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Home » Reviews

Retro Movie Review – My Bloody Valentine (1981, SE)

Submitted by on February 3, 2012 – 8:08 amNo Comment

Retro Movie Reviewer: Tom Costello

My Bloody Valentine (1981, SE)
Directed By: George Mihalka
Written By: John Beaird
Story By: Stephen A. Miller

In the town of Valentine Bluffs, a terrible accident in the local coal mine kills all the miners but one…Harry Warden. Harry was found, cannibalizing his fellow dead workers in order to survive. Now quite mad, Harry decides to kill the people he holds responsible (mainly the supervisors who were partying instead of checking the appropriate methane levels) by using his trusty pick-axe, and cutting out their hearts and shoving them in candy heart boxes. He is quickly apprehended, and sent off to an asylum.

20 years later, the town decides it’s time to have another Valentine’s Day bash…and guess who doesn’t like that idea? Harry shows up and picks (pardon the pun) up….right where he left off. With the local Police Chief stumped trying to figure out if it’s actually Harry doing the killings the Mayor decides to cancel the party. Well, the local twenty-somethings (most of whom work in the infamous mine) don’t take to the idea of their party being cancelled. So they do what anybody in that position would do, they decide to have the party AT THE MINE! Needless to say, someone is waiting for them with his pick-axe all primed and ready.

My Bloody Valentine came in the wake of the popularity of the slasher film craze of the early 80s. My favorite of the cycle, it really stands out due to a few reasons. One, the setting seems made for this scenario. The long, cavernous mine really lends a ton of atmosphere to the proceedings. It gives many places for our slasher to hide and jump out from. Two, the actors for the most part are Canadian and further adds to the ‘feel’ of the movie. Being mostly unknown to U.S. viewers, they seem like authentic and real people who dwell in this small town. (Which looks like it could be in Southwestern Pennsylvania due to the overcast skies above.) And Three, the killer himself: Harry Warden. With his miner’s gear and of course pick-axe, he is one of the most sinister looking of all slashers. The film is very competently shot, with roving Steadicam shots through the mine, and cracker-jack editing to complement the carnage. The film was heavily edited by Paramount due to MPAA pressure in it’s time of release. Nearly all the gore effects were lost due to the trimming but for the special edition DVD you can watch the Director’s Cut with all the scenes intact. The movie still holds up well, creating a great mythology for Harry, while doing a heck of a job showing the viewer his handiwork. No better way in my book of celebrating Cupid’s special day.

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