Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Bloody Valentine (1981) Review

My Bloody Valentine 1981 poster
Director: George Mihalka
Stars: Lori Hallier, Paul Kelman, Cynthia Dale
Genre: Horror, Slasher

In the wake of the slasher genre many films throughout the 80s tried to imitate the success of Halloween and Friday the 13th. In particular there were many holiday themed slashers, everything from Christmas to New Year's to Birthdays and just about any holiday you can imagine was made into a slasher film. My Bloody Valentine is obviously the Valentine's Day slasher. And if you hate Valentine's Day as much as I do then this may be just the movie for you.

The story is about Harry Warden, a miner who was left trapped in the mines because his co-workers were too anxious to get the the Valentine's dance. Harry Warden was later rescued and he then decided to get revenge on his careless co-workers. He threatened the town that so long as the hold Valentine's Day parties and put up decorations he will come back and kill. The town obeyed Harry's orders but twenty years later, on Saturday the 14th (a clever reference if I do say so myself) Valentine's Day, against the mayor's orders, teenagers who thought Harry Warden was just an urban legend threw a Valentine's Day party...in the mines!

This is actually a pretty cool slasher and one of the better imitators of the 80s. First off, it's actually pretty scary. Walking around dark, abandoned mines is scary enough but when you add a gas-mask wearing, pick-axe toting, serial killer to the mix it gets even scarier. The villain's design is very simple yet very effective. 

This film is known for being heavily censored in its day but luckily some of the footage has since been restored. The cut version is only 90 minutes long and Wikipedia lists the Uncut version as being 101 minutes long, however I was unable to find a 101 minute version (I'm still unsure whether or not there really is one) but I managed to find a 93 minute long version which restored at least some of the cut footage.

My Bloody Valentine 1981 Harry Warden

In the 93 minute version you can clearly see which material was cut because the restored footage has a more worn and damaged look compared to the rest of the film. This actually benefits the film in my opinion because during every kill scene the film suddenly turns very grainy and it gives it an even cooler grindhouse look to it. The kills are pretty awesome by the way, I won't spoil any of them but there's some creative murders in here.

So definitely try to find an uncut version at least 93 minutes long. I haven't watched the cut version (why would I?) but I could imagine this film being a bit boring without all the awesome kills.

My Bloody Valentine 1981 water pipe kill

The plot is standard, it's not really doing anything new but it does a well enough job moving the film along and a well-enough back story to the killer. The ending, I won't spoil anything, was, uh, it was actually kind of cool. Definitely better than a lot of slasher endings, and the film's last lines are pretty awesome despite a somewhat silly twist. 

My Bloody Valentine 1981 heart in a box

The acting is mediocre but the characters are somewhat likable. There's a love triangle that goes on but it's not entirely pointless because it effects events later on in the film. There's your typical goofball character, the helpless women, and my favorite character of the film is the fat guy with the mustache. I really like that guy. I even dreamed about him...ahem, anyway.

My Bloody Valentine 1981 fat guy with mustache

The soundtrack is pretty solid throughout and there's a pretty nice end credit song too that I was quite fond of. The famous shoegaze band My Bloody Valentine gets their name from this film so that's musical contribution enough.

My Bloody Valentine 1981 pot kill

It spawned a 3D remake in 2009, which I haven't seen but it looks like shit. I'd advise to just stick with this awesome original for some good ole' fashioned stylish murders. A damn good film and highly underrated. One of my all time favorite slashers.

3.5/5 stars

Purchase My Bloody Valentine on Amazon: Blu-Ray - DVD - Stream - VHS
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