My Bloody Valentine – 1981, Canada, 90m, 93m (unrated version). Director: George Milhalka. Streaming: MGM+ via Roku, Pluto TV
My Bloody Valentine – 2009, Canada/US, 101m. Director: Patrick Lussier. Streaming: Tubi
MY BLOODY VALENTINE (1981) The small mining town of Valentine Bluffs is putting together a grand February 14 celebration, the first in twenty years. The annual Valentine’s Day dance was permanently axed after 1960, when an explosion trapped five miners underground—one of whom, Harry Warden, went completely berserk and killed and ate his fellow survivors. Warden was sent to an asylum but escaped and—with pick ax in hand—butchered the town’s fat cats, who were too busy enjoying themselves at the Valentine’s party to assemble a rescue team for the buried miners. The present day resurrection of the town’s Valentine’s activities sparks a new series of murders, forcing the sheriff to cancel the big romantic event. That doesn’t stop a group of miners and their girlfriends from doing a bit of partying in the mine tunnels, the perfect location for a Valentine’s Day massacre when Harry Warden apparently returns to the scene of the crime. My Bloody Valentine is a compendium of the slasher sub-genre’s tried-and-true formulas, right down to the final battle pitting the remaining teens against the masked killer. And it all works, with a lot of the credit going to director George Mihalka’s eye for likable characters and suspenseful set pieces, including the climactic underground cat-and-mouse chase. Juicy kills and some actual scares help to make My Bloody Valentine a winner. B+
MY BLOODY VALENTINE (2009) After surviving a tunnel collapse, miner Harry Warden goes bananas and whacks his fellow survivors on the noggin with a pick ax. Warden escapes custody and goes on a mass killing spree—with a body count slightly less than the Iraq War—before being shot by police and running off into the night. The victims who eluded Harry’s wrath have been trying to live normal lives in the years following the massacre, but the upcoming sale of the town’s mine by the owner’s son (Jensen Ackles) ignites a new bloodbath in the form of the apparently still alive Harry Warden. The violence quota is definitely higher in this remake, with plenty of people ending up with their chest cavities opened and their hearts missing. The characters aren’t as memorable as in the 1981 film, but the gimmick here is the use of 3D cameras and the (literally) eye-popping make-up FX that shoot off the screen—and presumably into the audience’s laps. In that regard, My Blood Valentine ’09 delivers the goods in bucketloads of splatter. It overstays its welcome and gets a little too busy with a needless subplot, but hardcore slasher (and remake) fans shouldn’t find that a deterrent. B
Please listen to The Video Verdict’s episode on My Bloody Valentine! You can find it on Spotify!