Happy Valentine’s Day: Taking a Look at “My Bloody Valentine” (1981) 29 Years Later

Happy Valentine’s Day to my lovers, my friends, my in-betweeners, and my single party people!
What’s better than spending $100+ on a date night out? If you’re like me, then staying in and watching some good movies is always better. Right now, streaming services have a slew of romantic films for you to cuddle up to and revel in the bliss of Hollywood-curated love. Netflix has gems like Obvious Child (2014), The Notebook (2004), and Her (2013). You can cry along to If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) or binge 90 Day Fiance on HULU. Or you can get a little wild and watch The Big Sick (2017) and Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001) on Amazon Prime. No matter what streaming service you choose, love is in the air.

HOWEVER, if you’re a gal like me, there’s nothing like snuggling up with a good horror movie for any day of the year. Horror films are the epitome of comfort to me, so I have special one’s I watch for every holiday. Krampus (2015) and Black Christmas (1974/2019) on Christmas, Jaws (1975) on the Fourth of July, and My Bloody Valentine (1981) for Valentine’s Day (watch for free on Crackle)!

My Blood Valentine is a 1981 horror-slasher film. Before the likes of Scream (1996), Happy Death Day (2017), and the last three Halloween remakes could flourish, there were 80’s horror-slashers. They carved the way for the future camp-iness of all horror films, and My Blood Valentine is the definition of what a 1980’s slasher film should be.

Image still from My Bloody Valentine- A woman is being held up by a masked villain in a miner's costume
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures

The film takes place in a mining town called ‘Valentine Bluffs,’ where the small townsmen all work in the mines, where there is only one police officer who is also the sheriff, and where superstitions and urban legends dictate how they live their small-town lives. 20 years prior to the beginning of the story, several miners were trapped after an explosion occurred, due to the negligence of their supervisors- whom forgot to check the methane gas levels in the mine before they left their post to the attend the towns Valentine’s Day dance. Only one miner was rescued and survived the mine explosion, but because he had to resort to cannibalism in order to survive, he was found clinically insane. As an act of revenge, the miner murdered the two supervisors who neglected their post, and he vowed that if the townspeople ever threw another Valentine’s Day dance, then he would begin to murder once again. He was placed into a mental institution and the town of Valentine Bluffs never threw another Valentine’s dance after that…

Until 20 years later, where the beginning of the film takes place. The town’s mayor finally allows for there to be dance, but that lover’s bliss doesn’t last too long, because there begins to be murders and ominous threats in the form of human hearts. This prompts the mayor to cancel the dance at the behest of the mysterious killer. But because this is a horror movie, the towns young people don’t listen and throw a Valentine’s party anyways- leading to a series of unfortunate events and some very gory deaths.

Image still from My Bloody Valentine- A hand is covering a red heart decoration on a door
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures

If you’re looking to watch a film with in-depth character analysis and development, well look somewhere else. My Bloody Valentine is full of that special kind of cheesiness that makes horror films so damn special. There’s preposterous situations, cheesy lines, and lots of screams. The film actually received a hefty censorship upon its releasing by the Motion Picture Association of America, which ended up cutting 9 minutes from the film because of its pure skin crawling violence. The women in this film are almost completely helpless, and the men are mostly jokers who can barely even take care of themselves, let alone each other. The acting is severely over the top, the final battle climax is fairly anti-climactic, and the characters make every worst decision possible. They are the perfect recipe for a murderous disaster. I freaking love it! As the pick-ax slinging, gas-mask wearing miner hunts them down one-by-one, you can’t help but appreciate this film for all that it is and all the fun it has to offer you.

But what makes this film so special is not just it’s plot-holes and it’s nostalgia of an almost bygone era of practical effects and camp in horror films. What makes it so special is that, through it all, it remains a Valentine’s Day movie. It takes place in a town called Valentine’s Bluff. There’s pink and red decorations galore, with hearts at every turn (paper and real hearts.)There’s even a complex love triangle at it’s center. Compiled altogether, My Bloody Valentine is truly a horror classic. It embraces the genre, and never tries to be something it’s not. The creators made something that is one of a kind- something its remake in 2009 could not replicate. What a perfect Valentine’s day treat for horror lovers and just lovers in general!

Image still from My Bloody Valentine- A group of 6 friends are standing and staring off camera.
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures
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