Horror Movie Podcast BONUS Ep. 132: Happy Death Day (2017) – LIVE!

HMP Happy Death Day

Greetings from the 2017 Movie Podcast Network Meetup Event in Salt Lake City, Utah! It was an incredible event, and we wish you all could have joined us. The weekend included multiple meals with hosts and listeners, trivia games, live podcasting, live music, hiking, a birthday party, group screenings of Better Watch Out (2017)—with a Filmmaker Q&A—and Tremors (1990), plus a double feature of Friday the 13th (1980) and Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1988) on the actual Friday the 13th of October 2017. Whew! Quite a weekend! You’re going to hear great live recordings from all these events in the days to come, but first … a special treat, only for our beloved Horror Movie Podcast listeners!

Jay of the Dead, Dr. Shock and Wolfman Josh all met—in the flesh—for the very first time and sneaked away to a screening of Happy Death Day (2017). What you’re about to hear is a LIVE! recording from the MegaPlex Theatre at Jordan Commons in Sandy, Utah, following the screening. This BONUS episode also features William “Rowan the Destroyer” (aka “Solo” from The Sci-Fi Podcast) who captured a great, in-the-field, live recording of this episode for us. Thanks, William!

Horror Movie Podcast is a bi-weekly show that’s released every other Friday. If you’d like to support our show, please subscribe to our podcast free in iTunes, and leave us a review! And remember, we love getting your voicemails, so call in with more recommendations and comments at this number: (801) 382-8789 Thanks for listening to Horror Movie Podcast!


I. Introduction
— Jay, Wolfman and Doc meet with Rowan the Destroyer to see a Horror movie together and to record a live podcast.

II. Feature Review: HAPPY DEATH DAY (2017)
Jay of the Dead = 6.5 ( Theater / Rental )
Wolfman Josh = 4 ( Low-priority Rental )
Dr. Shock = 3 ( Avoid )
Rowan the Destroyer = 4 ( Avoid )

III. Wrap-Up / Plugs / Ending

JOIN US NEXT WEEK ON HMP: Episode 133, our next Frankensteinian show!

NOTE FOR NEWCOMERS: If you love this podcast, you can find all of our previous episode here on the website, with direct links to our themed episodes and franchise reviews on the sidebar. There are also 36 episodes of two other great podcasts that precede this one. Just scroll back through our archives, or use the links in the sidebar.


Hear more from Rowan the Destroyer on The Sci-Fi Podcast

Want more live podcast recordings from the MPN Meetup 2017? Hear Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 261.

Special thanks goes out to singer-songwriter Frederick Ingram for the use of his music for the original Horror Movie Podcast theme and composer Kagan Breitenbach for the use of his arrangement of Fred’s song for our updated theme.

Jay of the Dead’s links:
Follow Jay of the Dead and Horror Movie Podcast Official Twitter
Horror Movie Podcast Official Facebook
Jay of the Dead covers new releases in theaters on Movie Podcast Weekly
And if you’d like to e-mail Jay of the Dead with a good Beastly Freaks recommendation: BeastlyFreaks@gmail.com

Wolfman Josh’s links:
Follow Josh on TwitterInstagram and Facebook @IcarusArts
Horror Movie Podcast Official Instagram @HorrorMovieCast
Josh covers the Universal Monsters, new and classic, on UniversalMonstersCast.com
Follow @MonstersCast on Twitter
Josh covers streaming online movies on MovieStreamCast.com
Follow @MovieStreamCast on Twitter 
Like MSC on Facebook

Dr. Shock’s links:
Dave writes daily movie review on DVDinfatuation.com
Follow Dave on Twitter @DVDinfatuation
Like Dave’s DVD Infatuation, now on Facebook
Dave covers the Universal Monsters, new and classic, on UniversalMonstersCast.com
Follow @MonstersCast on Twitter
Dave covers Western movies on the We Deal in Lead podcast
Dave appears on another horror podcast: Land of the Creeps

Dr. Walking Dead’s links:
Order Kyle’s new book! The Written Dead: Essays on the Literary Zombie
Order Kyle’s previous books American Zombie GothicHow Zombies Conquered Popular Culture, and Triumph of The Walking Dead
Follow Kyle on Twitter @DrWalkingDead

You can always contact us by e-mailing HorrorMoviePodcast@gmail.com. Or you can call and leave us a voice mail at: (801) 382-8789. And you can leave us a comment in the show notes for this episode.

