directed by: George Mihalka (back of video blurb): choice dialogue:
starring: Lori Hallier, Paul Kelman, Neil Affleck, Don Francks
"20 years ago, a tragic accident in a mine on St. Valentine's day took the lives of five miners. The disaster occured while supervisors left their posts to attend the towns annual Valentine's dance. The only survivor, Harry Warden was confined to a mental institution after the ordeal. On the disaster's first anniversary, he returned to the town for bloody revenge. That was 19 years ago, and memories have dimmed. Young lovers T.J. (Paul Kelman) and Sarah (Lori Hallier) and friend Axel (Neil Affleck) are among the townspeople attending another Valentine's party. Then, a box of Valentine candy arrives, containing an ominous message and a blood-soaked heart. Before the night is over, terror will strike again and again...."
(back of video blurb): choice dialogue:
This is everything that a teen slasher should be; fun, thrilling and above all scary. Easily one of the best of the post-HALLOWEEN (1978) teenie-kill movies.
The film opens with a woman, who has a tattoo of a heart on her left breast, attempting to seduce a man- whose face is hidden behind a gasmask. Around them the dank darkness of an underground mine. She runs her hands up and down the gasmask’s tube (in a quite salacious manner!), batting her eyes and giggling coquettishly. The man reaches out a trembling black gloved hand towards her heaving bosom, but instead of embracing her, he pushes her violently backwards- impaling her on a spike, the tip of which bursts through her tattoo. The screen goes black and the legend 'My Bloody Valentine' appears- the two ‘o’’s in ‘bloody’, become two bleeding hearts.....(And already you know you are in for a real class bit of 80’s cheese!).....The action shifts to the town of ‘Valentine Bluffs’, its Thursday February 12th and preparations are underway for the first Valentine’s dance in 20 years. The teenage mine workers and their girlfriends want to P-A-R-T-Y, and pay little heed to the dire warnings of the (wonderfully hammy) bar tender. "The dance is cursed!", he mutters in time honoured fashion, before recounting the legend of Harry Warden, a miner who went insane after he was trapped in a cave-in ,which was due to the fact that the Valentine’s dance had distracted the attentions of the mine’s bosses. The next Valentine’s day Harry Warden escaped and came back to town, killing the two men he felt were responsible. And ever since, there hadn’t been a Valentine’s dance planned -until that year. Oh, the foolishness of youth! The teenagers ignore his campy gurning and continue to prepare for the party. "You gotta see the dress I got. Cut down to there, split up to here....I may not get out alive!" - remarks one girl to her friend, with remarkable foresight! But just as the town is fully decked out ,all pink and fluffy, the dance is cancelled- cue many a stuck out bottom lip. The reason, which the kids don’t know, is that people in town are starting to receive heart shaped candy boxes containing real human hearts, along with sinister (if not exactly poet laureate level) rhymes- "It happened once, it happened twice, cancel the dance or it’ll happen thrice!". The day before Valentine’s Day is Friday 13th February- (a sly nod to Paramount’s huge grossing slasher of the previous year). But, despite the date and the dire warnings the youth rebell and plan an illicit party of their own. Some bright spark suggests the dark and gloomy mine and they all high-tail it out there. They are joined by someone dressed all in black, breath heavy and laboured, face hidden by a gasmask (splashed in gore) and carrying a huge pick axe. Let the good times begin! Soon the beer and the blood begins to flow freely....
MY BLOODY VALENTINE is a hugely enjoyable piece of hokum. Fairly well acted, with likeable leads. It has a high sheen gloss, the above average production values and crisp cinematography really help make it a class item- of course this was the time that the studios were putting their money behind the lucrative ‘teens-in-peril’ sub-genre. It also benefits by slightly poking fun at itself, but without turning into a dreaded ‘horror-comedy’. The cast plays it dead straight, but seem to be having fun with some of the sub-genres conventions ,(even in ‘81 the Scooby Doo clichés were becoming glaringly apparent). The setting is also used to great spooky effect- as the surviving teens try and find their way up from the confusing maze of mine tunnels you are never quite sure what lurks behind each darkened corner, or what hides in the shadows. The film also manages a good few ‘popcorn-jolts’, as well as being, in places, genuinely frightening- no more so than when the killer walks slowly, in pursuit, after the hapless teens, smashing each light bulb with his pick axe- delving more and more of the mine into total blackness. One thing that does hurt the flow of the film is the bad editing during the death scenes- this is not the fault of the director, rather a cack-handed censor. Much of the film’s gore was trimmed by the American censors for an R-rating and even more by the BBFC. And if any slasher movie from the 80’s is crying out for a uncut special edition on DVD (please God!), it’s MY BLOODY VALENTINE.....One word of advice though, after you have been thrilled by the twist ending make sure you sit through the end credits, your jaw will drop as the cheesiest end of movie song in the world ever wafts out of the speakers with the scent of gorgonzola. Here are a couple of choice lines... "Of the legend they say on a Valentine’s Day is a curse that’ll live on & on...And no one will know of the horror of long time ago." -etc......And whilst on a musical note, MY BLOODY VALENTINE is probably the only slasher film that has given it’s name to a group- the sublime Brit noise architects who adopted that moniker. But whilst I’m rambling- another Brit group ‘Terrorvision’ did a song about the predicament of the final girl in FRIDAY 13TH (1980) called (correct me if I’m wrong)- 'What’s the matter Alice'. Possibly a musical trend? Hmmm, probably not!......Finally, I dug up this short review from the November 1981 ‘Films on screen & video’, which I found quite amusing, I hope you like it too:
BODYCOUNT 12 female:5 / male:7
1) Female impaled on spike
2&3) Two males pickaxed to death (one unseen)-hearts removed
4) Female pickaxed and then tumble dried to death!
5) Male pickaxed through chest
6) Male teen has face pushed in pot of boiling water
7) Female impaled on shower unit
8&9) Male and Female teens impaled by industrial drill whilst having sex
10) Male nailgunned in head
11) Male teen hung
12) Female teen pickaxed in stomach