Director: George Mihalka
Cast: Lori Hallier, Helene Udy, Neil Affleck, Carl Marotte
Lionsgate Films / NTSC R1 / Rated R / Widescreen 1.78:1 (Anamorphic) / ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Stereo / 90 minutes / PURCHASE FROM DIABOLIKDVD.COM
Canadian horror has a little known but rich history. Horror/sci-fi master David Cronenberg (Shivers, Videodrome) and Bob Clark (Deathdream, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things) are native to the Great White North and are legends in the genre. Aside from Cronenberg’s contributions of “Body Horror“, I would say that the Canucks are most well known for their slasher flicks. Clark’s 1974 Black Christmas was a groundbreaking film that changed the formula of the slasher started by Hitchcock’s Psycho in 1960 but didn’t hit it big until John Carpenter’s Halloween in 1978. Other slash-tastic Canadian notables are Prom Night, Terror Train, Happy Birthday to Me and George Mihalka’s My Bloody Valentine.
In a small Canadian mining town called Valentine Bluffs there is a story that 20 years ago a group of miners were trapped when a mine collapsed on them as their supervisors, who were supposed to be watching out for them, drank the night away at a Valentine’s Day party. One of the trapped workers, Harry Warden, survived and took his revenge on the people responsible as well (as anyone who dares party on St. Valentine’s) by murdering them in gruesome ways; his favorite being with a huge pickax. Now, 2 decades later, the town decides that enough time has passed and it’s time to get back to celebrating and getting their groove on with Cupid. But Harry, who was thought to be in a loony bin, has other plans as he continues his reign of heart wrenching (literally) terror.
Up until this release, I never had the good fortune of seeing this fantastic movie. If you are into the slasher sub-genre as I am, I don’t know if there is any way you wouldn’t like this flick. It has all of the things you like about the American slasher (hot young victims, grisly kills, a masked maniac killer, etc.) but it adds its own flavor not seen in the U.S. versions up to that point. It’s set in a small, working class town with blue collar people instead of middle class suburbia and the film’s climax takes place in a real mine, hundreds of feet below ground. The caves and tunnels are a dark, damp, claustrophobic nightmare in and of themselves, not to mention the gas mask clad madman stalking you around every corner. The kills are also very imaginative as an old woman is thrown in a clothes dryer and set to “crispy” and one victim gives new meaning to “shower head”.
Lionsgate, the people who brought this year’s My Bloody Valentine 3-D remake to theaters, re-released this Special Edition Uncut DVD of the original to coincide with it. The disk includes the theatrical cut as well as a longer extended cut. They seemingly spared no expense with the new transfer as it looks like it was shot this year as well with only 1 or 2 lower quality inserts of previously cut material in the extended version. The Dolby Digital Stereo comes through loud and clear so you can hear Harry’s Darth Vader-esque breathing. The supplimental materials include a very interesting short documentary called “Bloodlust: My Bloody Valentine and the Rise of the Slasher Film”, an interactive horror film history and deleted footage with introductions from the director, cast and FX designers. This is a top-notch release.