Wednesday, April 09, 2008

My Bloody Valentine

Congrats to Richard for the nice mention of his site on American Movie Classics' Monsterfest blog. In honor of this, I present my review of My Bloody Valentine, which seemed to fall into a black hole after I e-mailed it off.

My Bloody Valentine
Directed by George Mihalka
Released: 1981 by Paramount Pictures
Starring: Paul Kelman, Neal Affleck, Lori Hallier

I think it’s safe to say that if it weren’t for an amazing Irish rock band supposedly taking its name from the film, My Bloody Valentine would have fallen into complete obscurity. Not to diss horror buffs who hunt down obscure movies, but there’s a reason why My Bloody Valentine sounds a little more familiar than Grapes of Death to the average horror fan. So, for the many that have spent hours delving into the band’s masterpiece Loveless, you might be let down by My Bloody Valentine the film.

Set in a small town with a large mine employing most of its twentysomething male residents, the town is getting ready for a Valentine’s Day dance. This will be the first Valentine’s Day dance since disaster struck twenty years ago. When townsfolk start turning up dead – supposedly by the town’s version of Michael Myers – the dance is canceled. However, when the attendees decide to relocate the festivities to the mine, the body count soon rises.

I have to give credit to the filmmakers for setting the film in a nontraditional setting. Letting a killer loose in a low-lit mine is better than say, a sorority house, a rundown mansion or a cabin. While that’s nice and all, the movie doesn’t really kick in until the third act.

Up until then, it’s the kind of movie that Student Bodies (also released in ’81 by Paramount) perfectly mocks. Everything needed for a splatter flick gets checked off here. You set the film around the day of a widely-known celebration. You see murders from the perspective of the killer (who sounds suspiciously like Michael Myers breathing through Darth Vader’s apparatus). You see plenty of blood, guts and organs. You see bare breasts from a well-endowed woman. You see sexually-crazed guys and girls get picked off one or two at a time. You have a sheriff that seems to be the only sheriff in town. And most importantly, you throw out logic once the real killer is revealed.

As a whole, My Bloody Valentine is not complete camp, but it’s not that great. Some of the acting is good, but the rest is soap opera level at best. A love triangle adds some great tension, but hammy plot exposition and an over-the-top score raise the level of camp. But it’s still worth renting if you’re that curious.

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