Monday, 4 December 2017

My Bloody Valentine (1981)

My Bloody Valentine has little in the way of scares but there is enough gore and enough of a deviation from the usual slasher film template to make it stand out from the crowd and be worth a look.

The story (which, weirdly, reminded me of Jaws) takes place in the little coal mining town of Valentine Bluffs, where the residents are planning their first Valentine's Day party in 20 years. The last time they held one, there was an accident in the mine, an accident caused by the mine's safety officers being at the party. Only one man, Harry Warden, survived, and he killed the people responsible and ordered the town never to have another Valentine's party. So, what could possibly go wrong?

The cliché with slasher films is to have the story revolving around sexually charged teenagers, but here the story revolves around adults with jobs. What also sets this apart from others in the subgenre is the way director George Mihalka makes use of the locations, tying the story to the coal mining town (a real one in Nova Scotia was used) something which grounds the convoluted, slightly silly story, and the mine itself certainly adds to the claustrophobia.

A film where a deranged killer is cutting out people's hearts with a pickaxe is not going to skimp on the gore, so it's no surprise to hear that My Bloody Valentine suffered at the hands of the censors. The version doing the rounds now has had some of this restored, and the blood certainly gives a shocking jolt of energy which goes someway to compensating for the lack of inventiveness in the kills.