nothing especially different about My
Blood Valentine, although like most slasher fare, it has distinctions. The key distinction that some critics highlight is that this film is set
in a mining town. So is The
Boogens, but that film is about a monster in a mine, whereas My
Bloody Valentine is about a slasher in a mine.
not exactly a "slasher." Taking full thematic advantage of its mining
milieu, the psycho-killer in My
Bloody Valentine utilizes a mining pickax. So he's not technically
a slasher, but rather a ... what do you call it when someone slams a pick
ax through your chest?
that's what he is.
slashers, he was traumatized long ago. Twenty years ago, in his case,
when five miners were irresponsibly abandoned by supervisors who wanted
to attend the town's Valentine Day Party. See, it's the party
of the year in this town. Not Christmas or New Year's.
the town is named Valentine Village.
the whole town partied, unaware of a methane explosion that buried the
five miners. By the time they were unburied days later, four had
died. The remaining miner had gone mad. He was committed to
an asylum, declared cured, and released one year later. On Valentine's
Day he returned and killed the two supervisors, then vowed that he would
kill again should the town ever again hold a Valentine Day's party.
years later, Valentine Village does just that ... and the body count mounts!
the holiday, My
Bloody Valentine features a love triangle. Two miners (Paul Kelman
and Neil Affleck) after the same girl (Lori Hallier). She was Kelman's
girl once, until he left "for the west coast" to make his fortune. Having failed, he returns to Valentine Village. But by then she's
taken up with Affleck. Naturally, the two miners were once best buddies. And naturally, the girl is torn over whom to choose.
of the cast is largely comic relief, female eye candy, and slasher fodder. There's the cutup whose "class clown" antics are more appropriate to a
frat house than down in a mine. There's the fat one. There's
his chubby girlfriend. There's the couple whom we've never seen before,
until, late in the film, they accompany our heroes down into the mine. You know they're just coming along to be killed.
the lead actors provide some depth, most of the cast seem drawn from among
director Mihalka's friends. We know whenever they're scared or shocked
because then they clutch their heads and stare googly-eyed in frozen fear. Enough of them do it to indicate that it's at the behest of Mihalka's directorial
and dialogue are banal and inanely generic. Much time is spent wandering
around drinking beer, or "whooping" and giving thumbs up to show they're
partying or thinking about partying, or clutching their googly-eyed faces
to show they're scared.
have highlighted My
Bloody Valentine's Canadian location. It works. Clear wintry
sky and plain houses reinforce the sterility of life in a small company
town. One understands Kelman's decision to try his luck on "the west
coast." A romantic interlude between him and Hallier upon windblown
grass fronting a lake (a bay, the Atlantic?) deepens their characters,
raising the film a notch about standard slasher fare.
Bloody Valentine opens with death, and the killings continue till the
end. The gore is common slasher fare. A head is dunked into
a pot of boiling water (although my favorite boiling pot death is from Sleepaway
Camp). A body is frozen in the fridge (as in Paralyzed). Two lovers are jointly spiked upon their bed (as per Friday
the Thirteenth: Part 2).
face is hidden by a gas mask until the film's end, which is appropriate. Horror psychos are empowered when depersonalized behind masks. Psychos
often appear weak and pathetic when we see them (Don't
Go in the House, Visiting
Hours, Maniac, The
Toolbox Murders), and such films often devolve from mythic horror into
Bloody Valentine is a golden oldie from 1980s slasher cycle, not much
different from the other 743 Halloween clones. Unlike today's smug, slick, smart-alecky, self-referential,
studio "horror" films, My
Bloody Valentine is grassroots splatter. A simple, honest body-count
film, from an innocent bygone era. What more can you ask?
Review copyright by Thomas
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