Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween Countdown #9: (The original) MY BLOODY VALENTINE

Weirdly, I don't remember much about this movie from the first time I saw it. There's a vague recollection of coal mines and that semi-iconic miner's outfit, but MY BLOODY VALENTINE (MBV) didn't leave much of an impression on me otherwise.

That surprises me, because this movie is actually pretty good. It was really low budget, and it could've been an absolute boring mess, but there's something about the feel of the town/community and the relationships the characters have to one another that elevate MBV above the usual slasher fare. (Unfortunately, the recent remake brings the bar back down, except for the appearance of my lovely Dean Winchester. But that would be another blog entry.)

I referred to the establishment of a mythology in my FRIDAY THE 13th, PART 2 post the other day, and MBV takes care to do that, much to its benefit. And the villain's story is haunting and effective: about 20 years ago, there was a cave-in down at the mine that supports the town's economy. There was one survivor, Harry Warden. In a flashback, we see him as a batshit crazy dude gnawing on an arm while he's trapped in a bunch of debris. Niiiiice. We find out that Harry developed a vendetta against the town because, while the cave-in was happening, the residents were partying away at a Valentine's Dance. He comes back from a stay in a mental institution to slaughter the foremen at the mine.

Cue present time, when the town has manned up and decided to start up the Valentine's Dance tradition again. That's when it looks like Harry has returned yet again.

As a movie geek, it was fun to see things that have shown up in other horror movies. There's the requisite joker character/comic relief who stumbles out of a door covered in gory make-up early on. (Yeah, he's a dead meat.) There's a "Crazy Ralph" (F13th, parts 1 &2) type character who warns the town that they're DOOMED. And, oddly, there's a scene in which characters are playing the same knife-between-the-fingers game that the android Bishop plays in ALIENS...except it's much slower here, with humans.

One of the things I like most about MVB is that there's a good, solid love triangle going on that gives some weight to the story. It pays off very nicely in the end, too. Sure, it has its share of dumb character moments, but this is definitely one of your better slashers out there.

Next up? Perhaps BLACK SABBATH....

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