Watch This: Scream wasn’t the first slasher whodunit

One week a month, Watch This offers movie recommendations inspired by the week’s new releases or premieres. Because it’s Horror Week here at The A.V. Club, we’re highlighting some of the best unsung slasher movies.

Happy Birthday To Me (1981)

Possessing more in common with the original Friday The 13th than that classic’s Jason-centric sequels, Happy Birthday To Me is a slasher film by way of whodunit, one in which endless misdirections go hand in hand with inventively gruesome murders. Directed by Cape Fear‘s J. Lee Thompson, the film concerns a group of boarding school friends (known as the “top 10”) who are methodically picked off by a mysterious assailant. Only the black-gloved hands of that fiend are seen during these killings (in a nod to the work of Dario Argento and his giallo comrades). And it’s suggested from the narrative’s focus …

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