My Bloody Valentine (1981)

November 10, 2012 - 9:31pm | Johnny D
  Tags: 80's, 80's Slashers, Carrie Colak, Corey Sevier, Elias Toufexis, Enis Esmer, Kim Poirier, Krista Morin, Marc Trottier, Matt Hastings, Meghan Ory, my bloody valentine, slashers, Stefanie von Pfetten

Your rating: None Average: 7 (5 votes)
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Matt Hastings
Corey Sevier, Stefanie von Pfetten, Kim Poirier, Elias Toufexis, Meghan Ory, Enis Esmer, Krista Morin, Marc Trottier, Carrie Colak

Boy, I tell ya, Lionsgate sure got bit in the ass in 2008. Last year, when the reigns shifted up top, it was made clear that horror would no longer be a focus of theirs, with the exception of the Saw films. And low and behold, that backfired in their face horrendously (didn't get to see Midnight Meat Train or Repo! in theaters...don't worry you weren't the only ones) and now the studio's future is pretty much riding on the success of a little slasher movie called My Bloody Valentine 3D. In an attempt to promote this new remake to fans of the original, they've unearthed the (according to Paramount) "lost" gore footage that was supposedly no longer in existence (yeah, just like that Friday the 13th footage that's been conveniently found in time for the new film, huh Paramount!). The MPAA fiendishly sodomized My Bloody Valentine all those years back without even a bed post to clutch onto. For taking the time to branch the footage back in I say thank you, Lionsgate, for finally taking that stick out of your rectum...for now.

For those of you unfamiliar with this holiday slasher from the 80s golden age, the plot revolves around the mining town of Valentine Bluffs. Twenty years ago, Harry Warden was trapped in a collapsed mine on Valentine's Day, surviving off of eating his dead co-workers. When Harry was finally found he was so far gone that he made Margot Kidder look like the poster child for sanity. The next year he kills off those responsible for the mine catastrophe, causing Valentine's Day to be banned indefinitely. When it's decided that the once annual Valentine's dance would make a return, Harry Warden (or is it?) also makes a return, leaving morbid poems (yes, that was stolen in 2001s Valentine) with heart shaped boxes guessed it...human hearts. Mix in a love triangle between two former best friends and a little strumpet that strings them both along and you have My Bloody Valentine.

Viewing My Bloody Valentine in the way it was originally intended is an almost surreal experience. For years we've heard the tales of the lost footage and I for one never expected it to see the light of day. I guess something good can come out of a remake. In its theatrical form, the film felt castrated. Almost every single death was left to the viewers imagination, leaving something to be desired in the days of a decapitated Mrs. Voorhees. This extended cut has testicles. It doesn't shy away from the sometimes creative deaths, matching anything Savini did during those early days. As outstanding as the effects are for its time period, those watching it expecting it to Battle Royale out with splatters and brutality might find the footage disappointing. Please watch it with the understanding that these are cheap 80s practical effects, albeit extremely well done. If judging the theatrical cut, I would have given it a rating of a six, but this extended cut upped the ante and delivers a solid seven.

There's a number of elements that raise My Bloody Valentine above the onslaught of Halloween and Friday the 13th clones of the 80s. The number one being the location. Here we are at a blue collar mining town. It's run down and rustic, bringing a sense of gritty realism to a genre who's roots were laid in tree lined suburban streets and peaceful, lake view summer camps. Choosing to stage the entire third act underground in the mine was an immense strength. These aren't stupid horny teenagers running from a killer either. They're young adults struggling in miserable jobs, just trying to get by. With that said, any originality that was brought by making the characters working adults is unfortunately overlooked when you realize that they are still the same stereotypical slasher stock characters that we've seen a million times before. So much could have been done with these characters, but they dropped the ball. The killer's appearance in the full miners garb is a chilling sight and a truly noteworthy decision on behalf of the filmmakers. They were clearly trying to create the next iconic killer, but mediocre box office returns put the nail in the coffin of any franchise potential. Harry Warden is one veraciously relentless force. Seeing him stalk down the tunnels, smashing the lights with his pick axe is one of the most memorable images I had from watching this movie in my childhood.

One can argue that, although it has a cool killer and an effing sweet location, it doesn't merit as high a rating as a seven. That its story brings nothing new to the slasher table. True, it doesn't. In fact most of the story elements are ripped straight from Friday the 13th. But something can be said for the strong technical aspects and competence behind the camera. Despite its low budget, the film boasts an exceedingly professional look with potent set pieces. The filmmakers were also able to accomplish some unique and complex shot set ups that were often missing in other like films in favor of simple (and faster) wide-shot and shot-reverse-shot close-ups. There was time and talent put into assembling this movie and it’s not surprising that it was produced by the same team behind the well made (yet questionably ended) Happy Birthday to Me.

While the story is nothing new, the capable My Bloody Valentine has enough strengths to levitate it above most of its counterparts. This extended cut fills in the void left by the edited theatrical print and genuinely deserves a second chance to be viewed as it was meant to be.

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