My Bloody Valentine is a 1981 horror film that was released in the midst of the slasher renaissance of the 1980’s. The previous year saw the release of Friday the 13th, a pioneer of “Halloween ripoffs”. Nearly every horror film during this time used the formula set up by Halloween in 1978. A masked killer stalks and kills horny teenagers. My Bloody Valentine is no different. What separates this film from the rest of the pact is it’s killer. The Miner is one of my favorite slasher villains. He has an iconic look, an iconic weapon, and an interesting origin story. All the makings of a memorable slasher villain! Let’s take a look back to our favorite Valentine’s Day slasher.
(WARNING THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES)
My Bloody Valentine – Synopsis
The small town of Valentine Bluffs has lived in the shadow of a mining accident that occurred twenty years ago. A group of miners were trapped in the mines after an explosion enclosed the group. The mining supervisors were unavailable to help as they ditched the group to attend the town’s annual Valentine’s Day dance.
The only survivor, Harry Warden, resorted to killing and eating his fellow miners to survive. When he was finally rescued Warden killed the supervisors of the mine, and was institutionalized for his crimes. Twenty years later the town decides enough time has passed to throw another Valentine’s Day dance. But could this dance turn out to be a homecoming for one Harry Warden?
Three of the young residents attending the party are Sarah, Axel and T.J. The trio is caught up in a love triangle with Axel and Sarah now dating, but Sarah’s old flame T.J. has brought back old feelings. The first sign of the return of The Miner killer is when a box of chocolates is sent to the town’s mayor. Only the box doesn’t contain chocolates, rather a human heart belonging to one of the townsfolk.
The party continues as planned with the police keeping the murder a secret not to cause mass panic. A group of partygoers decide to ditch the party after a fight between T.J. and Axel breaks out. Included in this group is Sarah. As the group descends into the mines, a pair of bodies are found at the party. This causes panic for the residents who all believe Harry Warden has returned. Axel and T.J. take off towards the mines to save Sarah. The duo only hopes that they reach her before The Miner killer does.
My Bloody Valentine – A Cut Above the Rest
My Bloody Valentine was surrounded with controversy during the films initial release (as nearly every horror film during this time did). The film was sent back from the MPAA twice with an X rating. The death scenes had to be drastically cut and edited. Many cite the death of John Lennon as the reason for the violence to be cut down. The film was one of many during this time that was deemed to violent for American audiences.
The even with the MPAA down the producers throats, the kills in My Bloody Valentine are some of the best. The creativity for each kill allows The Miner killer to stand out from other generic 80’s slashers. Not only does he have the iconic weapon in the pickaxe, but the film also allows him to use his surroundings. The killer uses a shower head, a washing machine, and a boiling pot of hot dogs. I’ve never seen Jason Voorhees use hot dogs to kill someone!
My Bloody Valentine is one of my favorite slashers of all time. The films is a streamlined 90 minutes with no lull in the action or story. The Miner is one of the most unrecognized slasher villains. He ranks up toward the top with Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Michael Myers. His origins allow for the folktale of Harry Warden to live on, even with this films fantastic twist ending.
Unlike most 80’s slashers, My Bloody Valentine never garnered a sequel. The ending more than sets up a sequel, and offers up The Miner as the next big slasher villain. Director Quentin Tarantino has named My Bloody Valentine as his favorite slasher film. Can we please get direct sequel to My Bloody Valentine directed by Tarantino?
The film received a remake in 2009 titled My Bloody Valentine 3D. The remake changed elements from the 1981 original, and to the film’s benefit the changes worked. The remake isn’t a rehash of the original, but a rather enjoyable new take on the 80’s classic slasher film.
My Bloody Valentine – Final Thoughts
My Bloody Valentine is a forgotten and underappreciated slasher film. It offers everything fans of the genre look for including an iconic killer, creative death scenes, and above all convincing practical effects. If you are a fan of the Halloween or Friday the 13th films and haven’t seen My Bloody Valentine I highly encourage you to do so. So for this Valentine’s Day snuggle up with someone you love, grab a box of chocolate’s (or human hearts), and enjoy My Bloody Valentine.