leonard, who liked to kill people and wear their faces, or that he's buried in the backyard with a magic stick in him that keeps him buried in the ground, or that if you take out that magic stick he comes back to life and starts killing everyone. So, while looking for the electrical box, Evan finds a cemetery in the backyard and pulls a stick out of the ground because it looks cool and magical.  Good Work Evan!  Jennifer & Evan spend the night and invite friends over the next morning for a party.  Most of towns people (which there seems to be 2) are afraid to tell them the history because they're afraid of Leonard, or something, but Mr. Peck (the other town person) gets freaked out delivering some paint and eventually tells Jennifer the story after most of her friends are dead.  Can Jennifer, Mr. Peck and the rest of her friends put Leonard back in the ground, you'll have to watch and see! This movie seemed better the 2nd time I watched it.  It's pretty by the numbers and nothing really pops out.  It's a little frustrating because they don't explain a lot about Leonard or what his deal is but the pacing is alright, there are some gruesome scenes and the ending may not be original, it still adds a nice twist.  Oh, also Michael Berryman, from Hills Have Eyes and Weird Science is in it too and I like when that dude shows up in things. An independent horror film that worth watching.
3. Frogs (1972) - Pickett Smith is canoeing and taking some photographs of nature when serious douche bag Clint Crockett almost crashes into Smith and overturns his canoe with his speedboat. Clint apologizes and Clint's sister Karen invites Picket to come back to their mansion to get cleaned up.  Pickett goes with them back to the island mansion where he meets the head of the family, Jason Crockett, who is enjoying his birthday 4th of July weekend and would not like to be interrupted.  Jason also does not care for the creatures (frogs, snakes, etc..) around his mansion and sends a man called Grover to spread more pesticides to kill them.  Grover doesn't come back and Pickett ends up finding his corpse in the swamp.  He tells Mr. Crockett and is asked to keep it hush,hush, but as more people die from "accidents", Pickett and Karen realize that the animals are fighting back and trying to destroy them.  This is like Hitchcock's The Birds but not good. Although, it is called Frogs most of the attacking is done by snakes, spiders and creepy looking lizards. It's funny because there are some big names in this like Ray Milland, Sam Elliot and Joan Van Ark and unfortunately they're not given the right material to work with. The scenes drag and the script is confusing.  Worth watching if you want to see a really young Sam Elliot with his shirt off, otherwise no dice.
2. Leprechaun 2 (1994) - The leprechaun is back, it's his birthday and he is looking to get married.  Except when the minion finds out the girl he wants to marry is the minion's daughter, the leprechaun  gets shafted by his minion.  The leprechaun then vows to come back in a 1000 years and marry one of his ancestors of the minion.  So after a 1000, yes a 1000 years he comes back to find the one and only ancestor from 1000 years ago.  Anyway, she dating some lame scam artist, Cody, who works for an alcoholic, Morty, who runs a tourist sight seeing trap.  The Leprechaun catches the girl, Bridget but during the battle of wits with Cody, loses a gold coin.  When the Leprechaun gets back, he realizes that the coin is missing and now he must get the coin back from Cody.  From reading a book, Cody knows that he can get Bridget back if he has the coin and with the help of drunken Morty, he thinks he can save her. This movie is pretty stupid, but Clint Howard shows up briefly and so does Tony Cox.  The script is ridiculous, there is very little in body counts or gore and Warwick Davis will drive you batty, with his, "I want me gold, I want me gold".  If you are forced to buy a present for someone you don't care for, get them this.
1. Bloody Birthday (1981) - It's 1970, there is an eclipse and three baby are born at the same time.  Ten years, later they're birthday is coming up and they have a taste for murder.  Yep, these kids are almost ten and killing teenagers and adults.  The only people catching on are Timmy Russel and his older sister Joyce, who's parents are on the longest vacation ever, live down the street from those murdering kids and are now on the hit list for America's youngest felons. Can they stop these murdering tweens and save their neighbourhood or maybe the world?  The reason I like this film is these kids don't mess around.  They're a little hit squad and it's amusing to watch.  Ropes, guns, arrows, they have it down.  There are some pretty violent scenes and some good gore scenes.  It's not a thinker but it's fun and worth a watch.

So, blow out your candles, make a wish and remember that birthdays come and go but bad horror movies last forever.

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