There was nothing in the 1980s that huge homicidal monsters and knife-wielding maniacs hated more than an important date on a calendar. Revenge? Insurance. Pleasure? Perhaps. But boy, if there was a holiday, about 10 to 15 young people were going to ‘go to a party and die right away.’ Encouraged by the big hit of 1978 Hallowe’en—Which itself was an equally holiday-inspired play about the bloodbath Black christmasThe producers began matching the festivities and the slaughter in an effort to catch up with that sweet, bloody payday. As we know now Friday the 13th“The most cheerfully transparent of Hallowe’en scams, turned into a mega-franchise of their own. But many Christmas slashers were lost in time, like Bad christmas Y New year’s bad, released one month apart in 1980, or Terror train, where college students organize a New Years party on a train, in which they experience the terror of a murderer dressed as Groucho Marx. But we’re here to talk about a slasher caught somewhere in the middle, not quite. forgotten but decidedly below Freddy, Jason and Michael Mt. Rushmore. Like, several miles down in the mines of My bloody valentineA nasty and subversively subversive job turning 40 this week, or roughly twice the age of the average slasher victim. Snuggle up with your boyfriend, let’s talk murder with a pickaxe.
For My bloody valentine, director George mihalka turned the town surrounding the decommissioned Princess Colliery mine into Novia Scotia in Valentine’s Bluff, a Canadian mining town where everyone is raving about the first Valentine’s dance in 20 years. The tradition came to a halt after two supervisors left the mine to attend the dance, failing to measure the dangerous levels of methane and causing an explosion that trapped several workers. The sole survivor, Harry Warden (Peter cowper), turned to the cannibal in the time it took to be rescued, and nibbling on the severed legs of his co-workers sent him straight to a madhouse. So surely it can’t be Harry Warden stalking Valentine’s Bluff in a miner’s outfit, handing out human hearts in boxes of chocolate, and sticking a pickaxe into people’s skulls?
Something that I really love about these 80s slashers is the way there was a formula and they were going to stick with it, to hell with sense and logic. Familiarity is the point; There’s a reason the slasher aesthetic, despite severed limbs and piercing screams, can be comforting. There is a satisfying catharsis in being frightened in a recognizable way. So if the plan to get there was Holiday + Murder, it wasn’t. Really it needs to make sense. My bloody valentine he sticks to this idea with such absurdity of brute force that it almost rounds off and becomes a deconstruction. There is no observable connection between Valentine’s Day and coal mining. If someone asked you to design a killer for Valentine’s Day, how many attempts would they make to land on a guy with a flashlight helmet and a pickaxe?
But there is real subversion everywhere My bloody valentine that sets him apart, especially in hindsight. Mihalka joked in 2017 the crew had set out to do “The deer Hunter horror movie “that is … not what I’m willing to call My bloody valentine in a public place, but the film’s emphasis on the small-town working class is a step above “these teenagers are all horrendous and therefore must die.” The murders that take place in My bloody valentine they are not a punishment for immorality, they are a punishment for the lack of safety in the workplace; for a time when two bosses literally left their employees in the dark to die. (There is a similar background in the original Friday the 13th, but with a focus more on the sinfulness of it all). rooting for a bunch of innocent twentysomethings to get hit over the head with an industrial tool, but that’s the point; It will always be the young audience from 9 to 5 who feel the impact of a system they did not create.
Look, that’s a lot to put in a movie that also shows a woman jamming her head against a leaking pipe with such force that she turns into a human tap. (An all time slasher kill!) But My bloody valentine it has hidden depths. Every now and then very literal hidden depths. The crew actually shot down in the mines, allowing only limited lighting because extensive setup was at risk. real methane explosion. Director of photography Rodney gibbins could only work with sparkless lights up to 50 watts or, like Mihalka described it in 2005, “smaller than most people have in their kitchen.”
This adds a unique, old-school feel to the deaths in the film’s third act, a very real darkness that Mihalka uses to produce a claustrophobic effect. It is a smoke. There is a classic Giallo quality to the close-ups, when the miner’s headlamp illuminates only the eyes of its victim, like something out of a Luciano Ercoli suspense novel.
My bloody valentine it’s still full of slasher cliches. The acting is still wacky, making the central love triangle squeak more than it should. There is absolutely nothing to get past the initial image of a heart tattoo on a bare chest, because the first victim should always be subtle. But what are all slashers but a jumble of cliches? And what makes a slasher a slash-ic but the audacity that peeks out? My bloody valentine It is more unique than anyone seems to remember, a 40-year-old gem still worth mining.
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