My Bloody Valentine review by The Grim Ringler

Isn’t it odd that there are just some movies that you know aren’t good, per se, but you love just the same? I mean, there are those movies that no one else gets but just you, but dammit, you love it all just the same. And so, we come to My Bloody Valentine, a movie I love, but dammit, not one that really deserves much more than its already established cult following.

The small town of Valentine’s Bluff has a curse. Many years before the movie’s setting a crew of miners die in a tragic mine explosion and the only survivor is left to become a cannibal as the rescuers dig their way through the rubble. Only one man is found though, having survived the blast alone and having to resort to devouring his dead companions in order to survive, and once freed, this man, Harry Warden, seeks out the two supervisors who left he and his co-workers to die in the mine while they attended a Valentine’s dance. After he has killed both men (by removing their hearts gorily) he warns the town never to celebrate the holiday again lest he come back to punish the town further. It’s been twenty odd years though and the town is ready to move on and a new dance is planned for that year. Before the dance can go on though the bodies begin to pile up, sans hearts, and it seems that old Harry is back in town to make sure this dance doesn’t happen. The dance is cancelled but the local ‘kids’ refuse to let the cancellation of the dance ruin their fun (they are never clued into the fact that there have been murders as the police chief wants to keep things on the down low to keep everyone from panicking) so they all plan on having their own secret bash at the local mine which employs most of the guys in the town (and which is owned by one of the two lead men’s father) on the down low. Alas, as the party begins so do the murders and as the locals get whittled down it leads to a final confrontation with the killer in the deep dark of the mine and to the final revelation as to who the killer really is.

All told, this really is as basic as it gets – you have your small town, your curse from the past, your partying ‘kids’, and your masked murderer wandering the streets on another holiday. The plot is basic, the direction, while far from bad, is nothing that amazing or daring. And the killer, while pretty interesting and unique, isn’t really that memorable. So, why the hell do I love this movie? I love this film because of the actors and the characters they have created, which still enthrall me to this day. In most slasher films the victims are bland cardboard cutouts that get naked, do something stupid, and are dispatched in any number of random and bloody ways. They are like so much lumber pushed through a chipper-shredder. In My Bloody Valentine though these actors create real live characters that you become attached to and are actually pained to see die. They become more than victims, they become people. And sure, there are two couples that die because they are caught sneaking off for sex, but in both cases the couples are sneaking off not to ‘sin’, but to be alone together. I can get into the rest of the movie just fine, but it’s the quirky and interesting characters that continue to draw me in. The big issue I have with the movie really is that the central lover’s triangle just seems a little forced and holds the film back. There is the pretty girl and the guy she is with and the guy she was with who had left the town and has now come back disgraced. I think the film would have been stronger without this aspect and would have kept you focused on this group of friends and the doom that is stalking them. And maybe I get bored with it because that sort of story angle has been done before way too many times and seems lazy.

Sadly the movie was shorn of all the gore and that’s a shame. The movie works as it is, but man, the stuff exists and the fans that will buy the film want to see the stuff, so why not put out an uncut version of the film? I can’t get that. As it is a couple of the kills are almost anti-climactic because of the cuts. Heck, the murders are SUPPOSED to be shocking and gruesome, and the fact that we like these characters would make their deaths all more tragic.

The film looks very clean and was very well shot and framed in this widescreen disc. The sound is mono so don’t get your surround system warmed up just yet. The fact that there isn’t even a trailer on the disc really bothers me and reeks of cheapness. And that’s fine – if you price it that way. But when this thing was released Paramount actually charged nearly twenty bucks for it, which is madness. I got it for around thirteen dollars and still feel like I spent too much, like the film or no.

Slasher films from the eighties really are a dime a dozen and are certainly an acquired taste, but I still think this is a darn solid film. With likable characters, a creepy killer, and a wonderfully spooky mine setting, this is a lot better than you might think. But it is what it is, and no more and no less. I am still hoping that an uncut version surfaces at some point but I dunno that I will hold my breath. Fun movie though.


7 out of 10 Jackasses
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