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Necessary Evil: Happy Birthday To Me Remake!

02.19.2016by: Mike Catalano

Welcome back, horror friends! I hope you had fun partying it up with our last Super Bowl set Necessary Evil. I wonder if Peyton Manning sold his soul to the Devil? No matter! We are on to a bigger bash right now with our newest horror that has to happen! This one was inspired by AITH's own main man, Eric Walkuski, who celebrated his birthday this past weekend! I'm willing to wager that most of you have seen or at least heard of the 1981 horror cult classic Happy Birthday To Me, whose VHS cassette box cover boasted "Six of the most bizarre murders you will ever see." It's actually a pretty intricate, albeit batshit out-there, mystery that I feel could benefit from a modern day update. I know the majority of horror remakes can suck, but let's see if we can get it right with Happy Birthday To Me.

IDEA: A remake of the 1981 horror movie Happy Birthday To Me.

OUTLINE: A good remake has to follow a few basic rules to be a success. You have to respect your source material, yet still bring something new to the table. Do NOT make an exact copy. Make it fresh and fun. That's about it. The original Happy Birthday To Me focused on a group of popular high school kids nicknamed the "Top Ten". I say for the update, we deal with kids sort of on the outskirts of popularity. The social classes of high school will play a role here, so there will be some popular kids as well.

The original's main character, "Ginny", will be called "Jackie" and she is a member of the average group. She is also transgender and struggling with coming out to her friends. Only Jill, who she has known since childhood, is aware that she was born a male, but she's taking hormones to appear more feminine. Regardless, Jackie is fully accepted by everyone in her circle, who believe that she is all female. I understand the issue of transgender people is a touchy subject which is why I'd expect the character of Jackie to be a natural, cohesive update to the story and treated with proper respect.

After Tiffany, a popular cheerleader, catches an unexpected glimpse of Jackie changing in the locker room, she alerts others in the popular crowd as to what Jackie was hiding. Word spreads fast and the unwanted attention causes Jackie to have a harsh panic attack and pass out. She wakes up at the hospital in a bit of a daze, having visions of herself trying to break away from her male physical identity. She has struggled with this for a long time and even visited with a psychiatrist who put her on medication.

Feeling like they were wrongfully lied to, the popular kids begin being assholes to Jackie, taunting her in very mean-spirited ways. Even some of the kids in Jackie's own friend circle show signs of discomfort with her and aren't sure if they want to attend her upcoming birthday party. Jackie turns to Jill for consoling, but Jill is unsure what to say and runs off. THEN, the killings begin! Someone starts offing various popular kids in a wide variety of wonderfully grotesque kills. We never see the killer, although it appears to be a male.

In the midst of the horror taking over her town, Jackie begins having more visions of her aggravated "male alter ego" and even has conversations with it. We are led to believe that Jackie has truly snapped and developed a split personality with the male status of her doing the killings. The finale takes place at Jackie's home where a birthday party is set up by her father. Who will show up? Who will be murdered? Who is really the killer? That won't be unwrapped until the last candle on the cake is blown out!

WHY IT COULD WORK: I'm not sure how many people remember the original Happy Birthday To Me, which could work in its favor for those sick of remakes. However, those familiar with the original may also be curious to see how it has been updated and I feel like the plot above both honors what came out in 1981 and travels its own new path. Plus, having a transgender main character could also break down a few walls and pique interest.

CHARACTERS: For the main character of "Jackie" I, for some reason, picture a former Disney Channel actress because that just seems to be the norm these days. Actually, I could see Demi Lovato in the role. It would be pretty funny if Selena Gomez ended up playing Jill. Maybe get Debbie Ryan to play Tiffany. Beyond those three, we would need to cast a collection of popular kids as well as the group of friends in Jackie's circle. We also need someone to play Jackie's psychiatrist as well as her father.

CONCLUSION: The original Happy Birthday To Me is not as well known as the other horror films to come out in its time. It's got a cult following and does offer some cheesy 80's horror entertainment, but it also has some spots that could have really been improved upon. Hence, a remake makes sense as long as it is handled properly and with respect! And fully embracing a transgender person as both a main character and an integral part to the story could serve as a good way to spread awareness and do away with a stereotypical heroine.

I need to know if you'd be happy with a Happy Birthday To Me remake. Do you think having a transgender main character (NOT as some stupid stunt) would be interesting or a bad idea? What else would you like to see if Birthday is remade? Kindly fire them bullets below! And if you have any ideas that you think should be made into horror reality, let me know at mikecatalano@joblo.com.

Extra Tidbit: What do you like most about the original Happy Birthday To Me?

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9:07PM on 02/19/2016

NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I like the sell but Hollywood would just fuck this movie up, an make it worse they would prolly make it PG 13, sorry man love this movie just the way it is even know im prolly in the minority.
I like the sell but Hollywood would just fuck this movie up, an make it worse they would prolly make it PG 13, sorry man love this movie just the way it is even know im prolly in the minority.
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