My Bloody Valentine (1981)
my bloody valentine | george mihalka | john beaird | paul kelman | lori hallier | neil affleck | slasher | harry warden | mystery | thriller | canada | keith knight | alf humphreys | cynthia dale | don francks | patricia hamilton | jack van evera | larry reynolds
Film: My Bloody Valentine
Director: George Mihalka
Writer: John Beaird
Starring: Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier and Neil Affleck
This film starts off in a mine tunnel. There are two people wearing jumpsuits as well as the gas masks and helmets with a light on it. One of them is also carrying a pick ax. They stop and one of them reveals themselves to be a woman. She is unzips her jumpsuit to expose her bra with a little heart tattoo on her chest and the other puts his ax into a cinderblock wall behind her. The woman is then killed by being pushed back on to ax.
We then shift to a group of men working in the mines. They are coming to the end of their shift. There is Paul Kelman, who is recently returned to the town. His father actually is the one who owns the mine. His supervisor is Neil Affleck. Along with them that work down here is Keith Knight and Alf Humphreys. They are excited as Valentine’s Day is coming up and the town is having a party for it. Kelman though is down because his ex-girlfriend is dating Affleck. We also learn that Kelman disappeared a few years, just leaving her.
The party is being thrown by Patricia Hamilton. Many of the young women are helping her. Lori Hallier is the one that is dating Affleck and formerly dating Kelman. Cynthia Dale is seeing Knight and Humphreys is constantly hitting on Helene Udy. The men get off and show up while they are decorating. They are all drinking and just being a distraction. The mayor and Kelman’s father, Larry Reynolds, shows up with the chief of police, Don Francks. They are leery about the party as the history of the town. A Valentine’s Day gift is given to Reynolds. On their drive away he opens it to reveal a human heart, warning them about the party.
At the local bar later that night, the bartender Jack Van Evera, gives the history of the town of Valentine’s Bluff. Every year there was a party. One year a group of miners was working during it. The supervisors weren’t paying attention and left. An explosion happened in the mines, trapping them. When they finally got to them, there was only one left, a man named Harry Warden. He is portrayed by Peter Cowper. He had eaten the others during his time trapped. The following year on Valentine’s Day, he killed the two men who were responsible. They haven’t had a party on the holiday since.
Hamilton also runs a laundry business and the masked killer visits her there. He ends up killing her as well.
There is some animosity between Kelman and Affleck. Kelman wants Hallier back. Hallier is torn on what to do. She likes both, but Kelman left her without a word. The two men start to fight over her, pushing Hallier away in the process. Who will she chose?
Francks finds the body of Hamilton. She is found in a dryer and all burned up. He also finds a Valentine’s Card inside of her with a warning that if the party isn’t canceled, more will die. Francks scrambles to find out if Harry Warden is still in the mental hospital he was sent to. Is the killer Harry Warden or someone else? When the party is canceled, the miners decide to throw a secret one themselves. Will they survive the killer?
Now I had seen the remake to this film when I was in college in 3D. I believe that I started to watch this classic at my parents when it was on one of the movie channels, but I never got around to seeing the whole film. I had heard a lot of the podcasts that I listen to talk pretty highly of it. After finally seeing it, I have to agree. The concept is solid. I like the back-story as to why the killer hates Valentine’s Day. I also like the reveal of who the killer was and why he was killing on that day as well. I guessed who the killer was around the climax, but that didn’t bother me. I also love the look of the killer. It is quite original and meshes well with the mine aspect of the film. Having the killer use a pick ax is another solid touch for me, as it is different from other slasher killers. I didn’t really have a lot negative to say about the film from this standpoint.
I thought the acting was pretty good for the most part. Really the only problem I had was figuring out the names of the actors since they don’t do great at establishing who they are. There are definitely distinct characters that allowed me to tell them apart though. Kelman is interesting in that he disappeared from the town and now has pent up anger about life moving on without him. He also becomes the first suspect for the audience which only grows. I thought Hallier was solid in the role she needed to play as the love interest of two men. Affleck is good as well. He is more a stable character throughout the film until the party. I really liked Knight as the heavy-set, fun guy. Humphreys was fun as the comedic relief. I also ended up with a crush on Dale as well. The rest round out the film well. I also needed to commend Francks as he tries to find out the truth of Harry Warden as well as Evera who is the ‘Crazy Ralph’ character.
The effects of the film were really good. From the first scene where the pick ax is pushed through the woman I was on board. The burn scenes look real and the deaths were creative. They were done practically and I was a big fan of that. The editing of the film was fine. It built the tension that needed to until the climax where we get a string of deaths. The reveal wasn’t too obvious and that was good in my eyes. The score of the film really didn’t stand out to me, but I know there were a couple places it did.
Now with this film being a Halloween/Friday the 13th clone, I thought it was good. I really enjoyed seeing this film. The story is interesting with a good back-story of the killer. The acting was pretty solid across the board. The effects were really good. The editing was fine as it built the necessary tension. I thought the reveal and climax were solid as well as the ending. The score stood out aside from a couple spots, but I had no complaints there. If you are a slasher fan, I’d definitely recommend giving this one a viewing. I feel that is a good movie.
My Rating: 8 out of 10