My Bloody Valentine (1981)
My Bloody Valentine (1981)

Genre: Slasher Running Time: 1 hr. 30 min.

Release Date: February 11th, 1981 MPAA Rating: R

Director: George Mihalka Actors: Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier, Neil Affleck, Keith Knight, Alf Humphreys, Cynthia Dale, Helene Udy, Gina Dick, Don Francks

 


 

“M

y Bloody Valentine” certainly doesn’t score any points for originality: a masked murderer stalks victims for revenge on a particularly meaningful anniversary; he uses various grisly tools as fortuitous weaponry; teens serve as terrified sitting ducks; and local law enforcement is always one step behind. When the two-dimensional characters split up, investigate abandoned dark corridors alone, and understandably panic, it seems that every rule in the book of generic horror films is being precisely followed. With only a couple of hilariously awkward deaths, terrible dialogue, and sparse genuine scares, it’s no wonder that “My Bloody Valentine” failed to garner umpteen sequels like the films it attempts to emulate – including “Halloween,” “Friday the 13th,” and “Prom Night.”

A dated opening title sequence reveals the silly name for this desperate horror movie franchise. Set in the quaint town of Valentine Bluffs, the residents prepare for their first Valentine’s Day celebration in over 20 years. Long ago, during a fateful February 14th, miner Harry Warden (Peter Cowper) was trapped in a collapsed mineshaft due to negligible coworkers, and suffered through being buried alive – all while the townsfolk merrily continued their partying. When he was finally rescued, he went insane and mercilessly slaughtered those responsible for his accident. Harry was rumored to have been locked away in an asylum, but the town still refused to host any more Valentine’s Day parties, fearful that the tormented, pickaxe-wielding murderer would again stalk the denizens, ominously delivering freshly-plucked human hearts in candy boxes. Sadly, all of this information is provided to viewers through a poorly placed flashback, narrated by a grumpy old bartender.

Sure enough, as the reckless and carefree young miners stir up the grand celebrations, police chief Jake Newby (Don Francks) discovers a heart-shaped candy box with his name on it. And it expectedly contains the torn-out ticker of a young woman, who was shown briefly during the opening scene, during which she toys with a hulking miner in a dark tunnel – and he, of course, leaves his mask on during the foreplay. Despite the warnings from the chief, the party goes on, led by T.J. (Paul Kelman), Axel Palmer (Neil Affleck), and Sarah (Lori Hallier) – leading to further dead bodies turning up.

The gas-mask-wearing villain is hardly unique, with his bloodstained edged weapon, Darth Vader-like breathing sounds, and slow, menacing lilt. At least, the film gets right into the killing, starting with the unlikely victim of old lady Mabel. Although almost everyone in the film adds to the body count, the order in which they go and the methods in which they’re dispatched are sometimes unanticipated and laughably amusing. But where are the other elements of gratuitous young-adult horror movies? Somehow, this R-rated slasher is completely devoid of nudity, excessive blood, and pulse-pounding scares. Considering the target audience, the negligent edginess, and the thrills this picture is trying to achieve, it may not be an altogether bad selection for a remake.

– Mike Massie

  • 3/10