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If you want to support the show even more, you can do so by becoming a patron of Movie Podcast Network and subscribing to our “Special Features” episodes by paying a small fee to get at least one bonus release each month through our official Movie Podcast Network Patreon page! Please not: these Movie Podcast Network episodes are bonus podcasts for our financial supporters. MPN does not replace Horror Movie Podcast and, further, HMP will always remain free.

Thanks for listening, and join us again Friday after next for HORROR MOVIE PODCAST!

41 thoughts on “Horror Movie Podcast BONUS Ep. 132: Happy Death Day (2017) – LIVE!

  1. Jay of the Dead’s Complete List of 6.5 Ratings

    Horror Movie Podcast

    HAPPY DEATH DAY (2017)
    CHILD’S PLAY 2 (1990)
    SIREN (2016)
    DEATHGASM (2015)
    THE MONSTER (2016)
    VIRAL (2016)
    SCREAM 4 (2011)
    CHEAP THRILLS (2014)
    CHOOSE (2011)
    THE PYRAMID (2014)
    ANNABELLE (2014)
    BLOOD CREEK (2009)
    DANCE OF THE DEAD (2008)
    HONEYMOON (2014)
    NOSFERATU (1922)
    LOVELY MOLLY (2011)
    THE BATTERY (2013)

    Horror Metropolis

    CRONOS (1993)
    NOSFERATU (1922)
    TOURIST TRAP (1979)

    The Weekly Horror Movie Podcast

    INTRUDER (1989)

    • Thanks, Sal!
      I feel a little sheepish about “Tourist Trap,” “My Bloody Valentine” and “Intruder” being that low, to be honest, but otherwise, these all look like 6.5 movies to me (and are comparable to “Happy Death Day”). ha ha
      – JOTD

      • I haven’t seen Happy Death Day but I can tell just by the trailer that it is in no way whatsoever equivalent in artistic quality to Nosferatu.

      • I loved the movie Deathgasm and am sad to hear it is associated with a movie so poorly received as Happy Death Day. Come to think of it, I did not mind The Purge Anarchy either. Puzzling to figure if they are both considered on the same level as the movie reviewed today.

        • Every movie that I have seen on this list is better than Happy Death Day. Some far better. A few of these numbers are too low, but mostly, this is a case of HDD being too high, in my opinion.

          Having said that, this was probably a bad president to set. I’d be scared to see a similar list from me. In fact, I’ve already reconsidered all of my Child’s Play ratings and plan to give them different scores in our wrap-up.

    • This really puts things in perspective, Sal. I knew I disagreed with Jay, but I didn’t know it was to this extent. Almost every movie in that list is at least an 8. At least. And looking past the score itself, they’re all much better movies on every level. Nosferatu, Cronos, The Battery, Honeymoon, The Monster, Cheap Thrills, Deathgasm… they cannot and should not be regarded on the same level as Happy Death Day. Come on, Jay. You know better than this. I think Jay really needs to take a journey of personal discovery and reevaluate his stance.

        • I said I was fine with it, as in I didn’t hate it. I think Mark liked it a little more than I did, but we both had a good time in a room full of pre-teen and teenage girls giggling and talking about their middle school/high school romances. Oddly enough, that all enhanced my viewing experience. Good times!

          • Look, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I don’t want to take that away from you. Maybe that was the intended audience you got to see it with. Girls young enough to get excited about a milkshake over the head and feel empowered by a naked power walk throughout he college commons. Young enough not to know Groundhog Day and not to have very demanding expectations from a scary movie. I can absolutely see that enhancing the experience. Tween girls are actually a great audience when you’re watching a popcorn horror flick. I felt similarly about my screening of Paranormal Activity.

    • Thanks, Sal! Actually, a lot of these look like 6.5’s to me. Definitely not Nosferatu. I love Tourist Trap like a 10, but I’d also rate it close to a 6.5.

