My Bloody Valentine (1981)

   
Directed by: George Milhalka

Written by: John Beaird

Starring:

Paul Kelman ... T.J. Hanniger
Lori Hallier ... Sarah
Neil Affleck ... Axel Palmer
Keith Knight ... Hollis
Alf Humphreys ... Howard Landers
Cynthia Dale ... Patty
Don Francks ... Chief Jake Newby
Rob Stein .... John
Thomas Kovacs .... Mike Stavinski
Jim Murchison .... Tommy Whitcomb
Helene Udy ... Sylvia
Carl Marotee .... Dave

Release Date: Theatrical: February 11, 1981

Rating:

 

A small town called Valentine Bluffs when a man and a woman are together in a coal mine.
While the woman tried to make out with the guy he grabs her and impales her on his pickaxe, killing her.
The villagers are excited about their first Valentine's day dance in twenty years but the police chief opens a chocolate box with a threatening note and a human heart stuffed inside of it.
A local bartender at their local bar called The Cage warns people that their town is cursed on Valentine's day as he tells that the last dance there twenty years ago when seven miners were working underground.
Two supervisors had already finished their work, but anxious to go the party, they left before the other five were safely out. They also failed to check the methane gas levels.
Because of this oversight, a lantern that one of the five men was holding caused a huge explosion and the miners were buried alive.
For six weeks, rescuers tried to find survivors, but they could only reach one, Harry Warden. They found him eating the severed arm of one of his co-workers.
Harry went insane after the accident and spent the next year in a mental hospital. After he was released, he killed the two supervisors with a pickax and cut out their hearts.
He then stuffed them into heart-shaped candy boxes and left them at that year's Valentine's dance with a warning that the town should never again hold a party on the 14th of February.
The story goes that every year on that day, he comes back to town to kill anyone who does not heed his threat.
The people laugh at his story and carry on with the party and then the murders start with the victims being slayed by a pick axe through the heart then the killer puts their hearts in chocolate boxes with more deadly notes.
A group of coal miners decide to have a Valentine party even if the local town is against it and some of them decide to hang out inside the coal mine where one by one they are getting slayed by the killer.

 

