Morbidly Beautiful

Your Home for Horror


An effective Australian film based on an ancient Celtic cult tale that finds the perfect tones of terror at exactly the right moments.

On her nineteenth birthday, Alison visits her family, avoiding a warning from the spirit of her deceased father that she is in danger. Let’s dig into 1981’s ALISON’S BIRTHDAY, directed by Ian Coughlan!

As I See It

There is such a heightened quality to just about every seventies and eighties Australian genre film I’ve seen; I’m perpetually impressed. I’m not sure I would call every release Ozploitation, but it seems to be the label every Aussie flick gets from that period.

Opening with a seance scene using a homemade Ouija board, I am impressed by the creep level they achieved even forty-plus years on.

We’re not talking about The Exorcist level of terror, but it’s effective and well executed. It sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the film. You know you’re in for some occult, paranormal, supernatural shit.

The cult is searching for the secret to eternal life, and they seem to have the “science” figured out.

Alison has been chosen for her exact time and date of birth. She is to be a vessel for their Demon lord Mirna to continue her earthly residence.

The replica Stonehenge in the woods is proper spine-tingling, and it promises the eventual ritual that would take place as Alison ignores the warnings, the death of her friend during the opening seance, and all indications that her nineteenth birthday will be her last.

The chanting scene in the woods is aurally pleasing and haunting simultaneously, and I find myself trying to find it on YouTube, to replay the chill.

Perhaps nothing is more terrifying than the guttural scream let out by a centenarian Alison as the film closes. Mirna lives!

Famous Faces

John Bluthal (Uncle Dean) played Professor Pacoli in Luc Besson’s Fifth Element, and is credited as a Goblin voice in Labyrinth!

Joanne Samuel (Alison) played Jessie in George Miller’s Mad Max.

Of Gratuitous Nature

Nothing to scoff at.


Lisa Peers (Sally) plays the occult enthusiast and astrology amateur friend of Peter. She’s got the hippie-dippy, free spirit look down to a T. A bit of side trivia: she provided “additional voices” for the Pixar hit Finding Nemo.

Ripe for a Remake

There are a few scenes of traditional horror (seance, cult gathering) that are so successful it would be interesting to see them done in a manner that could scare a contemporary audience.


Alison’s twentieth birthday wasn’t eventful enough to make a film out of it.

Where to Watch

Severin Films released a huge folk horror compendium, titled All the Haunts Be Ours, of about twenty films. It is not cheap. You can stream it on AMC+, Tubi, and Shudder.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 3

The Daily Dig brings you hidden genre gems from the 1960s-90s you may have not yet discovered. You’ll get a brief rundown of everything you need to know, including where to watch each title for yourself. Come back each day, Mon-Fri, for new featured titles. CLICK HERE FOR A TIMELINE OF DAILY DIG COVERAGE.

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