Back on January 13th, Lionsgate released the classic slasher film and recent remake fodder My Bloody Valentine on a special edition disc that included “lost” footage that had never been seen before. Having been away from the film for years and never really having loved it, I decided that it was time to give MBV another shot, especially considering how successful the remake was.
Years ago in the small town of Valentine’s Bluff the negligence of a pair of supervisors resulted in an a Valentine’s Day mining accident that ended with the deaths of several workers and leaving only one survivor – Harry Warden. Warden would later take his revenge on those responsible for the accident in the form of slamming a pick axe into their chests and tearing out their hearts. After twenty years, the town finally decides to move on and celebrate with a Valentine’s Day dance, a decision that results in a series of dire warnings instructing the town officials to cancel the dance. While a heart in a candy box may not be enough to stop a dance, a murder is, but similarly a Sheriff canceling a dance is not enough to stop young adults from having a party. Unfortunately for them, the masked miner is not in a festive mood – he would rather kill.
Twelve people are killed in the film and thanks to the glorious addition of the ‘lost footage’ we finally see every gory bit. Previously I found the film to be relatively boring as there was never a great bloody payoff in any scene. The extended edition rectifies that.
We’re treated to a half dozen ways to die through pick axe – through the chest, through the back, to the jaw and head. One victim is drowned in boiling water and decapitated, a drill bit skewers some amorous teens and a nail gun is, against all printed rules, pointed at a human head. And fired. Several times.
There is some immediate bra action followed by kinky miner mask foreplay, though the sexiest part of the movie is most definitely Hollis’ (the late Keith Knight) handlebar mustache.
When you suspect a crazed killer has returned because body parts are showing up at your office, do the smart thing and cancel the dance. If you’re a sex and alcohol crazed teen, don’t party in a mineshaft. That screams bad idea even if there isn’t a masked murderer on the loose.
Being elected into the pantheon of classic horror films is actually pretty easy. As the slasher was being birthed around 1980, many of the films that were willing to have a killer pull on a mask and stab a good looking kid were new and different and thus immediately seized upon. My Bloody Valentine was released in 1981, right in that prime primordial ooze of slasher horror, virtually assuring it some respect. The films earnest portrayal of small town America and effort in casting and creating realistic characters made sure that audiences would find something to relate to rather than just something pretty to look at. It is for this reason primarily that Valentine found and and retained an audience while remaining relevant.
The actors in the film are not notably amazing, though Keith Knight is a recognizable face sporting one hell of a mustache. What helps the characters stand out is their plainness. Directors and writers of horror always ascribe success or their illicit intent as “making the audience believe that could happen to them.” While I may be a stunningly good looking athletic jock with a trust fund and a dumb, beautiful blonde girlfriend, the vast majority of people are not. A movie massacre like Friday the 13th or any modern remake scares the hell out of me because I see beautiful being brutalized. This is the movie for plain folks to be afraid of because this killer doesn’t care about wealth or looks! In all seriousness, this are completely regular working class people getting torn apart, which distinguishes them from their contemporaries.
I can recommend this Special Edition because of the option to watch the film with the lost footage integrated. Without those extended kill sequences, the film played out more like a relationship drama that I would have given a C- to. I don’t pop My Bloody Valentine into the player to see a treatise on love triangles, I put in a disc like this to see some blood and awesome kills. The theatrical version doesn’t satisfy my lust for blood and gore, but the extended sequences turn this from bloodless to bloodlust. Do yourself a favor and skip the theatrical and go right to the extended cut. The gore and kills are good enough to bump it right up to a B-, a full letter grade of difference. The DVD extras are ok, the “Bloodlines” featurette gives you a little background on other famous slashers, while the feature about the history of horror is more like an advertisement for My Bloody Valentine 3D. If you’re going to watch this film, watch the special edition. Pay special attention during the credits and you can listen to The Ballad of Harry Warden, an awesome folk song made for the movie.
Are you a fan of My Bloody Valentine?