It’s always typical for this fledgling movie viewer to know what is considered the holy bundle of horror viewing. Everyone has their own interpretation of what is considered a classic, must-see film, especially in the horror movie genre. However, over the years, there are a handful of titles that have remained consistent when I ask people what horror movies do they always return back to or consider to be on their top lists. The original MY BLOODY VALENTINE usually makes it into those lists. With one year left until it’s 40th birthday, Scream Factory is delivering a special Collector’s Edition of the much-beloved, gorefest. And, for this new movie viewer, it was time for me to finally see what all the fuss was about. Needless to say, my heart was not safe while watching.
The film follows a group of teenagers (though they really look and behave like late-20 somethings trapped in a small mining town) excitedly preparing for the town’s first Valentine’s Day dance in almost twenty years. As is revealed throughout the course of the film, there’s a reason why it’s taken so long for the town to feel comfortable celebrating the momentous day. Twenty years prior, a tragic accident occurred in the town’s mine, where the lives of five miners were taken as a result of the explosion. However, there was only one survivor – Harry Warden. As a result of being left down in the mine with his fellow dead comrades for weeks while the town dug them out, he went insane. Even though Harry Warden was institutionalized, security wasn’t all that great back in the day and somehow he got out on the first anniversary of that fateful day. As revenge for the town celebrating Valentine’s Day, he went on a killing spree until he was apprehended and sent back to the institution.
Now it seems that Warden, or somebody, knows that the town is attempting to celebrate Valentine’s Day once again. For star-crossed lovers T.J. (Paul Kelman) and Sarah (Lori Hallier) and the obvious third wheel Axel (Neil Affleck), they intend to celebrate the holiday however they can alongside their other teen peers. However, the longer they try to arrange the party, the more intense the warnings become. First, a box of candy containing warnings and then people start to literally lose their hearts. Will anyone survive the murderer or will they all just become bloody valentines in the end?
So, MY BLOODY VALENTINE had me on edge. It also had me screaming at my screen because the film is an obvious product of the early ’80s, so the tropes we’ve all become familiar with are very much present in the film. One of the highlights of the film was how the plot was set up. The film didn’t start off with the tragic backstory, which it could have very well done. However, the audience got to see the threads be untangled throughout the course of the film without it taking away from the experience. Also, the ending was greatly unsettling and left me wanting more in a good way. I also greatly appreciated the chemistry between the cast as it definitely sold on that small-town feel. You could already feel the tension as soon as everyone got together, which made it all the more terrifying when these groups of people started to get picked off one by one. My only complaint would be that there were certain transitional gory moments that were obviously cut from the theatrical version but, as I later learned from the special features, there was a lot of editing that had to be done in order to make the movie censorship gods happy. So, I was able to toss aside that complaint quite easily.
Now, since it is the Collector’s Edition, the team at Scream Factory made it a point to bulk up the Blu-ray’s special features. And, when I say that it feels like it has a lot, I am definitely not exaggerating. There are a handful of interviews diving deep into the making of the film, the politics behind why Canadian horror was booming during the ’80sm and more. I’m not 100% sure as to whether or not the information shared will be news to fans of the original film but, for this first-time viewer, I was completely and utterly fascinated by all the things that I learned about the production. Another new thing that has been added to the special features is a segment that has you look at the differences between the original theatrical version drenched in all of its censorship and the uncut version. I hadn’t realized at the time I watched the theatrical version on the disc, but a lot of the key gore elements were noticeably cut, which made the theatrical version not as smooth. Having that special segment comparing the two versions was immensely helpful for me and may provide further insight to fans everywhere.
Overall, after my initial viewing of the film, I’d say that MY BLOODY VALENTINE still stands the test of time almost 40 years later. Yeah, the characters make some pretty facepalming moves, but what young person doesn’t? Especially when thinking everything is a-okay when it actually isn’t? For both fans new and old, this particular Collector’s Edition is a must-have purely because of all the special features that are included in it. You are going to want to see those interviews because they are super informative. I definitely would recommend you add this to your collection.
The Collector’s Edition of MY BLOODY VALENTINE is now available for pre-order on ShoutFactory.com. It’ll be released through Scream Factory on February 11, 2020. Just in time for that special Valentine’s day!