65 of 74 people found the following review helpful
Remember those heady days in the late 1970s and early 1980s when films like "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th" attained stellar success at the box office, resulting in a slew of holiday themed copycats? Movies like "April Fool's Day," "My Bloody Valentine," and "Graduation Day" arrived on the scene and dropped off the radar just as rapidly. Thanks to the appearance of DVD players, these films are reappearing with a disturbing rapidity. Unfortunately, the movies aren't much better than they were when they first came out. This is especially true for Paramount's release of the 1981 slasher film "My Bloody Valentine." At the time, Paramount demanded a mountain of cuts from director George Mihalka in order to avoid a dreaded 'X' rating for graphic violence. That's acceptable for a theatrical release, but a DVD version should reinsert all of the gory footage. Well, this release is the boring old 'R' rated version, and to make matters worse Paramount technicians included nothing else with the movie: no stills, no commentaries, no behind the scenes stuff, and no trailers. Get with the program, Paramount! The customer who will buy this movie on DVD is a genre fan; they want to see all of those gory killings you lopped off with indifference.
"My Bloody Valentine" takes place in a little mining town called Valentine Bluffs. We don't really know the location of the town, but the accents of the some of the characters hint at a Canadian setting somewhere near Quebec. Some years before a terrible mining accident resulting in the deaths of several miners caused Harry Warden to snap. Warden went on a killing spree through the town on the night of the Valentine's Day dance. Ever since then, the authorities in Valentine Bluffs banned parties on Valentine's Day, ever mindful of Harry Warden's threat to wreak bloody havoc on the town if they held another dance. Harry Warden, for the record, was one of the survivors of the mining accident, an accident caused by negligence on the part of two of the supervisors. After his murderous spree, Warden ended up in an insane asylum and the town slowly forgot his grim threats.
Now it's the present (or at least 1981), and the mineworkers want to have another holiday party. The authorities, which include a neurotic mayor and a police chief who looks like Steve McQueen from a distance, are willing to go along with the idea of a celebration. Then the valentines start showing up, one of which contains a bloody human heart. The mayor and police chief initially try to keep the threat hush-hush, but a few more murders persuade them to cancel the dance. The young people in town throw a fit, deciding that they will still have a party but hold it at the mine instead. You can guess what happens from this point on: bodies drop like flies as a madman in mining gear (gas mask, helmet, black clothing, and pickax) works his way through the group of bubbleheads. As the chief desperately attempts to track down the whereabouts of Harry Warden, a group of especially idiotic partygoers head down into the mine for a few yucks. The last twenty minutes of the film take place in the darkly atmospheric mine, as the killer picks off several of the kids in the quarry. There's a twist ending that achieves only a moderate level of interest, and then the whole thing ends.
"My Bloody Valentine" is a major rip off of other slasher films. This movie even has its own version of "Crazy Ralph" from "Friday the 13th" in the form of a testy bar owner who continually spouts stories about Harry Warden and the foolishness of throwing another party. You just know this guy is going to get his, and he does, but I kept wondering how he got any business. Who wants to go to a place where the proprietor keeps talking about gruesome murders? The other characters fall into typical slasher movie typecasting as well: the two guys fighting over the girl, the ineffective police chief and mayor who try to ignore the warning signs until it's too late, and the omnipresent killer. When it comes to original and engaging characters, "My Bloody Valentine" doesn't offer much except stereotypes with bad haircuts. Horror movie buffs should take note of Ray Sager's name (as first assistant director) in the credits: Sager played Montag the Magnificent in H.G. Lewis's "The Wizard of Gore."
