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.
Tom returns to his hometown on the tenth anniversary of the Valentine's night massacre that claimed the lives of 22 people. Instead of a homecoming, Tom finds himself suspected of committing the murders, and it seems like his old flame is the only one that believes he's innocent.
An unknown killer, clad in World War II U.S. Army fatigues, stalks a small New Jersey town bent on reliving a 35 year-old double murder by focusing on a group of college kids holding an annual Spring Dance.
Valentine's Day is coming around and the young people of the small mining town of Valentine's BLuffs are organising a party. A few decades earlier an explosion at the mine trapped six miners underground. One, Harry Warden, survived, though in a deranged state. Warden is sent to a mental hospital but escapes and murders those he deems responsible for the mine accident. Now people are being brutally murdered again, and the townsfolk suspect that it is the work of Harry Warden. Written by
We'll probably never be-able to see how the movie should have been...
Notorious for being the slasher film most tortured by the censors upon release, MY BLOODY VALENTINE has become something of a cult classic with legions of adoring fans. The only available version of this movie is missing over 9 minutes of gore, but thankfully producer John Dunning has located all of the absent footage and a battle rages on with copyright owners Paramount for a fully restored release. The movie itself nestles nicely with ROSEMARY'S KILLER as the two best non-franchise splatter flicks of 1981.
From the outset, we're introduced to the small mining town of Valentine Bluffs, which hides beneath its fun loving exterior a best-forgotten secret. Twenty years ago the supervisors at the mine were so eager to get to the annual Valentine dance that they didn't bother to check the levels of the methane gas. There was a massive explosion and five workers were trapped underneath the rubble and debris. The only survivor was one Harry Warden, who never mentally recovered from the accident. Exactly a year later he returned and brutally killed the two who were responsible for the tragic mishap. He cut out their hearts, stuck them in candy boxes and sent them to the authorities. Fortunately he was caught before he carried out any more killings and was put into Eastfield Asylum for the insane. Now in 1981 the happy go lucky residents of the usually tranquil town are preparing themselves for the first Valentine dance to be held since that fateful night two decades ago. Memories of Warden's murders have passed and a group of fun loving kids are thinking about nothing else but the anticipated party. However the night before the event the town mayor receives a blooded heart in a candy box with a poetic warning. It seems Harry has returned
MY BLOODY VALENTINE is certainly a fine example of eighties splatter at it's best. Although the acting isn't remarkable, I found that the three leads were competent enough and the script gave us enough time to get to know them. There's an interesting sub-plot that builds between T.J. (Kelman), Axel (Affleck) and Sarah (Hallier). Apparently T.J. was with Sarah before he went away for a while without telling anyone where he was going. Now he's returned and his buddy Axel is with his old flame. Cue the flying sparks! The rest of the wacky cast members are so cheery and carefree that you just know something dreadful is going to happen to them! There's a practical joker (who surprisingly isn't the fat guy), a couple of overly randy teens and even a hammy old guy who tells the kids that they're doomed just like Ralph over at Camp Crystal Lake!
Credit has to be given for the effort from all involved. The movie began filming in September 1980, but the set designer took the time to make sure that everything was decked out in hearts and banners and they made things look like it actually was Valentine's Day. Mihalka makes good use of the spooky mine as a setting and most of the murders are imaginative and well thought out. In one scene a victim is trapped in a room where miner's uniforms are dropping from rails and surrounding her. In panic she tries to find a way out of the claustrophobic and threatening setting (all courtesy of the killer), before bumping into a costume that actually has the murderer in it! If that isn't bad enough, he kills her in a most gruesome fashion! His disguise is arguably one of the best of the eighties and the gas mask sure helps make the traditional heavy breathing' - sound much scarier. There are also one or two jumps that'll probably get you if you haven't seen this before and it's all accompanied with a satisfactory score from Paul Zaza.
The plot is actually pretty smart for a slasher film. I wont go into too much detail because I can't say anything without spoiling it all for you, but watch how they manage to keep you guessing toward the end. It's also worth noting that James Mangold borrowed that classic body (or in his case, head) in a tumble dryer scene for his part-slasher, IDENTITY in 2003. In 2001 George Mihalka went to Paramount with a script for MY BLOODY VALENTINE 2 but they turned him down because the original didn't do brilliantly at the box office. Just proves how annoying they really are doesn't it! They've already said that they'd have no interest in seeing the director's cut of this movie released, even though fans around the world are begging for it. Recently the company asked people to give them ten films that we want to see unleashed and apparently one of those ten was MY BLOODY VALENTINE UNCUT; so we'll just have to wait and see if they come round to our way of thinking. Just imagine if they gave us the full works: The first four FRIDAY THE 13THs and this movie all uncut on special edition discs with commentaries where available and all the trimmings. If Raimi can do it for EVIL DEAD then someone can do it for us! Come on Paramount, lighten up and get on the case!
All in all this is a great little horror movie. It's smartly directed with a likeable cast and a really tense finale. The only problem lies with the shameful editing in the kill scenes where 9 minutes was savagely removed. I'm beginning to think that old Harry Warden should take a trip to the Paramount office, pickaxe in hand, to get revenge on these brutal spoilsports. Still, a few niggles aside, this is a decent little movie from Canada that deserves to be remembered, as one of the best of it's kind. And that's a sure fire compliment!
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