#329 -- My Bloody Valentine (1981)

Director: George Mihalka
Rating: 3.5 / 5

I'm feeling kind of weird about this movie right now. I saw it many years ago, and I loved it. All this time, I've been thinking it was amazing. Now that I've watched it again, it's not as good as I remember it. I guess it's because, now, I've seen so many horror movies that it's easy to find flaws in them. But, I still really enjoy this movie, flaws and all.

It takes place in a small town called Valentine Bluffs. Naturally, this town has always been very much into Valentine's Day. There was a hundred-year-old tradition of holding a dance on the 14th, but one day, that tradition died -- along with several townspeople. There was a cave-in at the mine, leaving several workers trapped. When the rescue team finally got to them, they found only one man still alive: Harry Warden. After having been down there for a while, his mind was unraveled just a little bit. They found him munching on someone's arm. When he got out, he killed several people in the town, including the supervisors who I assume were supposed to be watching them and making sure they were safe (instead, they were at the dance). Since they failed him, they had to die. After he killed, he would cut out his victim's heart and send it in a little heart-shaped package with a warning: to never hold the Valentine's Day dance ever again. The town heeded that warning for twenty years, until one year, they decided to hold the dance again. Harry was, after all, locked away in a mental asylum, so they figured they were safe. Of course, as you know, they were dead wrong.

Just as all the festivities were coming together, people started getting murdered. The only person who believed Harry was back was a crazy old bartender. No one believed him, and instead chose to laugh in his face. If only they had listened...of course, if people in horror movies listened to the crazy old man, there wouldn't be a horror movie at all. The mayor recognized, a little too late, what was going on, and cancelled the dance. That didn't stop a group of joker miners, who decided to have a little V-Day party of their own. They went to the mines and started their celebrations. Most of them weren't stupid enough to go into the actual mines; they just stayed up top in the bunkers. That didn't save all of them, of course, but it did prevent them from having to be stuck down below in the dark. There were a few of the group that decided to go down in the mines, because the girls wanted a tour of where their fellas worked. They became trapped down there with Harry, desperate for a way out, and trying to escape with their lives.

The part that I like most about the movie is the human hearts sent as Valentine's Day cards. Each one had some kind of note with it. They usually rhymed and were pretty catchy. The kills themselves, for the most part, weren't very memorable; but that aspect of them made it interesting. It succeeded at being somewhat suspenseful, as we wondered if the kids would survive. Since the man's name was shouted all over town, constantly, though, there really wasn't any suspense involving the killer's identity. There was a twist at the end that's not exactly expected; but it doesn't make much sense. That's okay, though. Even though it's flawed, what I like about the movie is the concept. There are a shitload of Christmas horror movies; a couple based on April Fool's, and who knows how many based on Halloween. I've even seen a couple for Thanksgiving. But, if there's another based around the good 'ol Valentine's Day, I'm unaware of it. Besides the re-make of this one, of course. The cool thing about it (just like ones with killer Santas) is that it's just not right. Valentine's Day is the day of love; the couples' holiday. There's supposed to be happiness, warm embraces, and tons of love spread around. It takes that and throws some blood in its face, and I like that. It's different, and it's interesting. It's not a perfect movie by any means, but it's entertaining, and that's what really matters.

Caution, spoilers ahead!

I understand why Harry Warden went on a rampage. First, he lost his mind down in the mines. Second, he was angry at the people for allowing it to happen. That makes sense. What I don't understand is Axel. We learned at the end that one of the first people Harry killed was Axel's dad, and Axel witnessed it while he was hiding under the bed. Understandably, that messed the poor kid's head up. Maybe that would make him go crazy and start killing people himself. That would make sense. But I don't understand why in the hell he would go about it in the exact same way that his father's murderer did. The thought that I see going through his head is this: "That guy killed my daddy! I want to grow up and be just like him!" It just doesn't make sense to me. Plus, why would he care if they held the dance, anyways? You'd think he'd want them to, as a fuck you to the guy that killed his daddy. Maybe I was just upset about that whole thing, since the big reveal was so abrupt and not at all shocking. It came and went too fast, and felt completely rushed. At least, as far as I could see, they kept him invisible as the murders happened. There was no moment of wondering how in the hell he'd been killing people while he was obviously nowhere around them.

What do you think?

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