Capitalizing on Black Christmas, Halloween, and Friday the 13th-style, holiday-themed slasher films, George Mihalka’s My Bloody Valentine seems like it could be a run-of-the-mill horror film. However, its genuine attempt at mystery and the presence of a memorable villain prevent it from being a snore-fest. Is My Bloody Valentine a truly amazing horror movie, or even the greatest slasher movie? I personally wouldn’t say so. However, it at least gets the job done, and isn’t really a sub-par effort. Still, the most memorable aspect is that villain, known as Harry Warden/The Miner (Peter Cowper).
The Miner’s Commanding Presence
Like many movies, My Bloody Valentine comes equipped with a silly premise. In this case, the killer wants to prevent a Valentine’s Day party because, some 20 years earlier, supervisors left miners alone to attend a dance and excess methane levels resulted in an explosion. Survivor Harry Warden had resorted to cannibalism and went insane, vowing to return if the town of — yes, this is the name — Valentine Bluffs should there ever be a Valentine’s dance again.
While the premise sounds far-fetched as hell, it should be recalled that, in the real world, a man named Kenneth Lamar Noid once held hostages because he believed the Domino’s Noid character was intended to mock him! Also, at the risk of getting sidetracked, I have to say something regarding that place name: There’s actually a town called Christmas, Michigan. I also grew up in and around a tiny town called Misery Bay, and downstate there’s another town called Hell!
That aside, what’s striking about this movie aren’t unexpected twists and turns (though there are a few). Quite simply, a lot of My Bloody Valentine movie hinges on the iconic look of the killer. There is something Darth Vader-like about him. Also, much like Freddy Krueger and his instantly memorable razor glove, he has sort of an iconic weapon of choice: A pickaxe. Why not? He is based on the mining profession, right?
The Miner’s Methods and Censorship
He also has the cruel (and cool) M.O. of ripping the hearts out from his kills, playing heavily on the whole Valentine’s Day theme (and sort of beating it to death, albeit in a playful way). There are some pretty cool kills here, too, make no mistake about it. It’s one of those slashers that annoying-ass 1980s parents were so concerned about. In fact, the censors removed 9 whole minutes of awesomeness from it and it is still pretty gory. The lesson? If you’re making a horror movie, you might as well go overboard on gore anyway.
So, How Good Is “My Bloody Valentine”?
Look at it this way: I had never watched this movie until a year or two ago, and it felt like I had known it my whole life. Granted, it really isn’t the type of movie that’ll run away with everyone’s heart. However, you may just want to take a stab at it. If you ax me, My Bloody Valentine could have easily become a tired old franchise by now. For better or worse, though, there is only the 1981 film and the 2009 remake. I guess you could call it only a Miner hit.
The Miner might not be in everyone’s mental horror character pantheon, but that’s only because some people don’t know about him. Still, if you put this movie on, it may have you flying like a happy little canary into the darkness, and you’ll probably survive with your sanity intact. Also, if you want to see a movie with similar themes, check out The Severed Arm, which I also reviewed a while back. Oh yeah, and this movie also stars Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier, Neil Affleck, Don Francks, Cynthia Dale, among others.
What do you think of My Bloody Valentine? Does it make your heart skip a beat? Let us know in the comments!