A decades old folk tale surrounding a deranged murderer killing those who celebrate Valentine's Day, turns out to be true to legend when a group defies the killer's order and people start turning up dead.
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Vincent Van Patten,
There's a big valentine-party planned in the little coal mining town of Valentine Bluffs, Nova Scotia. It is the first Valentine's Day party in 20 years, because then there was an accident in the mine, and the accident happened because the men responsible for the security was at the party. The sole surviving miner, named Harry Warden, later killed them, and told the town NEVER to arrange a Valentine's Day party again. The party begins, and so does the killing... Written by
Krister Walfridsson <email@example.com>
Producers André Link and John Dunning said the films origin came about when they sought to find a holiday which a slasher film had not been set on during the "slasher flick boom" of the early 1980s. They settled on Valentine's Day and in order to keep the idea from being copied they made the films working title "The Secret", though they had the release title in mind the whole time. See more »
When Jessie and Axel are arguing over Sarah beside the car, Jessie points at Axel with his left hand in the long shot, but with his right in the close-up. See more »
[reading a Valentine note]
Roses are red, violets are blue, one is dead, and so are you.
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I warned you once, I warned you twice, if you skip "My Bloody Valentine" you'll pay the price!
In the wake of the successes of "Black Christmas" (1974), "Halloween" (1978) and "Friday the 13th" (1980), there seemed to be a craze not only for slasher flicks, but for holiday-themed slasher flicks. There were many imitators, many slasher flicks that lacked distinction or anything of redeeming value. Still, one of the best, not to mention criminally underrated, was "My Bloody Valentine" from 1981.
Set against the backdrop of Valentine's Day in a small Nova Scotian mining town, a Valentine's Day dance, once the most celebrated holiday function in town, has been put off for 20 years due to a tragedy at the local mine. Five miners were trapped underground by an explosion, because the two supervisors who were supposed to be on-duty had failed to check the methane levels because they were in a hurry to get to the dance. Six weeks later, we're told, only one of the miners survived, Harry Warden, who survived by eating the flesh of his dead comrades and was committed to a mental institution shortly thereafter. One year later, he killed the two supervisors responsible for the disaster and later vowed vengeance upon the town if they were to ever celebrate another Valentine's Day.
20 years later, a group of hormonally-charged young people ("young people," not teenagers) who work in the local mine are eager to have another Valentine's Day festivity, despite the warnings of the town's elders not to do so. Pretty soon, the mayor receives an eerie warning and a heart-shaped candy box filled with a real human heart, and not long after young people left and right start dying in increasingly horrific and creative fashions - a laundry machine, a nail gun, a shower head, ropes, hot dogs (yes, hot dogs!), and the killer's trademark pick-axe figure into some of the most gruesome ways the characters in this movie are dispatched.
"My Bloody Valentine" was directed by George Mihalka, and his direction and production design are what is largely responsible for making this an above average slasher flick. This movie is all of well-acted, well-made, and has a fantastic and creepy story. Like in "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th," the viewer is many times party to the slaughter of young people because of the fact that the film is often shot from the point-of-view of the killer; so we often hear his deep breaths from behind a gas mask as he stalks and slaughters his victims.
The second half of the film is set largely underground, in a real mine in Nova Scotia, Canada. These underground scenes are generally very creepy and claustrophobic, dimly-lit and you get the feeling that every time someone strays from the group or wanders down a dark tunnel alone, something could jump out of the darkness to dispatch them; these creepy and claustrophobic scenes of darkness remind one of the underground scenery in the recent British horror movie classic "The Descent" (2005)
which is also one of my all-time favorite horror movies.
In terms of pure slasher movie goodness, "My Bloody Valentine" doesn't disappoint. The movie abides by almost every slasher movie cliché imaginable (the virgin survives, sex = death, don't say "I'll be right back," because you won't, etc. - see Randy in "Scream" for further details). But surprisingly, even with its hormonally-charged young people and plenty of sex and innuendo, there is no actual on-screen nudity. (Huh???) Strange but true, people die in some incredibly gruesome ways in this picture, but there's no gratuitous nudity anywhere - they aren't really sex scenes, but actually they're more like make-out scenes and the most "skin" we see is a girl in her bra and panties - so "My Bloody Valentine" gets bonus points from me for that.
Lastly, "My Bloody Valentine" has also been the source of much controversy in the 28 years since it was released, largely due to the fact that at least five minutes of on-screen gore were cut from the film (additionally, none of this lost footage contains any extra sex or nudity); virtually every death scene in the movie was trimmed in some fashion by the MPAA. This lost footage was restored in the recently released extended cut of the film. If this movie were released today, I seriously doubt that these cuts would be enforced by the MPAA, but I guess one can understand why they were made back in '81; they are quite nasty and will surely please gore-hounds, but with this new extended cut of the film you get the feeling that you're watching the complete movie, one that is finally free of the ugly influence of censorship.
I'm glad to say that now, especially since I saw "Drag Me to Hell" yesterday, I have yet another summer horror movie to add to my list of movies to watch during the Halloween season - "My Bloody Valentine."
P.S.: "My Bloody Valentine" was remade earlier this year as a 3-D movie.
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