Monday, February 14, 2011

My Bloody Valentine

They take Valentine's Day very serious in Valentine Bluffs.

When two mining foremen leave work a bit early to get to the annual Valentine's Dance, five hapless miners blow themselves to bits. Lone survivor Harry Warden learns that while everyone in town was boogeying the night away, he and his chums were dying. This doesn't sit right with Harry. Next Valentine's Day he murders the two foreman, wraps their hearts in little candy boxes and delivers them to the dance with a note: No more Valentine's Dances. Ever.

Twenty years later when most of the townsfolk except the elderly have forgotten all about Harry and the murders, another dance is scheduled. And what happens? Harry immediately returns and starts pick-axing people again and sending their hearts via currier to the Mayor and his cronies.

Being as how this isn't Amity Beach, but somewhere in Canada (whenever someone apologizes, they intone a heartfelt "soory"), the Mayor cancels the dance. A couple freshly plucked hearts is all it takes to get his attention. But for good measure Harry kills another person, which makes him sort of an asshole. Maybe he was just trying to make a point.

In another genre-defying touch, our victims here are all coal miners and their girlfriends, not amorous teens. (Oh the Canadians are so cute, aren't they?) Sure they're amorous, and they all get killed for it, but they're actually a bunch of blue-collar types.

But in the end this is a slasher film, so certain precepts still apply: the killer is able to be in two places at once; has the ability to teleport wherever he needs, usually right behind someone; and once it's discovered a deranged murderer is on the loose, all parties immediately split up into kill-friendly little groups.

Not wanting to be denied their first dance in memory, the miners relocate things on the sly to the mine and surrounding property. This of course lures Harry closer to his victims and gives him a definite home turf advantage. As expected, they are knocked off one by one, usually with a pick axe, or some sort of mining equipment. Harry even throws in the classic two-lovers-skewered-together, using an industrial drill. Though, the nastiest death is the poor schmuck who gets dunked face-first into a pot of boiling wieners. Drowning in hot dog water! Damn, that's just nasty.

By the time the end rolls around and the bodies are piled up we're given a "surprise twist" ending that will mostly leave you scratching your head if you think too hard about it. With some films, it's best not to do that. My Bloody Valentine is no exception.

Still, this film is much better than it has any right to be. Worth checking out on Valentine's Day.

Directed by George Mihalka • R • 1981 • 91 minutes

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