At first, the gore seems to promise that "My Bloody Valentine" is a step above your typical slasher film. The heart in the box is gruesome, but after that initial shocker the movie steps back into rather banal exercises in the sauce department. The heavy handed editing is to blame here, as nearly every murder that takes place either happens completely off camera (the idea of it!), or cuts away before the serious bloodletting starts. There are places where you can discover what Paramount removed to get that all-important 'R' rating, and it's obvious that this film would have been much better if we could have seen the full effect of the killer's actions. A boiled face, a hook through the head, and a body in a laundromat dryer sound great on paper, but the execution suffers horribly because we never get the full, grotesque effect. It's the equivalent of watching a Richard Pryor concert with all of the profanity bleeped out. I pray Paramount comes to their senses and finally releases this film, along with the first eight "Friday the 13th" movies, in uncut formats. "My Bloody Valentine," as it stands now, falls squarely into the "rent, not buy" category: an interesting film with great promise, but an ultimate failure due to circumstances beyond the control of the cast and crew.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2009
The Canadian slasher, "My Bloody Valentine" received a theatrical release in 1981. However, due to its violent content, the MPAA severely butchered numerous scenes. Fans of the horror genre grew extremely outraged. Nevertheless, it became one the best, most underrated 80s horror films. For years, it earned a large cult following. Quentin Tarantino also labeled it as his favorite slasher film of all time!
In 2002, Paramount released it on DVD. To everyone's dismay, it was still the original, heavily edited theatrical cut. As a result, fans screamed for an uncut version. But Paramount refused. Fortunately, Lionsgate bought the rights to the film, and (finally) gave us what we wanted. This is the COMPLETE, UNCUT version that the censors wouldn't approve. Most of the deleted footage has been re-inserted back into the film (including the infamous pickax-through-the-eye scene). In addition, you can choose to watch the footage separately, or as part of the film (for those who cannot handle the gore, the original theatrical cut is also included). The Special Features include:
"Bloodlust: My Bloody Valentine and the Rise of the Slasher Film": A 20 minute documentary on "My Bloody Valentine". This includes interviews with the cast and crew of the original 1981 version and the 2009 remake: "My Bloody Valentine 3D".
"Bloodlines: An Interactive Horror Film History": Chronicling various kinds of horror from the past to the present.
"Deleted Footage with Director, Cast and Special Effects Designer Introductions": All of the uncut footage, which you can view here OR as part of the film!
...And there you have it!
While inspired by earlier productions, such as "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th", the plot is not the most original. However, while those films took place in the suburbs or at a camping site, the setting for "My Bloody Valentine" takes place in a small mining town (located in Nova Scotia, Canada). Also, instead of teenagers, all of the characters in this movie are adults. These factors make this gem slightly more unique than the usual slasher. Horror fans (both old and new) and gore hounds alike will appreciate this movie, finally released in all its gory glory! The only downside: the picture quality in most of the uncut footage is not that great. But this hardly detracts from the movie, as a whole. It's also understandable that this footage might've been difficult for Lionsgate to fully restore. Regardless, this Special Edition is one that you won't want to miss!
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2002
I recently compiled an Amazon list of the Top 10 Slasher Films Before the 90's. I placed MY BLOODY VALENTINE in the #7 slot. Upon watching it again, I realize that I should've placed it higher. Several other titles were ahead of it, including TERROR TRAIN, PROM NIGHT, and APRIL FOOL'S DAY. Those were all very good examples of the slasher genre, but I don't think any of them rival MY BLOOD VALENTINE for sheer fright, excitement, and novelty.
Start with an interesting setting. Rather than a college campus or high school, we have a bleak, blue-collar mining town. Instead of free-wheeling students or teenagers we have working class twentysomethings pushing thirty. Then add a creepy backstory: a mining accident that entombed and killed all but one of a handful of miners. That survivor, Harry Warden, had to resort to cannibalism until he was rescued, messing him up for eternity and a day. The next year, on Valentine's Day, he returned (in full miner's garb with pick-axe) and brutally murdered the two supervisors who inadverdently caused the accident. He then cut their hearts out and sent it to the dance with a warning never to have another Valentine's dance.
