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Happy Birthday to Me (1981): Little Slaughterhouse on the Prairie

Happy Birthday to Me (J. Lee Thompson, 1981)

[originally posted 19Jul2001]

John gets a still-skewered shish kebab jammed into his mouth on the movie poster.

JOHN WILL NEVER EAT SHISH KEBAB AGAIN. Do you need anything else to know this movie is going to suck?
photo credit: Wikipedia

J. Lee Thompson may have directed films in Hollywood for almost four decades, but somehow they never got any better (his final film was the Charles Bronson howler Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects, eight years after this mess). Melissa Sue Anderson, seemingly desperate to shake the good-girl image that came with the success of Little House on the Prairie, plays the coed whose friends are getting killed one by one as her birthday approaches. She always seems to be in the area, but just can’t seem to remember actually killing anyone. (Oh, come on, you can figure it out.) Unfortunately, the only thing this movie actually killed was Anderson’s burgeoning career as a serious non-typecast actress. Special effects, direction, etc., are about what you’d expect from a bargain-basement Halloween clone. There are some good lines, though, and one character has a pet rat. So the movie is saved from complete destruction, but not by much. * ½


Trailer.

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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