  2. Well, based on this list, I’d say it’s fairly obvious what qualities make up a 6.5-rated horror movie for Jay of the Dead.

    But for the benefit of those unfortunate few who STILL might not get it, and are completely bewildered, perhaps someone would be willing to connect the dots for them here in the comment section?

  3. Also interesting to note here that Jay also gave the 1990 version of It a 6.

    I think Jay’s 6.5 rating is a sort of dumping ground of movies he’s not quite sure what to do with. Complete with classics, cult classics or newer films that he doesn’t enjoy that much, but doesn’t want to rate too low and newer films that he did enjoy, but doesn’t want to rate them too high. Again I think it’s just what he gives a movie when he doesn’t quite know what to do with it.

    • For me, that’s my 7.5 … a film that I can appreciate technically, was better than average, but I just didn’t love it. If I loved it, it gets bumped up to 8 or higher. I’m not doing that consciously. I just think that’s what I’m identifying in my own scale as I think about Jay’s.

      • I think we all have that number that those type of movies get lumped into when we stop and think about it. For me personally it’s a 7. I lot of movies that I’m not sure what to do with usually end up around that score. Sometimes it’s even a placeholder and when I end up thinking more about a film I will move it up or down from there.

  4. Hi all!

    I was surprised to see how poorly this movie fared with you guys. I won’t argue some of the hoary tropes (the hospital fire ax, for example.) But I didn’t find the lead unlikable at all. **SPOILERS** Her mean girl behavior (unlike Phil’s in GD) was given context as a reaction to/extension of grief over her mother’s death. **END SPOILERS** She was damaged, and not simply a jerk. For me, that made her more of a redeemable person, similar to the once-good Scrooge, than Phil’s arrogant bastard.

    Moreover, her character arc moved her from selfishness to selflessness, something that GD only addresses but doesn’t develop. Every one of Tree’s changes dealt with empowering those around her who were oppressed (by college standards, at least) or hurting. Phil becomes really good at the day he is stuck in (helping people with things that happen in that day alone) and … what? Getting kickass at the piano? What I liked about Tree is that you get the sense she has learned an applicable lesson about how to behave in the world.

    **SPOILERS** As to the issue of stakes, I thought they dealt with that in a very clever way. Her midpoint discovery that her body is taking a toll from the murders, that it’s not just her consciousness that carries over from day to day but the injuries themselves, was ingenious. **END SPOILERS**

    Again, not a perfect film. I’ll confess that I had no expectations going in, and that I’d had such a terrible experience with the film I’d seen a few days prior (BLADE RUNNER 2049 – beautifully shot, competently acted, and one of the worst scripts I’ve come across in a big budget film in a decade.) Perhaps some of what I felt was relief.

    Anyway – sorry you guys had such a miserable time, but thank you for the podcast!

    • Tommy, thanks for your thoughts. I absolutely see your argument and understand where you are coming from, but I do still disagree.


      Tommy wrote: “Her mean girl behavior (unlike Phil’s in GD) was given context as a reaction to/extension of grief over her mother’s death. She was damaged, and not simply a jerk. For me, that made her more of a redeemable person, similar to the once-good Scrooge, than Phil’s arrogant bastard.”

      Groundhog Day does operate on a cheat, in that we don’t see all of his progress. The film just tells us that he’s gained wisdom and the areas of growth we see are fairly superficial, but we do see the depths of the darkness he experiences and can fill in the blanks, himself. I didn’t feel as though Tree really got to those emotional depths, despite both films having a similar level of gore. Also, let’s keep in mind … one film is a comedy (and is extremely effective at what it does), while the other is horror (and I’d argue is not effective). And to the point I made in the review, it is actually fun watching Phil relive his days. It was beyond monotonous in Happy Death Day, for me. Dude with sunglasses, guy passes out, people on the lawn, car alarm. There are no characters here worth caring about. With Phil, we see the impact of his behavior on those around him.

      Tommy wrote: “Phil becomes really good at the day he is stuck in (helping people with things that happen in that day alone) and … what? Getting kickass at the piano? What I liked about Tree is that you get the sense she has learned an applicable lesson about how to behave in the world.”