Flash forward to the present. The townspeople are contemplating the first dance in twenty years. Naturally, a series of murders begin, with the victim's hearts cut out. Alarmed, the police decide to cancel the dance. Undeterred, the young folk decide to have a secret party (at the mine's cafeteria). And that's when the real fun begins. Some highlights: a dude's face scalded in a huge pot of boiling water, and his cut-out heart being thrown in with the franks (yum), a girl getting her head impaled on a shower head (no repetition intended), and the local drunk becoming the victim of his own practical joke.
Of course, no film (slasher or otherwise) would be set around Valentine's day without having a romantic supplot, and MY BLOODY VALENTINE is no exception. We're introduced to Axel and T.J., two former friends now duking it out for the affections of Sarah (Lori Hallier, in the film's best performance). This triangle could've been more fully developed, but it was sufficient enought to keep the audience interested. Who will get Sarah? Axel or T.J.? And as the murders multiply (and intensify) the question becomes "What does Harry Warden want?" Is it even him? Or someone else?
Watch this flick and find out. There's a great final act set in the darkened mine, with an extended cat and mouse chase scene between the killer and T.J. and Sarah. This last half-hour rivals anything in HALLOWEEN. Scary last scene, too.
Bottom line? Craftsmanship-wise, MY BLOODY VALENTINE is no HALLOWEEN, but in some ways, it's scarier.
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2008
At last! Slasher fans will finally get the opportunity to see this excellent slasher film completely RESTORED AND UNCUT.
Initial rumours peristed the gore footage would be as a bonus feature - not spliced back into the film, HOWEVER, this it has been confirmed by Lionsgate that the movie will be released with the gore restored in its correct place.
Lionsgate have done what Paramount should have done several times before. Slasher fans could do with a company like Lionsgate to get their hands on the Friday The 13th series so we can see those uncut too - but i'm dreaming of course - paramount will never sell the rights to those because it makes too much cash for them.
So at last - MY BLOODY AVLENTINE TOTALLY UNCUT, REMASTERED AND RESTORED, IN WIDESCREEN! What more could a slasher fan ask for - don't hesitate - BUY THIS NOW!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2005
I saw this when I was a young teen after sneaking into the theater and it scared the socks off me - now - over 20 years later, I put in the DVD of MY BLOODY VALENTINE (hey, I guess that's where the shoe-gazer band got its name, huh?) and...of course...it's a typically lame, gutless Paramount DVD release. WHY BOTHER?! The answer? PURE STUDIO GREED. If you're going to re-release MY BLOODY VALENTINE on DVD, WHY leave out the best parts, i.e. the GORY KILLINGS we are teased with, but never get the opportunity to WITNESS in all their full, twisted glory - I mean, the laundromat scene has potential, but then just a quick glimpse of the corpse popping out of the dryer...just a hint of a the dead girl hanging on a hook with water pouring out of her mouth...the slightest suggestion of a pick-axes impaling chests...we all know there are several MINUTES of GRAPHIC FOOTAGE that Paramount HACKED out to get the almighty "R" rating, but everyone knows the real market in DVD is the UNRATED, UNCUT DIRECTORS CUT - why not here to please the fans? Without the explicit, creative blood-letting, this is a bit of a snooze, but still gets over on pure 80s fond nostalgia and unintentionally campy atmosphere, not to mention some of the worst acting in horror film history. If you look at a new flick like HOUSE OF WAX that's able to show fingers being chopped off, heads decapitated, and a spear through Paris Hilton's forehead, you'd think they could do THIS slasher classic justice. Oh well, maybe next time. But don't count on it. C'mon, Paramount, not even a trailer?! That is CHEAP!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2000
Well, we have Friday the 13th, Halloween, April Fool's Day, Silent Night Bloody Night.... and now... My Bloody Valentine. Director George Mihalka seems to have his tongue planted firmly in his cheek during most of the movie. It's gimmicky, slow paced, with some truly horrible dialogue. While most films would suffer greatly because of those things, My Bloody Valentine actually benefits from them. After watching an hour or so of goofy set-ups, false scares, and amateur acting, this baby really kicks it into high gear. In fact, it's final half-an-hour is comparable with most of the best films of the genre. The film is often too gory for it's own good but manages a level of restraint that most casual horror fans will appreciate. The only real acting presented here comes from the two male leads, Paul Kelman and Neil Affleck, who manage to play two ex-friends embroiled in a battle for the same woman and seem believeable even though they have to mutter some of the dumbest dialogue I've ever heard in a horror film. I could complain about this film for hours but then I'd be missing the point. Any filmed called My Bloody Valentine obviously shouldn't be taken seriously. It's a cheap, Saturday night thrillfest. And at that level it succeeds. Just don't expect anything on a cerebral level.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I've already written a review of this film, so I won't bother with all that again, but instead focus on this new DVD release.