There's a great beginning with Harry Warden and a lustful woman during their lustful moment before he kills her with a pick axe. There's a perfect close up shot on her mouth opening wide with her paranoid looking eyes too which looked well shot and impressive for an opening to a good slasher flick. Then a nice 80's artsy look on the titles with some bloodied hearts which was impressive too.
The story certainly looks exciting when it takes place years later with the coal miners acting silly and really enjoying each others conversation about the Valentine's Day dance as well as a male shower scene which is a change here for a slasher flick since it's usually the other way around. I liked this change though to show equal rights here. Also there was some good humor on them nearly in full clothes running to their car to challenge one another as to who will make it to the dance floor to arrange everything first along with their cars speeding along the road in a Dukes of Hazzard type of format. THis really makes you want to join in on the fun here.
There's a scene that nearly takes you by surprise when the head sheriff Chief Jake Newby and Mabel Osborne are about to enter the room where the dance takes place and a dorky coal miner employee Howard Landers crawls out as a joke that he was slaughtered which is a real grabber here. Also it shows on how far someone will go to scare someone. It seems to make the moment look suitable before the real terror starts since this was often used in other slasher flicks. The scene also looked a bit cheesy but hey in a good fun way.
Then we spot a moment with Jake in a passenger side of his police vehicle when he reads a card from a valentine candy box which is of course a deadly note and a real shocking surprise when he opens the candy box which makes you cringe that something isn't going to look at all pretty while he is about to see what it is. Quite gruesome without a doubt when we find out.
Meanwhile we have a good shot on Mabel happily reading a valentine card until she reads it out loud which is a deadly note as well as great dark moments on her trying to get away from the killer in a laundromat which is a nice setting I must say so since it's different than what we normally spot in a slasher flick. The timing looked great and spooky too as well as a good shot on her trying to back away from the killer.
There's some good shots on Jake when he enters the laundromat spotting upside down hearts displays with him removing them and then a close to jumping shot on a dryer opening with a great close up shot on a dead corpse popping out. This looked wonderful for a shocking slasher flick such as this one.
More entertaining situations like the employees goofing around at their local pub as well as a crazy old timer working there named
Happy (Corny name folks) telling the locals at the bar about the dangers in Valentine's bluff as that's what we need for a good slasher film as we've seen Crazy Ralph do it in Friday the 13th. Then we spot pretty creepy flashback memories like the mine crumbling down and a scene of canniballism which truly looked gross to watch as well as a freaked out screaming face on Harry Warden too as well as shots on him in his mining suit doing away his victims and a good shot on a candy box set on a table at a party with blood dripping down from it. Perfectly done here.
What works well too is when Happy is dressed in a mining suit to plan on scaring these party animals as well as setting a door with a Harry Warden dummy and testing it a few times to see if it works. Right then you get a creepy feeling that the killer will jump right out since this is a good signal here. This l
ooks creepy and great for a slasher film.
The next day things look very uplifting and emotional when T.J. Hanniger tries to talk to Sarah to mend things up which takes place by an oceanside as this was a great setting since it looked peaceful. Their discussion looked good and dramatic since this was necessary to have a mending romance before the slayings happen here.
Then later on we have a dispute with T.J. and Axel over Sarah in which it looked impressive on two men acting immature and getting into a brawl which looked impressive especially with their burly friend Hollis breaking it up and acting tough when needed to. Pretty exciting stuff here which looked realistic too on when a brawl breaks out here causing some upset people here.
There's a good moment when Sylvia and her boyfriend are about to make love near the mining area which is a nice pointer for a near lustful moment and a perfect target for the killer too as well as him needing to grabg something with her alone and a good shot on her her hearing something then looking around and then the killer attacking her with a great shot on her screaming when he grabs her and about to impale her on a sprinkler which looked suspenseful.
There's a good camera shot looking up on supporting actor someone boiling some hotdogs with the killer trying to push his head into the pot as well as a good back shot on the killer doing this. This is for sure a slow way of dying and pretty painful too.
The suspense really adds up when some of them decide to party out down in the mine in which they decide to scare one another and it also looked cool and dark too which makes things spookier for the killer to show up and do them in one by one. Things seem impressive when the killer knocks out the lights in the mine shaft while creeping up on his next victim too.
Lots of good struggling moments with the survivors in the mine trying to get away from the killer being scared stiff which truly gives you a feel that you are in this position and not knowing what to do within all of this. Also there's a perfect shocking moment when everyone climbs up a long ladder and one breaks his neck accidently on a rope and then falls way down to the ground as this indeed seemed pretty intense.
There's even moments with someone like T.J. appearing around a corner when Sarah is trying to look for anyone who has made it or not in which is a nice drawing card making you wonder if he's behind the killings here.
There's a great ending in the film leaving a door open for a sequel which sadly didn't see the light of day.
Bottom line is that this is a great slasher film in the same vein as Halloween and Friday the 13th in which this killer wears a miner mask and a miner uniform since those outfits look very creepy itself.
Alot of the scenes are very similar and became a cult classic like other horror flicks such as Sleepaway Camp, Last House on the Left and Demons.
Very effective and creepy. Plus there's a scene taking place on Friday the 13th with two officers trying to find clues by contacting others about Harry Warden which gives the date a perfect touch since it's almost like a tribute to the movie that started off the Jason Voorhees slashers.
There's many great takes surrounding the film mainly outside which is in Nova Scotia since the environment there looked very beautiful along with mostly Canadian actors instead of the Hollywood one's taking over everything.
Plus there's the nice old fashioned two men acting territorial over a beautiful young lady like tow wild animals which is a nice drawing card to the horror film scene wondering who could be the killer out of the two if one of them really were killing these people. To top it off, the mining tunnel area looked very nice and dark which is a perfect place for a killer wandering around.
A sequel was planned after all these years but sadly is was scrapped due to the 2009 remake. During the end of this film it totally left a door open for one which is so painful since you want this film to continue. But there were two reasons as to why it never arose.
Reason One: This flick was done in Canada back in 81 and very few Canadian horror film's (Especially slashers) succeeded to have a sequel.
Reason Two: The film didn't do well at the box office so Paramount rejected the sequel when it was written in 2001 so this writer was out of luck.
Reason Three: This film wasn't too mainstream even if it was made by a big company Paramount but again, doesn't necessarily makes it big. Think of another Canadian slasher film Black Christmas. There was a door open for one since there was some explaining to do and the killer never got caught nor did anyone know who this killer was but viewers didn't seem to take notice of Canadian horror flicks having sequels.
Times have changed since then but the remakes were becoming overrated as that seems to be the moneymakers nowadays.
The film is well adored by slasher fans. Worth checking out as it shows a mysterious killer in the film.

