Candy Hearts: My Bloody Valentine (1981)

“This town is acursed!”
 Valentine’s Day horror movies are pretty conventional. In fact, once the film is set around this holiday, you can guess that it involves a jilted lover. How predictable. However, there is one film that keeps you guessing even though its a film we all know. A film that works within its genre but delivers surprises around every turn. What film is that? My Bloody Valentine.

My Bloody Valentine starts off in a mine, of course, where two miners are walking into a dark area. One of them starts getting a little touchy feely and reveals herself to be a woman. The hot blonde in a gas mask starts stripping down to her underwear (it was sexy in a Naziploitation kinda way), how could this go wrong? The miner examines her heart tattoo on her breast. I guess he didn’t like it cause he then impales her on a spike, right through her ink.
We are then introduced to our group of future victims. Typically during this era, we have a group of dopey, geeky guys with girlfriends that would never even talk to them in real life (just sayin). They are decorating a hall for a St. Valentine’s Dance, the first in years.
The chief of police wanders in and throws his weight around. On his way out he is given a candy box that was left for him. Free candy left from a mysterious admirer, how could this go wrong? He and his Deputy hit the road. While driving, the chief opens his package. Candy? Nope, a bloody human heart, (probably the blonde’s).
Later at the local watering hole (that’s a bar to you city folk),the guys are embroiled in a game of Five Finger Fillet so intense that I’m sure it inspired the scene in James Cameron’s ALIENS…no, really. Everyone’s a poet and we are all forced to know it in this flick. OK sorry, had to do it. Through the poetry we learn that Valentine’s Day isn’t exactly the best time of year in this town. Of course the bartender has the lowdown. While the town was partying it up at the Valentine’s day dance, five miners were down below working. Their supervisors left them to go to the party and they suffered an accident. Trapped below for days, only one was found, Harry Warden. He survived by eating the flesh of the others.
So that’s his deal. No one listens and people start turning up dead. The dance gets canceled but the group decides to have their own party, where?, down in the mine of course. How could this go wrong?
My Bloody Valentine is a fun film. It shares the standard conventions of course, but in a slightly different way. The film does keep you guessing and that is a plus. When things are revealed, you really don’t see it coming.
How are the characters? Actually, once you get past the initial intro, they are actually a fairly realistic bunch. The standout is the late Keith Knight who plays Hollis as a living breathing person and not just a caricature, I appreciate that. All of the women are pretty standout as well which is again, an anomaly for an early 80’s slasher.
The group are adults as well so their emotions and situations rings truer. Oh how I miss the days when average looking adults would die in films. If you’ve never seen this one and wants a little Valentine’s Day bloodshed, check it out. How could you go wrong?