Kudos to Lions Gate for this release. Paramount gets a lot of flak from horror fans on how they handle their DVDs, especially their treatment of the Friday The 13th films. Thankfully Lions Gate got involved with this release and finally gets it right. Usually when a horror film is released to DVD promising restored cut scenes, these scenes are almost never put back into the film, but can only be viewed as it's own bonus feature. This has always driven us fans batty. Well, our whining has finally paid off coz someone listened and in this release the scenes are put back into the film. That wasn't so hard, was it? We horror fans don't ask for too much, you know. You can view the cut scenes on their own as well. Plus you get the option of the Extended Cut or the Theatrical Cut of the movie(though I can't for the life of me figure out why you'd want to watch the Theatrical Cut ever again. But at least you can say the DVD is thorough). Like many folks, I have grown up watching the cut version of My Bloody Valentine(it was really the only version available), and had heard there were cut scenes floating around out there. My Bloody Valentine suffered greatly under the MPAA's clippers, probably more than most slasher films of the time. The cuts are only a second or two here and there, but practically every onscreen kill in this movie had something cut from it. If you're very familiar with the movie, these new bits will be obvious, but even if you're not, you'll know what was cut because the film quality is considerably lower at these points. Regardless, these bits are extremely welcome after all these years of hearing about them. And they do make a difference. Sure, it's not the goriest thing you've ever seen, but it is rather brutal in comparison to other slasher films at the time. I'd put them up there on about the same level as The Prowler.
There are a few other extras on this disc as well. There's a neat little family tree that traces the slasher film from it's roots in Psycho, on through H.G. Lewis and Italian Giallos on through Postmodern Slashers(Scream and it's spawn), Slasher Spoofs right on up to Torture Porn. A nice addition for newcomers, but won't provide anything new for the hardcore horror fan. There's also a 15 minute featurette, and this is where my complaint lies. They talk about the making of My Bloody Valentine for a little while, but most of the time in this featurette is devoted to talking up the 3-D remake I have absolutely no interest in. There was so much more ground that could have been covered when talking about the making of the real My Bloody Valentine, but it suddenly shifts gears and you find yourself watching a commercial for the remake and thinking to yourself, "What the hell? What happened to the documentary?"
I would have given this DVD five stars even if it had no bonus features at all(it doesn't have trailers), just for the fact that they finally did it right with the cut footage.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2005
I love this film as do most slasher fans. It takes us back to a time when gore was plentiful, director's were experimental, and horror films were FUN to go to.
Now first off, lest you already knew, Paramount CHOPPED THIS FILM TO BITS upon release due to gore scenes that pal in comparison to some of the stuff we have today! (Look at SAW or SEVEN for example. THAT'S some twisted stuff). And it wasn't a certain shot here or there... around 8 minutes of footage was just hacked out! For pics and info on this whole shpiel, visit Hysteria Lives on the web for the whole lowdown (this guy has a GREAT site).
