Blu-ray Review “When a Stranger Calls / Happy Birthday to Me”

Actors: Carol Kane, Charles Durning, Colleen Dewhurst, Melissa Sue Anderson, Glenn Ford
Directors: Fred Walton, J. Lee Thompson
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Run Time: 208 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When it comes to late 70’s / early 80’s horror, this is a period of horror films that will always be held special. This double feature comes with two classic horror flicks “When a Stranger Calls (1979)” and Happy Birthday to Me (1981)” that I grew up watch (without my parents permission, sorry guys). These films are fun and represent that classic period of horror to the T. There was some worry with this release since “Happy Birthday To Me” is used the artwork for it’s 2004 release, which used a terrible disco score for the film. But rejoice since the original score is included for this release and it sounds great! Horror fans this release should be an instant purchase, especially for less than $10 bucks for both films.

“When a Stranger Calls” Official Premise: A terrified young baby-sitter…an incessantly ringing phone…and whispered threats set the stage for one of the most suspenseful thrillers ever filmed. Carol Kane stars as the baby-sitter who is tormented by a series of ominous phone calls until a compulsive cop (Charles Durning) is brought on the scene to apprehend the psychotic killer. Seven years later, however, the nightmare begins again when the madman returns to mercilessly haunt Kane, now a wife and mother. No longer a naive girl, though still terrified, but prepared, she moves boldly to thwart the maniac s attack in scenes that culminate in a nerve shattering conclusion.

“Happy Birthday To Me” Official Premise: Get ready for a taut mystery-shocker that will keep you at your wit s end and at the edge of your seat. Popular high school senior Virginia Wainwright (Melissa Sue Anderson) survives a freak accident, but suffers from memory loss and traumatic blackouts. As she attempts to resume a normal life, something terrible is happening – her friends are ruthlessly murdered one-by-one. Will she be the next victim or is she the killer? The terrifying truth is finally uncovered at Virginia s 18th birthday party and you re invited!

Both “When a Stranger Calls / Happy Birthday to Me” look amazing on Blu-ray, especially for films that are over 30 years old. The transfer are sharp and clear. “When a Stranger Calls” is presented with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, while “Happy Birthday to Me” comes with an 1.78:1 aspect ratio. In the audio department, “When a Stranger Calls” comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track, which delivers for the film itself. Surprisingly, “Happy Birthday to Me” comes with an amped up DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, trying to apologize to its fans of the past release with the terrible disco scores. No additional special features are included on this release.