      See, I totally disagree with this. Phil saves at least 2 lives, that we see. He learns life-saving measures in order to save one of these people. He becomes deeply emotionally invested in trying to save a 3rd life. He changes his orientation to bringing joy and inspiration to others. Yes, Phil gets kick-ass at the piano, but I see that as a symbol for his personal development that will carry on after the events of the film.

      Tommy: “As to the issue of stakes, I thought they dealt with that in a very clever way. Her midpoint discovery that her body is taking a toll from the murders, that it’s not just her consciousness that carries over from day to day but the injuries themselves, was ingenious.”

      I liked this aspect–although I think ingenious may be overstating it. My problem with this is that it comes AFTER the majority of her deaths. That impact is never felt in the moment, only considered afterward. Yes, it adds stakes at the end (and I did enjoy that), but they could have made each of those deaths land with impact along the way. They don’t land for the majority of the film because, as with the development of the relationship with her father, it comes very late in the film. And the father scene, as good as the actors were in it, did not feel earned to me.

    • Yea, I enjoyed this film. Though, after seeing it, I realized I’m not the target audience. It’s definitely for young teens, especially girls. I loved the premise! I thought they would exploit the kills each day and have really gruesome deaths but unfortunately it wasn’t even rated R.

      I also felt Tree was mean because she wasn’t dealing with her mother’s death. She wouldn’t even answer her Dad’s call. Part of her “Death Day” was learning and dealing with death. I think she always knew the right thing to do but had trouble with confidence after her mom’s death. Tommy, I like how you said her changes deal with empowering others. Cool.

      I loved the idea that her body didn’t always bounce back each day. That’s a great idea to give the deaths more weight but it felt like they abandoned that idea towards the end.
      ***END OF SPOILERS***

      • ******HDD SPOILERS****
        I agree, Mark. That was the one element of this that I thought was a cool horror twist on the Groundhog Day format. Her body takes a permanent beating. Cool idea. They could have done a lot more with that.


  5. Great episode guys. I loved the dynamic between all those on the show today. At times it felt you were all downright giddy watching the movie together (hey, I get the feeling of finally getting out away from family to see the real world). It was interesting to hear the review and everyone’s different take on the movie. The concept of a Groundhog Day type movie actually sounds quite promising, and someone with imagination and creativity could do a lot with that premise instead of being campy and a disjointed storyline. I find horror comedies to be hit or miss (with many more being misses than hits), and it sounds like this was a miss. Last night as part of my October movie challenge I watched a horror comedy called Gravy from 2015. It relied more heavily on the horror concepts early in the film but the horror and practical effects kicked in stronger as the movie went along. It was about workers at a restaurants seemingly being robbed and tied up, out to find out they are tied up as they are the main courses for modern day cannibals. Not a great film, but enjoyable and worth a watch. I gave it a 6/10. Has anyone seen this? Anyways, take care all, and I look forward to similar episodes in the future.

    • Thanks, Bill. I think we were a little giddy getting to see our first movie together. I’ll always remember that I first met Doc in the top row, middle of Happy Death Day. Haha

      I think podcasting in person add a lot more energy to the recording, actually. If we can just get Dave to move to Utah, we can do it like that every week.

      Dr. Shock was a fan of Gravy, if I’m not mistaken. I think it was a 31 Days of Halloween review of his and I want to say it even made it into his honorable mentions … is that crazy? Too busy/lazy to look it up, at the moment. The title and artwork looked bad enough to me to avoid.

    • Gravy is a fun Halloween movie! I’ve watched it quite a few times. It’s directed and co-written by James Roday from Psych (the tv show). It also has an It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia vibe to me but much more violent.

  6. Pingback: BONUS: 2017 Meetup Event – Better Watch Out with Director Chris Peckover | Universal Monsters Cast

  7. I realize October is a big time for horror movies, but I feel Happy Death Day missed the boat by not releasing it in September. The entire movie takes place on the 18th that happens to be a Monday. As it just so happens, September 18th was a Monday. It’s not even a big difference either, it’s only three weeks earlier than it’s actual Friday the 13th release.