The footage HAS been found. Paramount won't allow it to be restored because the film would then have to go unrated and Paramount wants nothing to do with an unrated film. It's also true that it costs them next to nothing to renew the rights to it every year... It's a tough battle. But if Paramount had a brain in them at all, they'd sell the film to ANCHOR BAY who would finally do it justice and settle all of us fans at peace.
Now onto this DVD. APPAULING. Cover-art was changed into something so simple and dumb, it couldn't possibly appeal to anyone. I actually had to read the text closely to recognize what film it was. Mono scores are unfortunately common for horror films when big companies re-release them and this one is no exception. Still, it's clear. Don't expect any extras either. Paramount saw to that one as well. Not even a trailer. LOL and on the back of the dvd, Chapter stops are apparently considered a special feature. Paramount, give it up. You haven't a clue what you're doing.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2002
Even in the annals of slasherdom, this movie just isn't very good. Not that I expect slashers to be masterpieces, but there is much lacking here. One of the primary omissions is gore--the film was literally butchered by the MPAA. Not only does this disappoint fans of the genre, but in all honesty, it really fudges the continuity of the film and even manages to mar the ending.
The acting here is strictly amateur hour. The direction is standard, by the numbers slasher fare. The script includes some great unintentional howlers, including the classic line, "We were having a party...and Harry Warden started killing everyone". The town mayor supplies some funny moments as he and the bumbling sheriff try and figure out who is sending bloody valentines (human hearts actually, with [bad] "Roses are red" poems attached).
You'll probably guess the killer pretty early on but keep watching for the murders. Well, most of the cast gets offed as if you couldn't guess. There's also the required old guy who tries to warn the townspeople not to throw another Valentine's Day party. His death is actually pretty funny as he tries to rig an elaborate practical joke and gets axed.
Most of the murders are cut pretty badly so that there is a real absence of blood. There is a beheading toward the end that doesn't look like a beheading because most of the scene was cut--I had to read about it to figure out what the heck happened. Not only that, but the ending is edited so that we can't even see what actually happens to the killer very well. Again, had to read about it.
What we do get is a pretty cool getup for a slasher killer: a miner outfit complete with pickaxe and lighted helmet. There is one very good stalking sequence featuring coal miner suits dropping out of their rigs in the ceiling and scaring a young woman nearly to death before her (heavily edited) death, which is never really clear.
The plot is weak, the characters pretty dumb and the gore compromised by picky censors wanting to tone down horror films at the time in the wake of John Lennon's death and Reagan's near-assasination. Oh well.
I would be seriously surprised if any company actually bothered to put out an uncut deluxe DVD of this film since, quite honestly, it just isn't very good....
Still, for fans of the genre, you might tack on an extra star just because this is a 1981 slasher and you just have to see it because.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2009
I don't know how Lionsgate pulled this off--and why Paramount let them--but I would like to have Lionsgate's next baby for releasing this uncut. I have long been a huge fan of the old slasher movies, and I always found "My Bloody Valentine" particularly eerie and gory. For years, I've read that Paramount refused to release the movie uncut, and I also read that one of the film's original producers had the cut footage stashed away in his filing cabinet. The footage became a sort of holy grail for us gorehounds, and I always harbored hope that someday that footage would finally be seen. Someday is today.
I watched the uncut version this afternoon, and I'm actually surprised (pleasantly) that the version is as violent and gory as it is. The MPAA cut A LOT out of this movie. In comparison, the trims to the original "Friday the 13th" really aren't that extreme, but in "My Bloody Valentine" they were. In the uncut version, we're treated to hearts being cut out of people's chests, a man with a pick axe struck through his face and out his eye socket, a woman's head impaled on a shower head, a woman baked in an industrial dryer, a man repeatedly shot in the head with a nail gun, a man decapitated, and a man cutting his own arm off. Now that's family entertainment!
The disc also comes with an interesting featurette that includes interviews with the original director, producers, and a couple of the stars, and the movie is in 5.1 audio. I highly recommend this if you're a slasher fan like me. Enjoy!