Roses are Red, Violets are Blue. One is dead, and so are you!
This and many more poems of love and affection can be found in the often forgotten 80's slasher gem, My Bloody Valentine. The film itself is nothing new, you've seen it all before. Slasher flicks were a dime a dozen and EVERYBODY was trying to cash in on the craze. However, there are a few slasher flicks that do stand out in the crowd of muck. My Bloody Valentine is without a doubt, one of those few diamonds in the rough (along with F13 4 and The Prowler). The year is 2002 and the occasion is that the obscure 80's slasher flick My Bloody Valentine has surfaced on DVD. The votes have been tabulated and the results are in. The good news is that Paramount has impressed me. The bad news is that they have also managed to appall me at the same time. Confused yet? Well, so am I so please do read on and we'll try to get to the bottom of this bloody mess.
Our story takes place in a small mid western town called Valentine's Bluff (get it?). It must be the name of the town cause these folks are big on V-Day and I guess it goes without saying that they've been having their annual Valentine's Day dance for well over the past 100 years. Until now that is. 20 years ago 4 miners were killed because of the carelessness of two of their supervisors who couldn't wait to get to the annual dance. One miner survived, his name is Harry Warden. 1 year after the incident (on Valentine's Day of course), Harry came back to Valentine's Bluff to seek his revenge. Cut to present time, 19 years later and nearly all has been forgotten. I say nearly, because someone still remembers. Someone dressed in miner's garb and brandishing a pick-ax that is. Harry Warden or not, this person has a thirst for some Valentine's blood. They've ignored the warnings and even though the annual dance was canceled, a group of locals decide to have their own party in the mine. Is Harry Warden back? Or is someone else carrying out his grisly Valentine tradition of slicing and dicing?
In my opinion there are two types of slasher "classics" if you will. You've got the slashers that were innovators like Halloween and Black Christmas. These films were originators and spawned many copycats. I'm not going to lie to you; My Bloody Valentine is definitely one of those copycats. Which brings me to the second type of slasher "classic", the obvious but hella fun copycat. Although nearly a carbon copy, paint by the numbers slasher flick, My Bloody Valentine is able to retain its own unique style and stand out in a crowd of bloodthirsty clones. I don't know exactly what it is, but I'd imagine it's a combination of many things that allow this film to be a success. The assured direction, deliberate pacing and clever kills all help (it manages to be effectively creepy and stylish). The film also features a great supporting cast albeit a supporting cast of pretty much nobody's, but they give us their all. The film is bloody, but not too bloody and never seems excessive (probably another reason the film manages to play off as more than just a cheap knock off). Timing is essential as this film came out around the same time as F13 part two, before Jason started hacking and slashing his way through cinemas. Which brings me to the poems. Ahhh, the magical poems of My Bloody Valentine. Just before (or sometimes after) a murder takes place, a heart shaped box of candy is delivered. Only it doesn't contain any candy. Are you ready for this? It contains an actual heart! I'll bet you didn't see that one coming. Well, in addition to the heart, it quite often contains a poem as well. Poems like the one previously mentioned, or my all time favorite; It happened once, It happened twice. Cancel the dance, or it'll happen thrice!" It never gets old, no matter how many times I hear it.
The film is a gem, and so is the quality of this DVD transfer. Although there are some instances of film grain and some minor print damage, for the most part the transfer is near flawless. For such a low budget 80's slasher, we couldn't have asked for much more. Colors are extremely sharp and vibrant (especially the Valentine reds) and black levels are dead on (many scenes take place in a darkened mine shaft). Paramount's transfer has exceeded my expectations, and this edition easily outclasses all others as I've seen 'em all (VHS, Laser Disc).
Audio is presented in a decent mono mix with crisp, clear dialogue and great separation between the music and effects. Definitely one of the better mono tracks I've heard recently, nice job.
According to the DVD packaging, Paramount lists the following special features. Widescreen Version, English Subtitles and Dolby Digital Mono tracks in French and English. Well, as we all know without picture and sound we wouldn't have much of a DVD to enjoy, so I think these hardly qualify as "special features". At least they stopped calling the menu and chapter stops special features so all is not a loss I suppose. I have to say that all of this is very disappointing. Do we really have to disrespect the fans and charge a whopping $24.99 MSRP for a bare bones reissue from 1981? Give me a break. At least MGM has it right as they release countless double features and obscure special editions for MSRP's under 15 bucks with most retailers selling for under 10! Paramount, I appreciate the fact that you've released one of my favorite slasher flicks on DVD, but I shouldn't be required to pay top dollar for a bare bones edition. Not to mention the fact that the "new" Photoshop cover design probably created by some hipster artist fresh out of college (who's probably never even seen the film) sucks my hairy ass! What the hell is wrong with the original artwork? What the hell are you afraid of Paramount? Get on the damn ball already!
Paramount, I am giving you a homework assignment. You are to continue to dip into your vaults and release these forgotten gems, that part you've gotten right (start releasing them uncut though). What you need to do is tier your pricing structure to reflect the product at hand. This goes for all your releases not just horror titles. Seriously, Better Off Dead for 24.99 MSRP? Are you kidding me? I'll wait till the price drops to 12 bucks, which also happens to be the price it should have originally sold for. As for My Bloody Valentine, I hate to say it but the DVD is worth the price tag. I trust you'll be pleased, and lucky for you, your wallet won't feel as heavy in your back pocket either. Joy.