    I’m far more annoyed that it could have been released on the day it took place on than I should be. haha

  8. I watched Happy Death Day today. I am glad I watched it and supported the horror industry. No, it was not a greaat movie but I have seen much worse. While the target audience may have been 15-17 year olds, I was surprised at the suspense built in to the plot. While figuring it out did not take a genius, it was at least drawn out until the end and had a few moments that I smirked at. My main complaint was not the bad acting (was expected), or the plot holes (also expected), but the lack of kills or action sequences. If a movie is gonna be weak, at least be entertaining in some way. Having said all of this, my experience was much better than I expected it to be. I actually enjoyed it more than say, Leatherface, which might not be saying much. I gave it a 5.5/10.

        • In my opinion Leatherface was awful. Aside from a good kill at the end, I did not yet much out of the film. The storyline had some potential, but I found myself bored watching it. I just watched The House on Willow Street from this year. Initially an abduction film, it evolves in to a supernatural/ haunted house film. Low budget is obvious, and the film definitely has it’s flaws (bad acting by the main group of kidnappers, plot holes galore) but I found Carlyn Burchell as the abducted was unexpectedly strong and there was a nice blend of practical effects and cgi. I have seen a lot worse. 5.5/10 and worth a watch for a no thinking horror. BTW, I am also an avid camper and love a good camping scare.

  9. The premise of this movie sounds a lot like Salvage aka Gruesome, a small indie movie from 2006.
    I saw it at a film festival back then and actually quite liked it, not in the least because it had a great ending which explained why it all happened. You have to look past the low production values though.


  10. Maybe it’s because I was in a theater alone with one of my best friends watching this, but we had a lot of fun. Was it a masterpiece? No. We went in with zero expectations, in fact, I was expecting it to most likely be horrible. A lot of horror movies I’ve seen in theaters in recent years tend to be disappointing. I usually save the ones that I think look awesome to watch at home because I know no one will be obnoxious.

    Happy Death Day didn’t scare either of us, but it did entertain. I just suspended my disbelief while watching. It did seem like a kind of hyper reality as someone stated, like a music video, with things like her grabbing the guys glasses and him not doing anything, the comic huge ax she uses in the hospital and the ridiculous mascot mask. It definitely wasn’t realistic, but it seemed like that was just part of that world.

    I think it was clear that the “rule” as to how Tree could end the day was to stop her murder and find out who the murderer was (and in the process change who she has become). Which she did in the end. I was fine too not having a reason as to why it was happening to her. I just took it as some kind of higher power trying to get her to go back to being a better person, the person before her mother’s death. It was mentioned that this movie should have had a supernatural vibe to it, but having a day repeat over and over isn’t something that should be possible so I would take the cause to be supernatural. So I don’t think the killer necessarily has to be the supernatural element that is the cause of the day repeating.

    Probably being a little kind because I had a good atmosphere to watch it in. Horror-comedy is really difficult to pull off successfully so between utter failure and being amazing I would lean towards amazing (while not actually being amazing). I would recommend most people just rent it or wait for it to stream on something they already pay for. I agree with Jay that it was nice seeing a slasher as opposed to a haunting type movie in theaters.

    • Thanks for your feedback and review, Jen. I can see all of your points – except the one about the killer. Haha. Do you mind me asking how old you are? I’m curious if being female and maybe closer in life experience to the main character would make this more enjoyable. I know Mark and Juan enjoyed this more just watching it with girls. They didn’t even have to be girls.

      • I’m 33 and my friend that went with me is a few years older. She is very forgiving with movies so going with her and joking about it put me in the same mindset. I could see this movie appealing more to females, but not only to them. Maybe part of it is because it mocks mean girl cliqueness? I went in expecting nothing and was pleasantly surprised. It sounds like most of you went into this viewing dreading it lol.

    • I liked the idea that the killer wore a baby mask because it was Tree’s birthday and we’re all babies when we’re born. Birth is the opposite of death. It was a weird mascot, though. I assumed they just wanted a bunch of people wearing baby masks so she wouldn’t know which was the killer.

      I would have liked a reveal where we find out the “higher power” who made her repeat the day was Tree’s mother. Her mother would want to save her from the killer, force Tree to deal with her mother’s death and consequently turn her into a better person.
      ***END OF SPOILERS***

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