Happy Birthday to Me: Wikis

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Happy Birthday to Me

Theatrical Poster
Directed by J. Lee Thompson
Produced by John Dunning
Stewart Harding
Andre Link
Written by Timothy Bond
Peter Jobin
John Saxton
Uncredited:
John Beaird
Starring Melissa Sue Anderson
Glenn Ford
Lawrence Dane
Sharon Acker
Frances Hyland
Tracey E. Bregman
Jack Blum
Matt Craven
Lenore Zann
David S. Eisner
Michel Rene Labelle
Richard Rebiere
Lesleh Donaldson
and Lisa Langlois
Music by Bo Harwood
Lance Rubin
Cinematography Miklos Lente
Editing by Debra Karen
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) 1981
Running time 110 min.
Country  Canada
Language English
Budget $3,500,000 (estimated)

Happy Birthday to Me is a 1981 american slasher movie filmed in Canada & directed by J. Lee Thompson, written by John C.W. Saxton and starring Melissa Sue Anderson and Glenn Ford. It was released May 15, 1981. The film has since become something of a cult classic among fans of the slasher genre, who primarily hail it for its bizarre (and vicious) murder scenes and its twisted climactic revelation.

Contents

Plot

Virginia "Ginny" Wainwright is a pretty and popular high school senior at Crawford Academy. She is one of her school's "Top Ten": an elite clique which comprises the richest, most popular and most snobbish teens at the Academy. The Top Ten meet every night at the Silent Woman Tavern, a pub near Crawford's campus.

One night, en route to the Silent Woman, Top Ten member Bernadette O'Hara is confronted by a killer whose face cannot be seen. Unable to flee, she struggles and then plays dead to catch the Killer off-guard. She fights the killer off, then runs off to get help. Instead, Bernadette finds a student whom she obviously knows well. She pleads her ordeal, only to have her throat slit when this student (whom the audience still cannot see) turns out to be the Killer.

The Top Ten are briefly concerned when Bernadette fails to show up at the Silent Woman. They promptly get over it, however; the Top Ten have a long history of playing elaborate pranks, both on each other and on the locals. Their grievance with another tavern patron inspires them to pull such a prank: they "borrow" the member's pet mouse, which they dunk into the lodger's beer, all the while pretending to apologize for their rudeness. The lodger discovers the mouse; mayhem ensues, and the Top Ten flee the scene.

En route back home, the Top Ten see a drawbridge going up and decide to play a game of chicken: all cars in the game must make it across before the bridge is completely raised (to allow the passing of ferrys). A protesting Ginny is shoved into a car by fellow Top Ten member Ann Thomerson. Every car jumps the drawbridge save one. After the car in which Ginny is riding makes it over the bridge, Ginny has a meltdown and yells "Mother!". Ginny jumps out and bolts off toward her home nearby.

Ginny is confronted by her father about coming home after her curfew. Unbeknownst to either of them, somebody (whom the audience cannot see) has followed her home. He enters Ginny's room, steals a pair of her underwear and escapes without being seen.

Ginny shares a handful of lost, repressed memories with her on-call psychiatrist, Dr. David Faraday. She underwent an experimental medical procedure, involving surgery to restore brain tissue, after surviving a harrowing accident at a drawbridge.

As Ginny attempts to resume her normal life, her fellow Top Ten members are murdered in vicious and violent ways: Etienne is strangled when his scarf gets caught in the spokes of his motorcycle (à la Isadora Duncan); Greg has his neck crushed while lifting weights; Alfred is gutted with a pair of garden shears...by none other than Ginny.

Mr. Wainwright leaves on a business trip. Ginny invites Steve, another member of the Top Ten, to her place for a midnight snack. She prepares shish kebabs, and feeds him, while they drink and smoke marijuana. Then Steve unsuspectingly leaves his mouth agape, and Ginny shoves the shish kebab violently down his throat.

The following morning, Ginny is taking a shower while fighting to remember everything up to that point. In flashbacks, the following is revealed.

Ginny's mother, a newly-inducted socialite, invited the Top Ten to Ginny's birthday celebration four years earlier. Instead, the Top Ten went to Ann's party. Drunk and unstable, Mrs. Wainwright confronted the grounds-keeper. Ginny's mother learned that she had a reputation as the town whore; ergo, neither she nor her daughter were welcome at the Thomersons'. This led to Mrs. Wainwright attempting to drive across a bridge that was in the process of opening. With Ginny screaming, her mother finally stopped in the middle of the bridge as each side was still raising. The car fell in between the bridge halves and Mrs. Wainwright drowned in her car, although Ginny swam to safety.

Ginny realizes that she may have killed her friends after all, including Ann. With Ginny's 18th birthday steadily approaching, she struggles to get answers from Dr. Faraday; when he fails to provide any, she kills him with a fire poker.

