Original VS Remake: My Bloody Valentine

My Bloody Valentine (1981)BloodyValentine1981

  • Director: George Mihalka
  • Writer: Stephen A. Miller, John Beaird
  • Main Cast: Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier, Neil Affleck

‘From the heart comes a warning, filled with bloody good cheer, remember what happened as the 14th draws near!’

The town of Valentine Bluffs is excitingly preparing for a Valentine’s Day Dance, but some of the older townsfolk are wary; twenty years’ earlier, a miner – Harry Warden – committed a series of cannibalistic murders after going insane when trapped for weeks by a cave in, and threatened to return if a Valentine’s Dance were ever to be held again.

BloodyValentine2009My Bloody Valentine (2009)

  • Director: Patrick Lussier
  • Writer: Todd Farmer, Zane Smith
  • Main Cast: Jensen Ackles, Kerr Smith, Jaime King

‘Happy fucking Valentine’s Day.’

A miner with a screw loose – Harry Warden – is trapped by a cave in, and kills all the other survivors to save himself. He is eventually rescued, badly hurt and comatose, only to wake up and continue his killing spree. He is finally brought down by the police, but ten years later the town is once again beset with gruesome killings. Is Harry Warden back for revenge?

What more appropriate way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, than with a review of the two installments of My Bloody Valentine?!

The original My Bloody Valentine from 1981 is a classic – a quintessential 80’s slasher flick along the lines of Black Christmas and The Burning. I must admit, I’ve only very recently watched it for the first time and I regret it’s taken me so long. Clever but uncomplicated plot, a lumbering masked killer, stupid teenagers prioritising partying over safety…it’s a winning formula! The film is well structured, managing to squeeze in a significant back story and a fair amount of character development, with zero dull moments.

The deaths are inventive and gory, which was actually almost the film’s downfall – lots of cuts had to be made for the film to get general release with an R-rating in the US. There’s a great interview on The Terror Trap website with the director George Mihalka, where he explains which scenes were cut, and how some of the death scenes were originally scripted and shot. While a partially uncut version is now available, it sounds as if we’re still missing out on some really juicy stuff!

Moving on, I do quite enjoy the 2009 My Bloody Valentine, but I accept that this is largely because of my fondness for both Jensen Ackles and Kerr Smith! This is a watchable film, but it isn’t a patch on the original. The best kills are taken from original, while any changes to the plot (it is not a direct remake) don’t add much to the experience. The main innovation behind the remake is the use of 3D. I saw this at the cinema and I did enjoy the 3D aspect – an open chest cavity in 3D is pretty striking! – but it’s not exactly top quality special effects, and isn’t enough to make the remake particularly worthwhile.

So, the 2009 version isn’t terrible – and the big names and special effects probably make it worth a watch – but it’s the original 1981 version that is absolutely a must-see!

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