Monday, October 7, 2013

My Bloody Valentine (1981)

Well it’s October, which normally means all horror all the time in my house but by some kind stroke of karma from the gods, the Pittsburgh baseball Pirates are still playing baseball. WE ARE STILL PLAYING BASEBALL! IN OCTOBER! so horror-watching has been a bit light.

Last week during an off night, we watched the Canadian slasher film My Bloody Valentine (1981). As soon as I saw the cover image, I remembered that I had watched the 3D remake of it several years ago but I had the wrong side of the disc in the DVD player, so it wasn’t actually in 3D and I was just squinting through these crappy glasses for nothing. As a result, I actually didn’t remember much of the plot.

Like all great slasher films, the plot is that a bunch of bad stuff happens on the anniversary of a bad thing happening. Actually, that statement could probably be amended to cover all slasher films period. Do the bad things ever just happen out of the blue in slashers? I can’t really think of one that does.  In the case of My Bloody Valentine, the anniversary is of a mining accident twenty years prior that caused the deaths of five miners and the immense trauma of the sixth, a man named Harry Warden. The accident could have been avoided, had the mine supervisors not been so anxious to get themselves over to the town Valentine’s Day dance. One year after the accident, the lone survivor murdered the two supervisors with a pickaxe (best weapon, seriously) then ripped out their hearts and put them into decorative chocolate boxes with a warning to the town to never have another Valentine’s dance OR ELSE. As far as warnings go, a human heart inside a heart-shaped chocolate box is really badass.
So, I am really into this premise for two reasons. 1) it’s 50% classic slasher and 50% Footloose (“You won't get any dancing here, it's illegal!”) and 2) I also hate dances so I can really get down with the idea of murdering people for having one. For sure. For whatever reason, two decades later the town decides to have this Valentine’s Day dance anyway and people start turning up dead. Guess who’s back! Back again! Naturally, some teenagers decide to have a party anyway because teenagers are dumb and often deserve to die, and naturally they decide to have it at the mine because WHAT COULD BE MORE SAFE THAN THAT?

The costuming of the killer (full mining gear complete with mask) is a really great choice because it incorporates the eerie expressionlessness of Michael Myers from Halloween and Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th—somehow it’s so much scarier to not see any sort of countenance or emotion on the face of the killer. All in all, My Bloody Valentine has some pretty good scares and decent death scenes and a nice twist at the end, so I was pretty pleased with it if not terribly frightened by it. I was about to call it a night and stroll leisurely upstairs to bed when I remembered being told that this version I was watching courtesy of Amazon Instant stream was actually the edited version, and an uncut version had been released later by a different studio. As it turns out, a full nine minutes of pure, graphic, gory horror were cut from the original version of the film to maintain a tolerable rating. I found the uncut scenes on Youtube and? And? And? Holy shit. They are awesome. Please seek out the unedited version of this movie and watch them—I  don’t want to spoil all of them, but I am going to spoil this one.

Yessss! Pickaxes are definitely the best weapons. Also, yes, I am aware that this blog is just denigrating into me drawing gruesome pictures with lots of blood like a child who isn't getting enough attention at home. It can't be helped.

So, I was scared after all. I’m not sure what it is about slashers as a genre, but I feel like my post-slasher ritual is to start out walking up the stairs and then find myself at a full run, two-steps-at-a-time, there's-definitely-something-chasing-me-oh-my-god by the top. I’m almost 30. This is who I am. 

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