My Bloody Valentine (1981)
- 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.
My 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?!
- Director: Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer
- Writer: Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer
- Cast: Alex Essoe, Fabianne Therese, Maria Olsen
‘Ambition – the blackest of human desires.’
Sarah Walker is a wannabe starlet, stuck in a dead end job and surrounded by back-stabbing friends. When an opportunity for a gateway role with a big production company comes along, she’ll stop at nothing to get the part.
One could say that this film takes on a particular resonance at the moment, against the recent headlines of Hollywood power abuses. The influence of The Producer in the film is overpowering, and it is clear that a number of actresses have been manipulated and entrapped by him in the past, just like Sarah.
Alex Essoe’s main character Sarah is very well performed, with the character somehow managing to be both fragile and ruthlessly ambitious all at once. Essoe does a great job of portraying Sarah’s descent into desperation, and I found myself disliking her but rooting for her nonetheless.
This is an enjoyable – albeit perhaps uncomfortable – film, with occult themes and some well-constructed body horror, portraying desperation and depravity in Hollywood.
- Director: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
- Writer: Pete Goldfinger, Josh Stolberg
- Main Cast: Matt Passmore, Callum Keith Rennie, Hannah Emily Anderson
‘Now the games are simple. Best ones are. You want mercy? Play by the rules.’
Mutilated bodies are being left around the city for the cops to find, and all signs point to the Jigsaw killer John Kramer. Kramer has been dead for ten years though, so do the cops have a copycat on their hands, or did John Kramer somehow manage yet another twist to his tale?
- Director: Tim Sullivan
- Writer: Chris Kobin, Tim Sullivan
- Main Cast: Robert Englund, Lin Shaye, Jay Gillespie
‘The south with rise…’
Misguided student road trips really are excellent horror fodder, aren’t they?! Here we have three stereotypical horny teenage boys on a road trip to Florida, until they follow a detour into Pleasant Valley (Population: 2001) where they – along with five other misled travellers – are welcomed as guests of honour at the Confederate town’s annual Guts and Glory Jubilee. The strange townsfolk ply them with food and drink, and make them feel very welcome…at first.
I was very tempted to include 2001 Maniacs in my recent Top 5 Comedy-Horrors list, but I felt the comedy aspect didn’t quite make the cut. However, I do really like it, so it gets its very own feature!
- Director: George A. Romero
- Writer: John Russo, George A. Romero
- Main Cast: Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea
‘They’re coming to get you Barbra!’
After an unprovoked attack at a graveyard, during which her brother is killed, a woman named Barbra takes refuge in a nearby farmhouse. There she is joined by Ben, who starts barricading the doors and windows whilst unsuccessfully trying to get some help (or sense!) out of the catatonic Barbra. Five more people join them there, and the group alternates between bickering amongst themselves and listening aghast to news reports of the swathe of murderous attacks that are taking place…followed by reports of cannibalism…and finally reports of the dead returning to life. The group try to decide how to deal with the hoard that has gathered outside the farmhouse, with the hope that they can make their escape to safety.
It was the passing of the horror master George A. Romero in July that provoked me to start this blog, as I found myself badly wanting to wax lyrical about his works. So, it is only fitting that my first real entry is dedicated to his masterpiece.