Hi, readers! It’s been awhile since my last post. I try to write at least once a week. Things have been a little busy for me, since I was invited to be a vendor at Walker Stalker Con NY/NJ 2014, a fan convention for The Walking Dead and lovers of zombies. I was happy and excited, then I realized that vendors need something to vend. So I’ve increased my production of my sketch cards which, as always, are available at my Etsy shop, plus I’ve started working on some larger paintings. I’ve been doing this while working on my job hunt, so things have gotten pretty busy for someone who’s unemployed. So, my updating schedule may be affected but I’ll try to maintain my posting.
Today’s movie is the 1981 Canadian slasher, My Bloody Valentine.
You know how everyone talks about a movie and how great it is? Then you watch it and think it was a whole lot of “meh.” I wouldn’t call My Bloody Valentine “meh” but I didn’t like it as much as other people do and now I feel guilty, I guess.
The town of Valentine Bluffs hasn’t celebrated Valentine’s Day for twenty years. Not since…the accident. Twenty years ago, there was a mining accident. The supervisors failed to check the methane levels and then left the miners underground, eager to get to the Valentine’s Day dance. There was an explosion, trapping five miners. Four of them died except for Harry Warden (Peter Cowper), who survived by cannibalizing his fellow miners. A year later, Harry had his revenge on the supervisors. He killed them and put their hearts in candy boxes. He told the town never to celebrate Valentine’s Day again but, twenty years later, the town is no longer afraid of Warden.
Everyone is super excited, especially the “young people” who work in the mine. I put young people in quotes because they look like they’re thirty but everyone treats them like they’re teenagers. I’m not really sure how old they’re supposed to be. The men all work in the mines and they’re all old enough to drink Moosehead Beer (Is that any good?) at a bar but the older people in town call them kids. Anyway, they’re all pretty excited for the dance.
Until people start turning up dead again. A woman is impaled on a pickax during the opening credits. Police chief Jake Newby (Don Francks) and Mayor Hanniger (Larry Reynolds) receive an anonymous Valentine that contains a human heart. Then Mabel (Patricia Hamilton), the woman organizing the dance, is stalked and killed by a man in a mining outfit.
Newby finds Mabel’s scorched body in a dryer. Enough carnage is enough, so he and Hanniger declare the party over. The “young people” are so disappointed that they go to the bar where Happy (Jack Van Evera) recounts the story of Harry Warden and warns them all of their impending doom.
Do they listen? Hell no! They decide to have a party in the mine. Where they are picked off one by one.
This movie was a mixed bag. The kills are all really well-done and hold up, even thirty-three years later. This is especially impressive considering that the movie cost two-million dollars to make. Especially memorable are Mabel’s death and Sylvia’s (Helene Udy) death. Sylvia sneaked out during the party with her boyfriend, John (Rob Stein). He leaves her alone to get some beer when the miner catches her and impales her on the shower nozzle.
The mine is a great setting for a slasher. It’s claustrophobic and creepy. You get the sense that if you get lost there that you’ll never find your way out. The miner is a formidable killer.
What I really liked was the blue-collar setting. That’s pretty unusual for a slasher, especially when so many deal with people who are clearly well-to-do (The Initiation) or in college (Hell Night and Black Christmas).
What I didn’t like were the people. They were the weak link and that’s kind of a big deal in making a really good slasher. The characters were pretty thin. The main characters are T.J. (Paul Kelman), Axel (Neil Affleck), and Sarah (Lori Hallier). T.J. is the mayor’s son. The mayor also happens to own the mine. T.J. was dating Sarah until he went west to make his fortune and then came back because he failed. When he came back, T.J. found that Axel was dating Sarah. This is interesting! Why did T.J. leave? How did he fail and what was he trying to do? If he’s the mayor’s son, why is he working in the mine? These are interesting ideas that could have been explored but they’re never really discussed. There are so many people in their group that they blur together and none of them really stand out. I wish they could be cut out and we could focus more on the T.J., Axel, and Sarah triangle.
The movie has the special effects and the creepy atmosphere but it lacks characters that we care about that would make it a really great slasher. Which makes me wonder why so many people love it so much.