Mr. Wainwright returns from his business trip, ready to celebrate his daughter's 18th birthday. Entering their house, he sees blood and frantically attempts to locate Ginny. Instead, Mr. Wainwright finds his late wife's grave - which recently has been robbed - and also Dr. Faraday's corpse. Entering a cottage which serves as the Wainwrights' guest quarters, he makes a ghastly discovery.

The corpses of all the murdered Top Ten members are seated around the table, which has been set to look exactly as it did four years ago. The corpse of Mrs. Wainwright is seated there as well. Then Ginny enters, carrying a large cake and singing "Happy Birthday" to herself. Already distraught, Mr. Wainwright bursts into tears when his daughter casually admits to committing the murders. Ginny then slits her father's throat with the same large knife she used to cut the cake. He never sees another Ginny, seated at this table as the Killer's only living guest. This Ginny, the real Ginny, is sedated.

Ginny's doppelganger rants about having done all of this for Ginny, who then awakens to the shocking horror of all her friends having been slain by this impostor, Ann.

Ann has been embittered by the revelation of her father's affair with Ginny's mother. It turns out that both girls are half-sisters. Ann slaughtered the six main members of the clique, that never showed up for her birthday party, expressly for the purpose of framing Ginny - who suddenly breaks free, takes Ann's knife and kills her with it.

As she stands over her half-sister's corpse, a detective walks in on Ginny and the horrifying carnage that surrounds her. Immediately reaching the obvious-but-wrong conclusion, he stares at Ginny and demands, "What have you done?" Ginny can only stand there, triumphant in that she has survived her sister's murderous rampage, and yet defeated in that she must now answer for the slayings of her family and friends. The audience is then left to wonder if Ginny will be cleared of the killings or arrested for them.

We hear Ginny singing "Happy Birthday to Me" as the film ends.

Cast

DVD releases

The initial DVD release from Columbia Pictures featured a new soundtrack for the film and a new completely different cover art (not original poster art), which fans did not appreciate. Which also caused many slasher fans to beg for a rerelease of the film with the original soundtrack that was heard in theaters and on the Columbia VHS.

Anchor Bay Entertainment released a new DVD with the original poster art as the DVD cover and using the film's original soundtrack. The DVD was released on DVD on October 13, 2009.[1]

Soundtrack

The film's score varies from copy to copy. Some video releases contain the original theatrical score, whereas others contain a newer, completely different score and ending theme. The original score was written and composed by Bo Harwood and Lance Rubin, respectively.

The film's ending theme, "Happy Birthday To Me" was sung by Syreeta Wright, (credited as simply Syreeta in the ending credits) and written by Lance Rubin (music) and Molly-Ann Leikin (lyrics). Subsequent releases (primarily the recent DVD copies) feature a disco track in place of this theme.

There was no official soundtrack release, however fan-made copies exist over the internet.

Ginny's birthday celebration

Goofs

  • After the 'game' of flying over the drawbridge in cars, Ginny runs away into the forest with just her scarf. In the forest she has her scarf and handbag.
  • When the investigator pulls up to the house to inform the Doc and Ginny about the discovery of Ann's empty car, as he gets out the car and the camera shot is from the back of the car, you can see a crew-members face reflected in the small rear-view mirror.
  • When the last car flies over the drawbridge, its flies right into the ground and the front gets smashed, one headlight breaks and the front left tire flies off. When Ginny runs out of the car after they stop, the tire is back, the headlight is fixed and the front of the car seems totally intact.
  • When Ginny arrives at the inn, as she sits down, she holds her brown handbag in her hand, but in the next shot as she sits, the handbag is on her shoulder.
  • The film's eye-catching poster, which promised "Six of the most bizarre murders you will ever see", has its subject named "John" as the one who receives the fatal shish kebab death; when it is actually a character named Steve Maxwell (played by Matt Craven).
  • In the scene Rudi went inside Virginia “Ginny” Wainwright house and close the window.At another scene the window was left open.
  • In the scene recounting the death of Virginia's mom, the car is seen falling from various angles but always on its roof. The last time it is shown and the scene were it submerges, it is obviously right side up.

Production information

  • UK cinema and 1986 RCA/Columbia video releases were culled from a longer print with slightly gorier footage of the weight-lift and shish kebab death scenes, plus the original music score. The 2004 DVD release is the edited R-rated version with the alternate music.
  • The press reported that in order to keep the "twist" ending a secret several endings were shot. This is untrue but helped hide the fact that while shooting, the film had no ending. The script was written with one ending that made sense to the story, but did not have a twist. So producers proceeded to film while tinkering with a twist. This explains why there is no build up.
  • The movie was not popular with most critics; film historian Leonard Maltin considered it a bomb, stating that "Glenn Ford must have been desperate for the work" and said that Ford had "hit rock bottom with this appearance."

References

  1. ^ However, some Wal-Mart stores releasedit a week earlier with a huge selection of other horror movies for only $5.Weekly DVD & Blu-Ray Chopping List 10/13/2009

External links

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