Fun fact: one of the greatest slasher movies never got a sequel (though it did get a gnarly 3D remake).
“My Bloody Valentine” is a Canadian horror film by director George Mihalka and written by John Beaird. It arrived in 1981 at the crest of the slasher movie cycle, hoping to cash in on the successes of holiday-centric horror like John Carpenter’s “Halloween” and Sean S. Cunningham’s “Friday the 13th,” the latter being released the year prior and made it clear that serial killers could bring box-office dividends. But this one’s got its own folk song.
“My Bloody Valentine” naturally surrounds the lover’s holiday, but there’s little love going around. It’s set in the Canadian mining town of Valentine Bluffs which, despite its name, hasn’t had a Valentine’s Day dance in twenty years, suspending the tradition after an accident left multiple miners dead and one unhinged survivor. Legend has it that Harry Warden was the only survivor of the methane explosion that could have been prevented had his supervisors not ditched their post to attend the V-Day festivities. After those same supervisors met grisly ends, along with warnings more death will come if the town ever holds a Valentine’s Day dance again, Warden became a legendary local boogeyman whose name comes up when the killings begin again.
What sets this movie apart is its characters and its kills. The main players are young, working-class friends whose camaraderie is believable and charming before the axe starts swinging, and the censorship surrounding the penetrative death scenes were extensive. If seeing a human heart in a heart-shaped candy box seems thrilling, this is the movie to watch. (Anya Stanley)
The original “My Bloody Valentine” is available to stream on HBO Max as of September 1, 2022.