Friday, February 12, 2016

I Watched Both My Bloody Valentines, So You Don’t Have To

You may be surprised to realize, but there is a paucity of valentine themed horror movies in the world today.  Fortunately we have My Bloody Valentine (1981), which did its bloody best with a killer who delivers human hearts in heart shaped boxes and leaves valentines in gaping chest cavities.  If that’s not literal enough for you, he’s also lurking around a small town named Valentine Bluff and only strikes once a year on the eve of the Valentine’s Day Dance.
One thing I’ve noticed about all these old school slasher movies is the town fathers; the police chiefs and mayors who are always more worried about creating a panic.  Or they don’t believe the teens when they claim to have witnessed a murder and the body has mysteriously vanished.  It’s a cheap plot device and I think the only director of note who utilized it effectively was Alfred Hitchcock.  Fortunately, the sheriff of Valentine Bluff receives the signature heart shaped valentine box containing a bloody human heart to assure him that the killer has inexplicably escaped the mental institution (it’s always a mental institution, and they probably released him because of budget cuts), and is inexplicably on his way back to town. 
For some reason I can tolerate 80’s teens more than 21st century teens in movies, maybe because the 80’s teen actors in My Bloody Valentine all look like they’re over 30.  Or maybe pre-Internet teens aged harder, because of all the smoking and having to go to the library to look everything up.
The first My Bloody Valentine is a Canadian production starring virtually no one of note.  I understand that each of these actors and filmmakers are individual human beings with hopes, dreams and aspirations, which I’m certain were fulfilled in other arenas.  The elaborate death scenes and special effects have achieved a certain cult notoriety, and are comparable to anything George A. Romero put out at the time.  Because of the time period and the bellbottoms, My Bloody Valentine reminds me superficially of John Carpenter’s Halloween, except without the excellent soundtrack, the compounding sense of dread, a truly enigmatic and terrifying killer and of course, Jamie Lee Curtis.
However My Bloody Valentine does feature a death by boiled hot dog water scene, so there’s that…
Now the 2009 reboot has the full force of Lionsgate behind it and follows the original plot and characters with a faithfulness that implies an obvious affection of the source material.  It was filmed in eye-popping 3D, and that’s not hyperbole, there’s an actual eye that pops out when the killer clocks yet another helpless teen in the back of the head with his trusty pickaxe.
The original evil miner gas mask pickaxe killer returns in a remake where the gore, dismemberment, nudity and violence are all turned up to 11.  There’s a hospital slaughter scene in the first 3 minutes, followed by the requisite human heart in the heart shaped chocolate box, conveniently left behind by the killer.  It’s also star-studded, at least compared to the original, with Jamie King, Jensen Ackles aka Dean Winchester and the great Tom Atkins who you know from The Fog (1980), Escape From New York (1981), Halloween 3 Season of the Witch (1983) and Maniac Cop (1988)!  What more do you want?
Some of you traditionalists might prefer a more romantic (ugh) Valentine’s Day so for those I can't think of a better film than Some Like It Hot (1959) directed by Hollywood Legend Billy Wilder and starring three more legends; Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe.  What does this movie have to do with Valentine’s Day, you may ask?  Well, the two boys have to get outta town quick because they happen to witness a gangland murder that has come to be known as, you guessed it, The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre...


my first novel? thanks for asking:) I wrote a 4 book supernatural martial arts series concerning the ongoing feud between a group of kung-fu killer witches in san francsico’s chinatown.