My Bloody Valentine (1981)
Directed by George Mihalka.
Cast: Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier, Neil Affleck, Keith Knight, Alf Humphreys, Cynthia Dale, Helene Udy, Rob Stein, Tom Kovacs, Terry Waterland, Peter Cowper.
1981 90 minutes
Rated: (for violence, sexual content, nudity and language).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, October 2008.
Howard (reading a Valentine card):
From the heart comes a warning filled with bloody good cheer,
remember what happened as the 14th draws near.
Twenty years ago, a group of workers became trapped in the collapsed mines of blue-collar town Valentine Bluffs while the rest of the residents enjoyed a nearby Valentine's dance. Only one survivor, Harry Warden, was pulled from the rubble, now insane and enacting murderous revenge before being sent to a mental facility. With two decades passed, the town prepares to once again celebrate the holiday. After mayor Howard (Art Humphreys) receives a human heart and a note of warning in a Valentine's box, he promptly cancels the festivities. This doesn't deter the dance committee, who make the unwise decision to relocate the celebration next to the mines.
As far as slashers go, "My Bloody Valentine" is fairly standard stuff. It was one of many to be released shortly after "Halloween
" made it fashionable to set your horror movie on a holiday. It also, for what it's worth, became notorious for falling victim to the stodgy constraints of the MPAA back in the day, most of its intended gorier moments sliced from the finished product (editor's note:
a director's cut reinserting this cut footage was finally released after this review was written). And yet, the film contains a pleasing atmosphere, turning a day dedicated to love into a day to be feared. Director George Mihalka switches things up by making his protagonists young working-class people rather than teens, and concludes with a creepy unforeseen twist and a last shot that is scarier than anything that has come before.