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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

My Bloody Valentine (1981)




The Slasher movie marathon continues with My Bloody Valentine. Let me start off by admitting that this is my favorite Slasher flick. I love this movie and always have, even before the gore was restored. I’ll talk more about that later. What I need to do now is make my case for why this is the best Slasher movie of all time. Warning I can’t talk about why My Bloody Valentine is so great without spoilers. If you haven’t seen the movie and intend to watch it before reading my review. You have been warned.

The town of Valentine Bluffs is a small mining town that has decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day for the first time in years. They suspended the events the year after a tragedy where some men died. Not because of the accident but because the following year the only survivor, Harry Warden, came back and went on a killing spree. But time heals all wounds, right? Maybe not because we see someone in mining gear kill a woman in the mines and send her heart to the mayor as a warning. Harry Warden must be back and he isn’t happy!

After a second body and another warning the sheriff and mayor cancel everything, but don’t explain why so not to panic the locals. Some of the younger folks decide to have a party at the Hanniger mine not knowing Harry is back. This is where things get bloody as some of them are killed up top and even more in the mines when they decide to show some girls around. Help does eventually arrive to save the survivors and track the killer down. But with them also comes some shocking news. Harry Warden died five years earlier! Who is the killer?

That last question is one of the reasons that I love this movie. All along the audience is told that Harry Warden is the killer and why he is murdering people. But then we get a shocking reveal and flashback that flips everything around. I’m not going to spoil who the killer is but if you pay attention closely on a second viewing you will notice they make sure that it is plausible and even hints at it a bit. Whenever I show someone this for the first time they have that “Oh Shit” moment when it all makes sense and a big grin pops onto their face. That tells me the movie is working on a level that not many manage.

Love the look of the killer. Harry Warden rules!
Some movies are all the big twist and nothing else. That means they don’t work well on repeated viewing, but that isn’t the case with My Bloody Valentine. The look of the killer in his mining gear and pick axe is awesome. Seriously it might be my favorite killer as far as creepy and practical outfit. It isn’t like they picked up a hockey mask, tater sack, or even a Shatner mask to hide their identity. This is just what a miner would wear, and it fits perfectly with the setting and story. I dig that. Plus, the pick axe is a great weapon for dispatching victims. Bottom line is the killer has a great look.

Another huge plus is the plethora of scares. Not just jump scares either because we get some genuine jump out and murder people kills in this one. My favorite is when the old bartender (this movie’s Crazy Ralph aka. Harbinger of doom) gets his while setting up a trick to scare the party goers. That whole sequence is one big buildup of will he or won’t he die. When the action moves into the mines that setting is perfect for even more scares. Wandering around in the dark is spooky enough, but a creepy miner hunting you down makes for even more tension. What lies around each corner? Sometimes a pickaxe to the gut!

The infamous shower kill
Finally, I have to talk about the gore. This movie was cut to pieces by the MPAA with many of the best gore shots cut from the film. Personally, I remember seeing the articles in Fangoria with the still shots of one particular kill with a woman becoming a shower head. Imagine my surprise when I finally rented the movie and it never shows up on screen. But even neutered this was still a great movie because of the look of the killer, the big reveal/twist, and the creepy mine setting. Then I got to see the gore. The newer editions of the DVD/Blu-Ray have the footage restored and while it doesn’t entirely match (the only copy has apparently sat in a basement for years) it is nice to see the movie as it was intended to be seen. And I finally got to see the infamous shower kill in all its glory!

Every Valentine’s Day when my wife wants to have date night we pick a movie to watch together. She always suggests some romantic comedy and I always suggest My Bloody Valentine. I never win but I promise to keep trying! You don’t have to wait until February. Go rent/purchase this one right away and check it out.


© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

3 comments:

  1. Great Blog! I have the ole' VHS and DVD, will have to get that Blu ray with the added scenes!

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  2. The new DVD also has the scenes added back in. The film stock doesn't match since the cuts literally sat in someones basement for twenty plus years. But it is cool to see what they intended the death scenes to look like.

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  3. i have an old DVd but i like Blu Rays, so ill have Angie hunt one down on Amazon

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