Remember the 14th
The crew of My Bloody Valentine filmed this slasher in Nova Scotia, specifically a mining town, Sydney Mines. At the time – 1980 – the town hoped movie production would bring tourists, jolting the economy. Environmental issues were shutting mines down, and with it, jobs.
Turns out, those circumstances suited My Bloody Valentine. It’s a story about a crazed miner, lashing out at the corporation who nearly left him for dead in an underground collapse. That angle instills My Bloody Valentine with working class anxieties, bringing blue collar fears to the forefront. America grew richer in the ‘80s – but not the middle class who saw factory jobs slipping away. My Bloody Valentine was right on cue.
A sexual tension drives this story. It’s atypical. This doesn’t concern teens, rather regrets and the challenges that leaving a small community like Sydney Mines represents. There’s also a bizarre opening in which a woman suggestively caresses the killer’s breathing apparatus, a kooky fantasy that continues through this movie, if in more indirect ways.
My Bloody Valentine makes no excuses for its violence
My Bloody Valentine makes no excuses for its violence
During a time of major corporate takeover and growth, My Bloody Valentine uses the community for camaraderie. It’s tiny, but together. Personal problems intercede, yet when the killing spree begins, everyone joins together. The rest is typical, heavily masculine in scope with women cowering once the murder spree begins.
Without question, Jaws’ influence plays a role. The Valentine’s dance evokes fear, yet it’s deemed too important to cancel (initially, anyway). People spend money at these things. Even the killer, who sends body parts to authorities, wrapped in chocolate boxes.
For something so locked in on popular formula, My Bloody Valentine finds creative methods. Not only the thematic lure, but the mines themselves, forever eerie and tense. It’s the best type of horror cinema, dropping people into claustrophobic corridors without room to escape, then unleashing a slaughter. Alien, only with a relatable killer.
Design uses evocative reds to draw the eye. Where a Christmas-themed slasher uses colorful lights, here everything is emboldened in red. Hearts become less a romantic motif than one of brutality. Amid the red dresses, red decorations, and red lights, red blood seeps from boxes or wounds. With the right gusto, My Bloody Valentine makes no excuses for its violence. Gouged eyeballs and impromptu water pipes create classless, comical exploitation, although My Bloody Valentine is lashing out with purpose. Without a spoken word, the mystery pick-ax wielder carries angst in every strike. That anger is misdirected, if no less understood.
Shout/Scream Factory brings a new 4K scan to Blu-ray, the freshness evident in this image immediately notable. Tack sharp visuals give this northern hemisphere locale vivid texture, with rust and stains providing the dirty aesthetic. Faces covered in soot deliver definition in droves. Close-ups perform consistently, with limited fidelity loss from cinematography – the latter a purposeful choice.
All damage is removed, leaving this print in flawless condition. In the extended cut, only two shots show any degradation. The rest loses nothing, and matches the overall look.
Underground, black levels not only hit their mark, they do so with stunning depth. With little light afforded to these scenes, the natural push toward true black doesn’t crush. Visible detail in wood and dirt remains clear. Shadows find the best in both density and detail.
Encoding handles a thin grain transparently. My Bloody Valentine is without noise, impressive when considering the red’s vibrancy. That’s typically a problem. Not here. Instead, color flourishes, saturated and attractive throughout.
Mixed low (very low), DTS-HD can only offer so much to something recorded in echo-y mines. While flat, the lean dialog does come through clearly.
A small score handles treble with ease. Importantly, the song during the closing credits sounds great.
For whatever reason, the box art doesn’t list even a fraction of this material. Regardless, this is a two-disc set, one offering the theatrical cut, the other the director’s cut. Each is given different bonuses.
With the theatrical cut, you can watch seven interviews with cast/crew. These delve into rich detail, some running near a half hour. Holes in the Heart looks at the differences between the two versions, running them side-by-side. Marketing materials (trailers, radio spots, etc.) follow.
Over on the unrated version, director George Mihalka provides commentary. He’s then on stage for a 35th anniversary cast reunion panel that runs 47-minutes. Finally, a live performance of the end credits song (“The Ballad of Henry Warden”) is a fun bit.
Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.
My Bloody Valentine
While taking pieces from multiple genre films prior, My Bloody Valentine finds a way to instill a slasher with working class fears.
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