It’s amazing anybody survives both the first and last quartile of any year, if you managed to escape ‘Halloween’, ‘Black Christmas’ and there wasn’t a ‘Friday the 13th’ included in any of the months ‘My Bloody Valentine’ will surely get you. Continuing the early 80s obsession with holiday specific slasher movies MBV showcases another distinctive serial killer determined to dampen everybody’s holiday spirits.
The legend of ‘Harry Warden’, a murdering maniacal miner, has prevented the small town of Valentine’s Bluff from celebrating a valentines evening dance for the last 20 years. However this year, 1981, they are risking it all, with town do-gooder ‘Maggie’ at the helm, their town of about 20 people, are going to party like it’s… well 1981. Just from the fact that you are even contemplating watching this movie I know you’re a brave soul. Being in Freddie’s boiler room gives you wet dreams, given half a chance you would poke Jason Vorhees right in the hockey mask eye and if you were feeling down you would probably ask Michel Myres to tell you a joke but… Harry… now that’s a name that’s risky to say at any point when you are not over a toilet.
All jokes aside and despite the not so ominous name, Harry Warden does party in style. Dressed to impress in full miner gear, gas mask included, and armed, not with flowers and chocolates but with a pick axe he effectively wipes out the town’s teenage population; did someone forget his invite or something. The costume looks wicked, very reminiscent of the killer’s outfit in ‘The Prowler’ and the pickaxe as well as his knife is always a cool way of dispatching people. The costume however, is not all looks, and naturally a mask is a way of hiding the killer’s true identity; oh dear have I just ruined the plot for you...
No I haven’t, actually if you have seen any other slasher movie of the era then you already know the plot. It’s true, as cool as the killer is, MBV is not the most innovative of movies in the genre, possibly a reason why it had no immediate sequels; for this reason you could be forgiven for having overlooked it. That said, for what it is, coupled with a cool location, an old mine in an isolated town, MBV does the job well enough and provides a solid enough backdrop for the characters to get killed off one by one.
Naturally the acting is not great but the actors do the job well enough with the limited script they have been given, and the subplots, well subplot, of 2 feuding guys over one girl help break up the non-violent parts meaning that the pace of the movie flows well at all times.
Naturally the best part of the movie comes from the murders. Now it must be stated that I watched the R2 Paramount release of the movie, which I found out, thanks to my girlfriend’s research, is actually cut by around 3.5 minutes; apparently a precursory measure taken to avoid further controversy descending from Paramount’s decision to show ‘Friday the 13th’ in all its gory glory a year earlier. Apparently Loinsgate’s release is the one to watch as it has all the previously cut scenes reintegrated. Naturally I cannot comment on the alternate version, however the violence on this release, although restricted is still good enough. We see the aftermath of a woman whose body is spun in a tumble drier, a few severed limbs, removed hearts and a decapitated head, all of which look reasonably convincing for the time they were made. I suppose the biggest let down comes from the fact that the actual onscreen deaths are pretty clean, sure you see the character bent double over the pickaxe but there is no blood; not so good. Still there is a pretty high body count and although the killer predominantly prefers his pickaxe there is a little variation every now and then.
Overall ‘My Bloody Valentine’ is one of those movies which really epitomises the ethos and atmosphere of early 80s horror. Whilst offering nothing new it won’t disappoint you if that’s what you want; it’s another of those movies which you can get pretty cheap and will do the job for a night in with your mates. So then a warning to you, don’t dance on valentines, Harry’s coming! why does that sound more lecherous than scary?