There’s more than one way to lose your heart…to this Blu-ray
Every holiday has an accompanying slasher movie, some more then one. For many, watching Silent Night Deadly Night over Christmas is as traditional as eggnog. Even the crass commercial entity that is Valentine’s Day is not exempt, and thanks to Shout Factory we get an all new release of My Bloody Valentine, theatrical AND Uncut versions, to watch with our loved ones.
MY BLOODY VALENTINE is the best slasher ever made about the world’s most pointless holiday. But it also happens to be the best “mine shaft” horror movie ever made, which is not code for anything except THIS MOVIE RULES! Twenty years ago, the town of Valentine’s Bluff was unnerved by the killing spree of miner Harry Warden, who was angry about a Valentine’s Day dance. Warden vowed to return with his pick-axe if the dance ever happened again. Guess what?! Dropping somewhere between the working class grit of HARLAN COUNTY U.S.A. and the trash ’n’ slash mayhem of FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2, MY BLOODY VALENTINE is a dreamy, ultra-violent triumph of golden-age-slashering. This movie will make you feel great about hating Valentine’s Day all over again.
George Mihalka’s My Bloody Valentine is one of the best horror films to come out of Canada (sit down Cathy’s Curse fans). A gleeful slasher that delivers its own fresh riff on the tropes you’d expect (and hope for) from the genre. Set in the 1980s, the small mining town of Valentine’s Bluff is haunted by an incident 20 years earlier where a miner went on a killing spree after he was driven mad following a mining accident. Carted away to a mental asylum, Harry Warden cursed the town that if they should ever host the Valentine’s Day dance that precipitated the incident, he’ll return and kill again. The legend is familiar to the inhabitants of the town, old and young, but the fears of a few at bringing the dance back become a startling reality as Harry seems to return to continue where he left off as preparations to relaunch the dance are underway. Yep its the old “you brought this on yourselves” spin to kick things off, ignoring years without incident and this lingering warning. The bottled up yearnings of a generation wanting to properly celebrate (drink moosehead beer) the most romantic of holidays, finally getting their chance after years of repression.
The script by John Beaird nicely drips in the mythology of Harry Warden as it also works to introduce and flesh out the various characters to root for, root against, and suspect of foul play. It doesn’t overtly lean into a “whoodunnit” style slasher, but has a few surprises up its sleeve. Even in the edited theatrical version, the film romps along at a good pace and has plenty of impact and tension. But the creative kills do elevate things, potency added by the iconic and distinct imagery of a killer in a miner suit and mask. What adds to this is how the script doesn’t throttle ahead with dispatching the various cast members, but often take moment to see the shock set in, and allow the survivors a little time to grieve. It deepens the sense of loss for some characters we bond with very quickly. Actually likeable and relatable folk (even those that just help makeup the population of the town seem well considered and portrayed) throughout. The setting adds plenty of local texture and memorable locales for setpieces, all adding to the overall tone and charm of an undeniably fun and effective slasher.
Scream Factory have been doing sterling work of late and that continues with their release of My Bloody Valentine. Both versions of the film are treated to a 4K restoration and look splendid. Colors pop, contrast is superb, grain is healthy and filmic, and detail stands out well. Having seen this on an aged 35mm print two years ago, this is a remarkably good presentation. Extra features (spread over two discs) see the release impress even more:
- NEW An Anemic Valentine — an interview with director George Mihalka: A good education as to how the vision of a film can be changed/taken away from its creators. Mihalka dicusses the production itself, but also how it was handled upon, and after release, as well as the cult status it garnered
- The following interviews are all solid, weaving together personal anecdotes with on-set experiences, and the films legacy;
- NEW From the Heart — an interview with actor Paul Kelman:
- NEW Friends of Mine — an interview with actress Lori Hallier:
- NEW Axel, Be My Valentine — an interview with actor Neil Affleck:
- NEW Becoming Sylvia — an interview with actress Helene Udy:
- NEW The Secret Keeper — an interview with actor Rob Stein:
- NEW Broken Hearts and Broken Bones — an interview with special makeup effects designer Tom Burman: Dives into some of the gnarlier kills you get to see in the uncut version
- NEW Holes in the Heart — a look at the difference between the theatrical version and the uncut version: A really great breakdown on what was excised, and restored to the film
- Theatrical Trailer/TV Spots/Radio Spots/Still Gallery
- NEW Audio Commentary with director George Mihalka: Worth watching just for the excitement of the director when the restored scenes pop up during the uncut version. He also drops plenty of insight into the making of the film and its reception upon release, and cult status
- MY BLOODY VALENTINE 35th Anniversary Cast Reunion panel at the Bay of Blood Convention in Florida featuring director George Mihalka, cast members Lori Hallier, Helene Udy, Rob Stein, Peter Cowper, Thomas Kovacs, Jim Murchison, Alf Humphreys and hosted by Brian Singleton: Fun banter, runs around an hour in length. touches on the making of, on set experiences, and answering audience questions
- Thomas Kovacs performs “The Ballad of Harry Warden” at the Bay of Blood Convention with Peter Cowper and Jim Murchison:
The Bottom Line
Long cherished by horror fans, My Bloody Valentine has seen a revival the last few years, with it’s glorious Uncut release, and now a restoration and packed Blu-ray from Shout Factory. A superb slasher and bloody good entertainment. Whether you have a significant other or not, it is worthy of your attention this Valentine season.
My Bloody Valentine is available via Shout Factory from February 11th