On Valentine's Day twenty years ago the sole survivor of a fatal mining accident murdered the people at fault, warning the townsfolk never to have a Valentine's celebration. But when the present local youngsters ignore the warning, a mysterious killer dressed in mining gear appears. Is this the murderer returning to carry out his threat?
With a pre-opening-credits murder, an annoying practical joker providing false jump scares, and a prophet of doom warning the victims of doom ahead, it's hard to remember that these probably weren't yet cliches at the time the film was being produced. My Bloody Valentine is a classic early 1980s slasher movie, fitting the now well-known template very well.
I seem to remember the video of the film available in the UK at the time was heavily cut, so this was an interesting opportunity for me to see the gore as it was originally intended. And it is surprisingly effective, especially when you consider it's over 30 years old. The killings are creative and (for the time) fairly original. A tumble dryer sequence, a frankfurter facial, and an eye-popping pickaxe attack, are all superb examples of the impressive special effects and make-up. The locations and sets are also good, in particular the underground mine scenes (which were apparently filmed in an real mine). And there are some great scenes with tension and atmosphere, which I really enjoyed. Dressing the killer in mining garb, including a creepy-looking gas mask - which also amplified his breathing - was a great decision.
On the downside, a couple of the characters are quite annoying. The practical joker trying WAY too hard to be funny, really got on my nerves. And a whiny female character towards the end who kept whimpering, "I can't go any further" over and over, made me wish somebody would just say "fair enough" and leave her behind.
It seems most of the bloodshed could have been avoided if it wasn't for the old policeman in the nylon wig. After the first two murders, he is adamant not to have 'the place crawling with cops' (surely a good idea with a murderer on the loose?) and insists on keeping everything secret from the locals (who consequently put themselves in grave danger from not knowing there's any risk).
But these are minor complaints. Overall, it's a suitably creepy slasher movie, with creative kills and great gore effects, and some nice touches of dark humour. It even has a surprise at the very end - though not the usual final jump scare you might be expecting. And I loved how the final credits roll while a song recaps the story! I'm so glad I finally got to see the 'full' version of this film, and I'm sure fans of 80s horror movies, or slasher films in general, would enjoy this. 4/5