My Bloody Valentine 1981

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Coming right in the middle of the wave of holiday related slasher movies, My Bloody Valentine distinguishes itself from the other Friday the 13th rip-offs by, instead of being about teens being murdered, is about working men being splattered.

Well I say men, they are a fairly square jawed burly bunch, working in a mine and showering together, that sort of thing, but all the older town folk refer to them as kids. I don’t know if they are meant to be actual teen miners, they certainly act like it. They’re incredibly horny, snogging girls left right and centre, drink beer like they’re at a frat party and play hilarious practical jokes on each other. Of course despite being “the kids” they are played by thirty year old men. I have no idea what is going on here.

The main characters are all kind of check shirt wearing tough men and gals who like they’ve never been near a mining community in their lives. There are a couple of exceptions to this. There is the prankster who, surprisingly, is not this guy on the right:

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Hollis here, as he is known, is, in fact, is some kind of ultimate human being, at least until he dies horribly that is. He’s incredibly popular with both men and women, he has the hottest girl in town, a razor sharp moustache and can stop a fight between two thirty something kids just by steppign in between them. Everyone respects Hollis and his perfectly round glasses and his perfectly round stomach. Its quite refreshing to see a over weight nerd being treated like a god.

And it makes up for the fact that everyone else in this movie are a bunch of dicks. Especially the prankster. See if you can guess which one he is in the photo below:

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Yep, you got it. It’s the chap in the middle with the baseball cap. He even has one of those gas horns they used to blow at football matches, just for a laugh like. I want to punch him. Or stick a pick axe through him, which is lucky…

I feel when reviewing films that I should give at least some vague outline of the plot for the uninitiated but in these slashers its barely worth it. I think you can pretty much guess. But I’ll tell you anyway: there used to be a crazy person, trapped in the mine on Valentine’s Day who kills when ever the town holds a Valentine’s dance. Of course there hasn’t been a dance in twenty years but now that the mayor has decided enough time has past its time to hold another party. This is after Jaws came out when all American Mayors in movies made incredibly bad decisions whilst his constituents are being butchered. There’s also the local sheriff who is a blithering idiot, trying not to start a panic by not telling anyone that they’re all fucked, but in actuality making them all fucked for not telling them in the first place. Anyway, up pops a crazy person dressed as a miner with a panchant for slapping the aforementioned pick axe into people’s throat, stomach or face. You name it, he wants to stick a pick axe in it.

Except, I’m afraid he doesn’t. Being right in the middle of the slasher/holiday craze meant that My Bloody Valentine got some unwelcome attention from the censors and hardly has any gore in it. We cut away from the, er, money shots at every turn. (That picture at the top of the review – not in the film). Sometimes it is actually really difficult to tell if some one is dead or not because of the poor editing – not in the film itself, but from the hatchet job done on the effects sequences. For a film with the word “bloody” in the title its surprisingly light on the stuff, which is a shame because if you’re here for the acting or character development then you might as well leave now. Can we not have the gore inserted back in in this modern age? Maybe the negatives have been lost in a Paramount broom cupboard. What a pity.

Still it looks good, there’s some moody work going on down in the mines themselves with a good use of light and shadow, but without those kills we’re left with a quite pretty picture and some rubbish scripting. I mean, the kids don’t even believe about the killings twenty years ago, calling them “legends” and “fairy tales”. It was only twenty years ago guys, and as most of you are well into your thirties you would have been around when it was happening. In fact one of the characters was a witness to one of the murders so what are you all talking about?

Also, when the killer is revealed at the end, their motivation makes almost no sense at all, even with a handy flashback. And I’m pretty sure that that person was at the party with witnesses when one lad is being melted in a pot of hot dogs in the room next door.

Still, you know there are worst ways to spend your Valentine’s day. Like at a tense restaurent surrounded by other couples eating prawn cocktail from the set menu. Here there’s some resonably tense moments too. The miner’s gas mask makes him look pretty creepy, the pick axe can do some serious damage and there is enough heavy petting that you could almost call My Bloody Valentine a little bit romantic. Not between the killer and his victims though, if he was snogging them whilst sticking them with the axe, that would just be weird. Oh hang on, his first victim at the beginning of the film does snog him, and pumps his breathing pipe whilst she’s doing it. That’s not a euthemism by the way, she does give his breathing apparatus some up and down tugging. Must have been his annual Valentine’s treat.

Happy bloodless Valentine’s people.

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