42nd Street Cinema

My Bloody Valentine (1981)

Appropriate, albeit belated.

Spending Valentine's Day feeling somberly and companionless I found salvation in the form of George Mihalka's My Bloody Valentine. In my opinion, a heavily underrated Canadian slasher flick with gruesome gore and a fantastic looking killer.

Following a plot device that's similar to that of The Prowler (1981). In which 20 years ago in the small mining town aptly named Valentine Bluffs, an explosions occurs in the mine trapping 5 miners. The explosion is the result of 2 foremen who left work early, forgetting to check the methane levels, so they could go to the town's annual Valentine's Day dance. 6 weeks later the rescue team find one survivor, Harry Warden. He managed to survive by eating his dead colleagues and incidentally going insane. Harry spends a year at an institution, managing to escape on Valentine's Day and returning to the town to reap his revenge. Killing and then carving the hearts out of the foremen, before leaving a warning that he would return to the town every year of the Valentine's Day dance and commit further murders.

Jump forward 20 years and Harry's legend is wearing a little thin with the younger members of the townsfolk, who take it upon themselves to arrange a dance. All is prepared and everyone is excited, that is until someone dressed in full mining attire begins to murder the townsfolk in gory and imaginative ways. The town's mayor and sheriff immediately associate the murders with the return of Harry Warden and attempt to stifle panic within the town going to such lengths as downplaying one death as a 'heart attack'.
In the middle of this we have T.J. (Paul Kelman) and Axel (Neil Affleck), two guys who are in love with Sarah (Lori Hallier). A device which adds further tension between the characters as they are torn between love and survival.

One thing I particularly like about this film is the killer's POV shots and that we're able to hear his breathing through the mining apparatus. Creating atmosphere and suspenseful scenes with slick direction, stylistic and often iconic shots is just a few examples of why this film is a 'cut above' your average 80's slasher. Coupled with the killers inventive methods of dispatching the unfortunate and a twist ending that you almost see coming really establish this film firmly in my top 5 slashers.

Sadly the UK DVD has almost all gore footage removed, if it's gore you're looking for it's best to pick up the American Lionsgate release.

3 comments:

Stephen Andrew said...

UNCUT version all the way! Extremely gory slasher that makes an excellent companion piece to Intruder, The Prowler, or The Mutilator (Fall Break). It's too bad it took us fans this many years to get an uncut print. I too watched this on the 14th. Good review James!

Bianca Duffill said...

A very powerful tease. Its also got enough depth to stablise a firm point yet you didnt overexaggerate the content. I like how you've emphasized the parts which seem relevant, and your quirky comments make this a very light hearted intake to the film. I am, yet again, inspired and provoked to disagree or even match this review. Its your best one yet James, theres nowhere to go but forward...

online pharmacy said...

This movie is all kinds of cool, but I had not realized that the one I saw was the edited version! I will be picking up that special edition as soon as possible, thanks for the heads up!

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