While most of us think of Valentines Day as a time for love and romance, there are some (mostly fictional) people that associate it with blood and murder.
In the world of horror any celebration is worthy of a massacre, and so it was only a matter of time until a gruesome chain of events would lead to some teens being stalked by a psychopath on a day that is usually used to express affection.
My Bloody Valentine is one of the lesser known classic slasher films from the 1980’s released just after Friday the 13th and having many similarities including the group of goofy teenage victims, the mysterious unknown killer, the assumed grudge/motive behind the killings and the small, remote town location.
As the small mining town of Valentines Bluffs prepares for its Valentine’s Day dance, the local mayor and sheriff are unnerved when it seems that events from 20 years previous could be coming back to haunt them.
Harry Warden was once a resident and miner, but after being trapped underground due to the negligence of his colleagues Warden emerges as a deranged serial killer bent on revenge.
After slashing his way through the townsfolk he was caught and imprisoned. But now 20 years on, it seems that the scheduled Valentines dance has drawn him back and enticed him to kill again.
On the surface, My Bloody Valentine is a pretty standard slasher film for the era.
A nice balance is struck between characters, story and action and I for one remember it being quite alluring when I first saw it some 20 years ago.
It’s easy to feel an affinity for the residents of Valentines Bluffs and the black clad, gas masked figure doing the stalking couldn’t be much more a terrifying antagonist, pick-axing his way through town, taking hearts as he goes.
But although My Bloody Valentine is equal to its peer, Friday the 13th in terms of its production quality, it is inferior in terms of story and the ability of the cast. This is curious seeing as how on paper (budget) My Bloody Valentine had more to work with.
Beyond the rather large pot holes and overt product placement for Moose Head beer, it feels as though the actors are at odds on how to play this film out. One minute you’re watching heart felt, solemn performances and the next you’re subjected to tongue in cheek, almost slapstick acting.
No doubt there were always goofs in this kind of film, but it really does seem that a lack of direction led to a bit of confusion on how to interpret this bloody chain of events and their affect on the people involved.
It is still entertaining nonetheless. And the odd inventive kill twinned with the ultra-claustrophobic subterranean setting still helps this film to stand out above the more wordy, slow paced films of the time.
It may lack the three dimensional oomph of it’s 2009 successor, but on Valentines evening, it’s just as likely to encourage your loved one to inch closer for fear that some blood thirsty maniac might be lurking outside after the film draws to a close.