Review Date: August 30, 2002
Released by: Paramount
Release date: 9/3/2002
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes
It's Valentine Day, 1960. A small town, appropriately named Valentine Bluffs, is having its annual Valentine's Day dance; a town tradition for the past 100 years. Everyone is there except for seven miners who are still out at the Hanniger mine - the primary place of employment for the town. Five men are still below in the mine while two supervisors wait above. The supervisors, being anxious to get to the dance, left early while the men were still below. Due to extremely high methane gas levels, an explosion occurrs down in the mine, leaving the five men buried alive. Rescue crews eventually reach the men, but only one is still live. That one was Harry Warden. He spent a year in the state mental hospital. One year later he returned to town, killing the two supervisors who left their post early. Harry left a bloody surprise for the town, warning them to never have another Valentine's Day dance again. If they do, he'll return once again to seek bloody vengeance against the town.
Fast forward twenty years later to 1980. The mine is still the town's primary place of employment, but there hasn't been a single dance since that awful night in 1960. That is, until now. Yes, with Harry Warden no longer fresh in everyone's mind, the town has decided it's time to start up its age old tradition once again and have a Valentine's Day dance. In charge of this year's festivities is Mabel Osborne (Patricia Hamilton
), who goes all out and decorates the entire town with Valentine's Day decorations. All of the young miners, along with their girls, are excited about the dance. As the 14th draw nears, Mayor Hanniger (Larry Reynolds
) receives a human heart wrapped in a Valentine's Day box. In the box is a warning, a warning that as the 14th draws near, remember what happened, and what will happen again should the town celebrate Valentine's Day.
When Mabel Osborne is found murdered, the mayor has no choice but to call off the dance. When Chief Jake Newby (Don Francks
) informs the miners, failing to mention the murder or human heart as the reason for the cancellation, they are not pleased with news. All the chief will tell them is that Mabel has passed away, and that they canceled the dance out of respect for Mabel. Jessie Hanniger (Paul Kelman
), a young miner and the son of the mine's owner, decides to throw his own Valentine's party down as the mine. He invites all of the younger miners and their girls, including Sarah (Lori Hallier
), his ex-girlfriend that he's trying to get back, and Axel (Neil Affleck
), Sarah's new boyfriend. Unbeknownst to the miners, Harry Warden is hot on their trail and ready for some bloody mayhem. When several of the miners and their girls decide to head down into the mine for a little tour, the body count rises and they finally realize that Harry's back. Now, trapped in the mine with a homicidal killer, the remaining survivors must try and escape before they too fall victim to Harry's bloody pick.
A Canadian slasher! Who would have thought, eh? Sorry, I had to sneak that in somewhere, eh? Alright, I'm done! That's out of my system now. My Bloody Valentine
is a genuinely creepy slasher thanks to some wonderful visuals (more on that later). It's a slasher that has the advantage of being released before Jason Vorhees was a household name. That's right, there is no Friday the 13th
ripoff here. My Bloody Valentine
was released in 1981, the same year as Friday the 13th Part 2
- the Friday where Jason made his big screen debut as a slasher. It's all moot, of course. If My Bloody Valentine
didn't rip off Friday the 13th
, then people will complain it ripped off Twitch of the Death Nerve. In the end, none of those pointless debates matter. As horror fans, we simply cannot get enough slasher movies. The more the merrier!
Gore is light, which is unfortunate. From what I've heard, there were a fair amount of gore shots that had to be cut in order to get the R rating. Sad, sad, sad if true. But there are still some great effects, such as the human heart in the candy box and a crispy corpse falling out from a dryer, just to name a few. There's also no obligatory t&a shots, an unfortunate result of being made in the early 80s. But there are the horny teenagers (young adults in this case, I suppose) looking for all sorts of places to have sex as they await certain death. There's also the crazy old kook warning everyone of what's to come.
What made My Bloody Valentine
so enjoyable for me was the creepy and atmospheric last half hour as the miners were trapped down in the mine with Harry Warden. I actually jumped out of genuine surprise and shock during the last half hour. And I tell you, it's been years since a movie made me jump like that. Certainly what helps create such a creepy environment is the fact that many of those final scenes were filmed in an actual mine up in Canada. The mine is very dark, with the only source of light being small lightbulbs and the lights on the miners' helmets. The shadows of the miners, and even the shadow of Harry's pick, hitting the mine walls is very effective in creating a realistic environment. You almost feel a bit claustrophobic from it all, as if you're down there with them.
Now, as a big Jason fan I have to say that Harry Warden is no Jason Vorhees. Perhaps I'm a bit bias since I grew up on Friday the 13th
movies, but it's true that Harry just doesn't have enough screen time here. And yes, it is true that Jason has the advantage of umpteen sequels under his belt. But it's also true that until the last half hour, we see very little of Harry Warden. There weren't enough chase scenes, or enough gore for that matter, to really let Harry shine. In the end, My Bloody Valentine
is an entertaining and enjoyable slasher. It's lacking in some areas, but it still packs a punch in the scare department. Recommended!
Once again Paramount has given horror fans a beautiful transfer. Presented for the first time in widescreen, My Bloody Valentine
is shown in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced. The image is generally razor sharp with very few soft scenes. Light grain is present in some of the darker scenes down in the mine, but it's minimal and never gets heavy or overly distracting. I was expecting more grain, actually, so I was pleasantly surprised here. Shadows down in the mine are just downright beautiful to look at on this transfer; they're all so clear and detailed. There are occasional signs of print damage, consisting mostly of a few specks of dirt here and there, but again, it's minimal and certainly not overly distracting. Colors on the transfer are consistently vivid and vibrant. In case you can't tell, I was extremely pleased with this transfer overall. Paramount has once again done a wonderful job with restoring this classic horror movie. I'm rating it with an A-.
My Bloody Valentine
is presented with a Dolby mono soundtrack. Sound is clear and audible with no distortion or other problems noted. The track actually sounds quite good and powerful for a mono track; certainly one of the better ones I've heard.
Sadly, no extras are present on the DVD. I would have at least liked to have seen a trailer, but I know they're not always available.
Once again Paramount has released a top notch DVD in terms of audio/video quality, yet falls completely short in the supplements department. Many of those who are now spoiled by DVD will complain over the $24.99 price tag, but I still believe any DVD with great audio/video is worth twice that, regardless of the extras. Overall I found My Bloody Valentine
to be an enjoyable slasher movie. It's no Friday the 13th Part 2, 3, 4, 6, or 7
- Jason is a much better and more effective killer than Harry Warden the 'Psycho Miner', but it does have genuinely creepy moments to it, good pacing, beautiful visuals, and some decent, albeit short on gore, death scenes. I recommend both the movie and this top notch DVD from Paramount.
Movie - B
Image Quality - A-
Sound - A-
Supplements - N/A
- Running time - 1 hour 30 minutes
- Rated R
- 1 Disc
- Chapter stops
- English Mono
- French Mono
- English subtitles