Saturday, February 14, 2009


It's Valentines Day....what review could I possibly bung up as an outrageous tie in (and that I've just got the special edition of)?

My Bloody Valentine (1981).
Dir: George Mihalka
Cast: Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier, Neil Affleck, Keith Knight, Larry Reynolds, Patricia Hamilton, Alf Humphreys, Cynthia Dale, Helene Udy, Rob Stein, Tom Kovacs, Don Francks and Peter Cowper.

My Bloody Valentine, fucking awful Photoshop.

"Chief, listen to me. You have to go to the mine! We were having a party and Harry Warden started killing everybody!"

February the 14th, 1960, and the small mining town of Valentine Bluffs is having its annual Valentine's Day dance; a tradition that the townsfolk have followed for the past century.

Everyone is frugging away to hit pop tunes and tanking the local home brew save for five miners still digging away at the coalface and their two supervisors who, feeling particulary frisky and not wanting to have gotten dressed up for nothing, decide to leave for the party whilst their colleges are still underground.

I mean it's not like anything could go wrong is it?

Well, nothing except a huge explosion caused by a build up of methane gas (see? who says films aren't educational?) leaving the five miners buried alive (and more importantly, late for their dates).

After hours of digging (thru' rock, not the 1960's fashions) the towns rescue workers finally reach the trapped men. Unfortunately all except Harry Warden (the films stunt coordinator Cowper) are dead.

And poor old Harry has gone a wee bit mental because of the ordeal, so the local townsfolk cart him off to the Shady Nook rest home for a while.

You can see why tho', you really don't want some dirt covered, piss stained fella crying about his dead buddies when you're trying to get into the vicars daughters undies do you?

"Can you smell cabbage?"

After spending a year sitting in a pair of toweling pajamas and staring into space whilst dribbling Harry is deemed fit for release and is sent home on the eve of the accident that sent him mental in the first place.

Which is nice of the doctors to take this into consideration when thinking about discharging him.
It should come as no surprise then to find out that the first thing he does on arrival is butcher the two supervisors who left their post early to go dancing and leave a chilling warning for the townsfolk that if they even think about having another Valentine's Day dance, he'll return once again to take bloody revenge on the town.

Which is a little extreme don't you think?

Jump forward to 1980 and, whilst the mine is still the town's main place of employment, there hasn't been a single dance or party held in town since that terrible night in 1960.

That is, until now.

You see, lovely old lady Mabel Osborne (Hamilton, star of The Fenn Street Gang and Upstairs, Downstairs - no, really) has decided that the town needs something to look forward and to forget about the mine disaster and wacky Warden.

To this end she spends her every waking hour decorating the town with Valentine's Day decorations whilst the younger residents begin to get all excited at the prospect of a night of dancing, drinking and shagging in bushes.


As Valentine's Day draws ever nearer the town's Mayor, Jeff Hanniger (Reynolds, better known as Judge Burton from the hit teevee show Street Legal) wakes to find a resh human heart wrapped in a lovely Valentine's Day packaging has been popped thru' his letter box.

Which at least shows that the town has a damn good postal service, I mean I'm still waiting on a box of blank DVD's after three weeks.

Attached to the box is a warning to expect a few more killings if the town decides to go ahead and celebrate Valentine's Day.

Heart in mah box!

If this wasn't enough of a warning the mysterious messenger has murdered poor Mabel as well, just to show he means business.

Hanniger calls off the dance, getting local police chief Jake Newby (Francks, the voice of Sabretooth in the X-Men vs. Street Fighter video game no less) to tell everyone that Mabel fell down the stairs and that it's being cancelled as a sign of respect.

But the hotheaded (yet deep) miner (and son of the town's mayor) Jessie 'TJ' Hanniger (Ryan O'Neill alike, bollock squashing jeans wearing Kelman), recently returned home after failing to make it as an exotic dancer in the big city, desperate for a drink and gagging for some of the sex of his ex-girlfriend Sarah (blond, sensible underwired bra wearing teevee stalwart Hallier) decides to throw his own special Valentine's party down in the mine itself.

You can tell that beneath his rough exterior that he's a nice guy tho' because along with Sarah and all the other hip young miners he's also invited Sarah's current beau, the uber-cool Axel (Affleck, better known these days as an animation timer on The Simpsons).

Well, it's either that or he fancies a Sarah Spit roast.

All set for a wee bit o' mooth shite-in.

But can you guess who's already down the mine waiting for the young uns to turn up?

Yup it's horrid Harry Warden, all decked up in Kwik Fit garage overalls and a handy gas mask ready to slice n' dice his way thru' anyone who even remotely looks like they may start jiving or cutting a rug as the young folk say.

Unfortunately a couple of the miners and their girlfriends have decided to start the party early and head down into the mine for a little tour (and some kissing and stuff), giving Harry a head start to his killing spree and the chance to stick something unexpected into the ladies.

When Jessie and co. finally arrive to discover a pile of corpses they begin to realize that Warden is indeed back for vengeance.

Trapped in the mine with only a six pack of Bud and the homicidal Harry chasing them with a rusty pick axe, the remaining party goers must try and escape before they too end up having a very bloody Valentine....

"Are you my Mummy?"

George Mihalka's My Bloody Valentine is probably more famous for what it was missing rather than what appeared on screen, as nervous Paramount execs decided to gut the film of any and every gore scene before it's release way back in 1981.

Despite this the movie still stands up as a competent (if slightly pedestrian) little shocker with an interestingly dressed villain and slightly more rounded than usual characters, taking an essentially cheesy premise yet playing it totally straight.


Luckily some smart Alec decided to remake My Bloody Valentine as a high concept 3-D shocker (the rights must of been cheap) so, suddenly all that missing footage has turned up and been quickly re-instated allowing for the directors original vision to finally be seen as intended.

Or to make a few extra bob of those punters too young to remember the original.

Up the casino. Yesch.

And what a difference it makes.

Adding an extra dimension to the manic miners reign of bloody terror, the scratchy footage (it's been stuck in the directors loft for 28 years so what do you expect?) gives a much missed air of evil nastiness to Wardens revenge, making you wonder why this gas masked gimp was never taken to the audiences hearts as so many other slasher stars of the era were.


Competently acted, nicely shot and directed with a steady, workman-like hand (obviously the rest of George's body was OK too), My Bloody Valentine deserves a wider appeal.

Hopefully the kids'll give it the chance it deserves.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention the most important thing about this movie... the fact that it actually contains the line "Laugh now!"