Virginia Wainwright is a spirited young woman who has returned to a private school having survived a deadly accident and regenerative brain surgery. She is proud that she belongs to the Top Ten – the school’s inner circle with the best students – and attempts to resume a normal life. But her friends are falling prey to a grueling series of murders, and soon there will be no one left to attend her 18th birthday party.
Could it be her? Striving to rekindle the memory of her nightmarish accident, Virginia suffers from memory loss and traumatic blackouts. We soon learn the horrible truth behind her accident and what is going on before her birthday party…
Happy Birthday to Me is a 1981 Canadian slasher film directed by J. Lee Thompson and starring Melissa Sue Anderson and Glenn Ford. The story revolves around six brutal murders occurring around a popular high school senior’s birthday. The film was released on May 15, 1981. While reception was generally negative, it has since achieved a cult following.
About the Story
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 as the richest, most popular and most snobbish teens at the Academy. The Top Ten meets every night at the Silent Woman Tavern, a pub near Crawford’s campus.
One night en route to the tavern, Top Ten member Bernadette O’Hara is attacked in her car by a killer whose face cannot be seen. Unable to flee, she struggles then plays dead to catch the killer off-guard before running to get help. She then pleads her case to someone whom she is familiar with, only to have her throat slit by the person with a straight razor who is actually the killer.
The Top Ten becomes concerned when Bernadette fails to show up at the Silent Woman. They soon get over it when their argument with another patron (a conventioneer) results in one of them putting a mouse into his beer. Mayhem ensues and the Top Ten flee the scene.
On the way home, the Top Ten see a drawbridge going up and decides to play a game of chicken. All cars in the game attempt to make it across before the bridge is completely raised (to allow the passing of ferries). A protesting Ginny is shoved into a car by fellow Top Ten member Ann Thomason. Every car jumps the drawbridge save one. As the car goes over the drawbridge, Ginny yells “Mother!” and makes it across safe. After the car stops, Ginny runs from the vehicle into the darkness.
Happy Birthday to Me (1981)
Directed by: J. Lee Thompson
Starring: Melissa Sue Anderson, Glenn Ford, Lawrence Dane, Sharon Acker, Frances Hyland, Tracey E. Bregman, Lisa Langlois, Lesleh Donaldson
Screenplay by: John C.W. Saxton, Peter Jobin
Production Design by: Earl G. Preston
Cinematography by: Miklós Lente
Film Editing by: Debra Karen
ostume Design by: Huguette Gagné
Music by; Bo Harwood, Lance Rubin
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Release Date: May 15, 1981