For a b-film like this, the acting is not too bad if you enjoyed the same kind of acting like in Sleepaway Camp, Texas Chainsaw Massacre or the first Friday the 13th flick.
Most of the actors remain virtual unknowns like in those slasher films I mentioned as alot of big name actors usually avoid low budget films.
Paul Kelman (T.J. Hanniger) is probably the best actor in this film as he brings alot of character to the big screen as a nice guy in the film and trying to mend things up with what he has done in the past. Plus knew how to show some dark mean expressions too and acting a little stubborn to top it off making his part as a possible one who's killing these people at the party. Also he really knew on how to swing into action during the struggling situations with the terrors happening. Also he was great in the middle of the film with his emotional and pleading actions making his part seem very realisitc here.
Lori Hallier (Sarah) who plays his girlfriend is another fine cast member in this film showing a true character to her personality. She has a nice beautiful look plus shows nice emotions to her role with a soft attitude too. Plus she does very well whenever she acts aggressive during a situation showing a great disgusted attitude. Her energy was at a great pace here along with perfect emotions. SHe also had a nice brief sobbing attitude to her character in the middle of the film which looked impressive.
Neil Affleck (Axel Palmer) is great with his role playing a bad ass in the film making his role mysterious too. He really knew how to act cocky and demanding towards others. He also has that pretty boy next door look. But at the same time he can look very rough too when he is challenging. Plus does a great job with his rolling punches when he is in the middle of a brawl as well as doing well acting alarmed during a moment when an incident happens. He moved on to direct the adult animated series of the Simpsons and Family Guy.
I had to mention burly supporting character actor the late Keith Knight (Hollis) whom was overly impressive in his role and really standing out compared to most of the cast as a nice guy and bringing on a great charm in every scene in the film by acting loud and energetic too showing a terrific sense of humor too here and there. He does a great job by acting romantic as well as being aggressive with his blocking and speaking while breaking up a fight in which he brings it out big time. Plus he showed a great wide eyed and terrifying expression when he is attacked by the killer along with a great suffocating reaction too. I always found him to be a versatile actor with the shows I've spotted him in ever since his supporting role in Meatballs. It was so sad that he passed on in 2007. Bless his soul.
Alf Humpfreys
(Howard Landers) brings some humor to the film too as a prankster since many of these characters are common for a slasher film as he has the right goofy looks and really getting into his role without a disappointment. He comes across as cheesy at times though. Yet he knew on how to act hyper pretty well and was convincing as an idiotic goofball too. Plus shows some great comedic expressions as well. He was okay at being a ham.
Cynthia Dale
(Patty) certainly knew how to act very outgoing and full of life getting ready for the party and also was great by acting terrified and intense when the killings start to happen losing control of herself. Plus was believeable while being scared stiff with great trembling expressions too. She knew how to bring all of this together and was a perfect one to be in a horror flick.
Jack Van Evera
(Happy) had a supporting role as well in this film as a superstitious old bartender in which he overdoes a bit of his aggressions when he warns the part goers of what's going to happen. Yet it seems to blend in with the story since the plot was a bit cheesy and I had to mention him. He shows an intimidating serious attitude about it which looked slightly too cheesy though but was another great key to the story.

Many gory scenes.
Peoples hearts are stuffed in candy boxes.
A pick axe is stabbed in peoples chests and face.
A person is eating a cut off arm.
An old lady is found dead in a dryer at a Laundromat.
A woman is impaled on a shower head.
A head is cut off with the body falling.
The killers arm is torn off.

The music is composed by Paul Zaza who has composed for tons of other motion pictures and TV shows and he totally gives the film that slasher type feel to it like you see in A Nightmare On Elm Street or Halloween. There's nice banjo playing dusring a moment when the employees run outside to get into their cars to go to their area and prepare for their party which sounded perfectly well done. Also, there's great low flute playing when one of the police chiefs is in the laundromat before a tragedy is discovered there. There's also some good punding sounds in the dark mine with anyone trying to survive from the killer along with some brief soft chiming sounds.
There is also music by some country artists that were unlisted for some reason.

[Mayor Hanniger & Chief Newby are driving back to City Hall in Newby's police Suburban. The Chief gestures to the heart-shaped candy box that arrived at the police building earlier, addressed to the Mayor]
Chief Jake Newby: Aren't you goint to open that?
Mayor Hanniger: Yeah.
Chief Jake Newby: Better read the card first.
[Mayor Hanniger opens the card on the front of the box]
Mayor Hanniger: [reading from the card] From the heart comes a warning, filled with bloody good - cheer, remember what happened as the 14th draws - near!
[Hanniger opens the box to find a blood-soaked heart inside. The chief looks over and is horrified by what he sees]
Chief Jake Newby: It can't be!

Jessie 'T.J.' Hanniger: We'll have a party in the mine!
Howard Landers: Yeah. Beware of Harry Warden! OOOOOOOHHHHH!
Hollis: SHUT THE FUCK UP!
Happy: Beware of what you make fun of, you little asshole!
Howard Landers: Who?
Happy: YOU!

Chief Jake Newby: [the chief is getting into his car when Tommy's car comes up behind him, swerving wildly. It stops and Tommy gets out]
[yelling]
Chief Jake Newby: Goddammit, Tommy Whitcomb what the hell's the matter with you? Where's your brains? I...
Tommy Whitcomb: Chief, listen to me. You have to go to the mine! We were having a party and Harry Warden started killing everybody!

Axel Palmer: [singing to himself] Sarah, be My Bloody Valentine...