in Shocktober

My Bloody Valentine (1981)

My Bloody Valentine is one of the rare cases where I wasn’t aware of the film until it was remade. Does that mean something good came from a remake? Not really. I say that because there isn’t really anything special about My Bloody Valentine. The film was released during a time where holiday themed horror movies were a dime a dozen. A list that includes such “classics” as; Mother’s Day, Christmas Evil, April Fool’s Day, Home Sweet Home (Thanksgiving), Terror Train (New Year’s), Happy Birthday to Me, and Silent Night, Deadly Night to name a few. Then why bother with My Bloody Valentine? Probably the main reason it’s been remembered is because of the bad-guy. A blood-thirsty miner with a pick axe! Not only that but he has a grudge against Valentine’s Day. That’s hilarious!

Set in the small mining town of Valentine Bluffs, somewhere presumably in Canada, a Valentine’s Day tragedy still hangs over the town. Twenty-odd years ago five miners were trapped in a mine accident when the crew’s two foremen left early to attend the town’s Valentine’s Day dance. Six weeks later, the sole survivor of the crew Harry Warden was discovered in the mine, surviving by eating his dead co-workers. Harry goes off to a mental institution and a year later returns to Valentine Bluffs to kill the two foremen. Harry then removes their hearts, places them into heart-shaped candy boxes and warns the town that if they ever have another Valentine’s Day dance, he’ll come back. Silly yes, but it’s a ludicrously fun way to setup the action of the film.

Years later, when Harry Warden has become no more than a relic of the past, the town decides to have another Valentine’s celebration. So we follow a mixed group of townspeople, but primarily a group of rough ‘n tough coal miners who like hard drinks and easy women. The main miners are two equally boring guys (couldn’t tell you their names if you put a gun to my head) who love the same girl. I guess one is more out-going and the other is more quiet and reserved, whatever. So the mayor plans the celebration and what does he get? A heart-shaped box with a human heart inside and a written warning. Does he cancel the party? Of course not, so lots of people die… That’s basically it.

So you’re probably asking yourself if the killer is actually Harry Warden or some other character we get to know in the film, so I’ll tell ya. SPOILER! the killer is the more out-going of the two main guys, cause his dad was one of the foremen Harry killed. So let me get this straight. This guy was so upset by the murder of his father that he decided to become the murderer? There has to be something I missed because that doesn’t make any sense to me. Though seeing as there are only so many important characters it had to be one of them. It pretty much comes down to “Is it the more mysterious guy? Or the guy who is played up as completely normal.” Not too hard to get fooled by that one.

I’ll give My Bloody Valentine props for the look of it’s villain. A miner walking around with a pick-axe, that’s pretty cool. I also like his legend, as corny as it may be. That said a great deal of this movie felt very stock. The quick scares, predictable twists and turns, and the climax was so dark I couldn’t even tell what was happening. Regarding the end, there was something at the end credits that really made my day. A song by some Gordon Lightfoot-esque sounding folk singer about the legend of Harry Warden. It was the dumbest and therefore best part of the whole movie. The fact that someone is singing so seriously about the legend of some slasher villain… Only in Canada.