Going to Pieces over A Bloody Birthday

December 30, 2014 | By

I think if you woke up with burning candles sticking out from your chest, your reaction would be a little more than ‘Oh!’

Sadly, my voice is still crap – yesterday’s heavier than normal client interaction at Job #2 reduced me to a hacking, raspy mess – so I have to hold off on the Dave Strohmaier podcast until some rest allows me to record a few clean sentences for what will be a somewhat revamped presentation of podcasts for 2015. The capper was coming home and having one knockout cough that probably had my brown face turn blue (which isn’t easy).

In its place is a review of Severin’s nice Blu-ray edition of the kids-who-kill slasher Bloody Birthday (1981), directed by Ed Hunt.

I’d wanted very much to pair the film with another work, but efforts to find a complete copy of The Prey (1984) with Birthday co-star Lori Lethin came up empty (the movie’s vanished), and option #2 fell through because my tape copy of Hunt’s Starship Invasions (1977) is currently inaccessible.

Hunt, not unlike fellow American Bob Clark (Black Christmas, Murder by Decree), came to Canada in the seventies and enjoyed the fruits of the tax shelter production boom that seeded the native film industry.

Hunt wasn’t as skilled as Clark, but he did achieve a special kind of infamy in making one of the worst CanCon productions, Starship Invasions, in which many aging Canuck actors + Christopher Lee appeared in costumes reminiscent of a dental hygiene commercial.

Guess I’ll have to save that revisitation for a future edition of CanCon 101, but I’ll add this: the film does deserve a Blu-ray release, if not a special edition. Hunt speaks at length about the film in the audio interview archived on the Birthday disc, and he was a small but important figure in CanCon fromage, so there’s no reason the movie shouldn’t exist on disc. Some of the major cast have passed on, so the only figures likely to be embarrassed by this turkey is you, and me, and we have a sense a humour, don’t we?

Ported over from the old KQEK.com site is a review of the solid documentary Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film (2006), since that film’s screenwriter and author Adam Rockoff provides a compact version of the genre in a featurette also on Severin’s Birthday Blu.

Coming shortly are many Twilight Time reviews – unable to see Die Hard Christmas Eve, I opted for the breezy seasonal favourite Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), so that’s coming up very soon – and Synapse’s Blu-ray editions of Demons 1 and 2.

Brain teaser of the day for those in the know: try saying “Demons” without lapsing into a ‘Deh-monz. Deh-monz. De-De-De-Deh-monz” rap. It’s can’t be done.




Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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