Thanks to Scream Factory, a Canadian cult classic slasher gets the deluxe Blu treatment that it deserves.
My Bloody Valentine is one of the most greatest slasher films of all time. Shot on location in a real (out of commission) mine in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada, there’s an unmistakable air of authenticity to the entire production.
Director George Mihalka and screenwriter John Beaird dedicate nearly as much time to their core cast as they do to the elaborate death sequences and the result is a film that is as emotionally compelling as it is gory. These aren’t simply forgettable characters to be put through the meat grinder for the audience’s delight; they are fleshed out people with legitimate class issues. The realities of living in a small town driven by a single economic industry is starkly presented and serves to underline most of the film’s conflicts, particularly the romantic triangle between TJ (Paul Kelman), Axel (Neil Affleck) and Sarah (Lori Hallier), as well as the tragic history of the fictitious town of Valentine Bluffs.
Even if the drama between the film’s three leads doesn’t entice viewers, the film is filled with memorable supporting characters, including kindly Ms. Mabel (Patricia Hamilton), bemusing Howard (Alf Humphreys) and my ride-or-die slasher fave Hollis (Keith Knight), arguably the most lovable character in any 80s slasher.
Throw in some truly epic kills, including Mabel’s laundromat death, the sexy pick-axe through the heart opening and, of course, the incomparable head through the shower faucet, and a great, authentic costume for killer “Harry Warden” (dancer/stuntman Peter Cowper) and My Bloody Valentine is a quintessential classic of the subgenre.
As with nearly every Scream Factory release, the true reason to pick up the latest release is twofold: it looks great and it has a bounty of special features.
The film looks exceptional – the gory scenes that were omitted by MPAA request from the film’s theatrical release (expanded upon in a featurette on the first disc) have been expertly cleaned up and incorporated into the unrated edition seamlessly. This is particularly evident in the scene where the Sheriff discovers Mabel’s body in the laundromat – there is quite a bit more footage of her corpse spinning around to gloriously disgusting effect. There is a little bit of grain in some of the transfer, but these moments are exceedingly rare and, overall, this is the best that the film has ever looked.
Of particular note in the Special Features camp is director George Mihalka’s audio commentary on the second disc’s unrated cut. It’s informative and candid in all of the ways that you hope for when someone is reflecting on one of their favourite films. Mihalka is occasionally prompted with questions to help ensure a near continuous flow of facts and reminiscing, including fascinating details about the aggressive shooting schedule required due to the lengthy time it took to move equipment up and down the old mine, which despite being out of commission was still dangerous due to methane gas build-up.
For genre enthusiasts, his reservations about including one of the more aggravating tropes of the slasher genre (“let’s not tell anyone there’s a murderer on the loose in order to protect them”), as well as his interest in reflecting the actual lived experience of miners – right down to the clothes, dining and drinking habits – confirms that the director put the utmost care into what could have been a generic horror film during the glut of Cycle 1 slashers back in the early 80s.
What is also evident in both the interviews (on the first disc) and the cast reunion for the film’s 35th anniversary at the Bay of Blood convention in Tampa (on the second disc) is just how much they love and respect the film. It makes sense given the film’s longevity in the horror community, but hearing everyone involved in the production discuss their experiences with such reverence and enthusiasm is a dream for horror fans.
Full List of Bonus Features
DISC 1 – Theatrical Version:
- NEW 4K scan of the original camera negative
- NEW An Anemic Valentine – an interview with director George Mihalka
- NEW From the Heart – an interview with actor Paul Kelman
- NEW Friends of Mine – an interview with actress Lori Hallier
- NEW Axel, Be My Valentine – an interview with actor Neil Affleck
- NEW Becoming Sylvia – an interview with actress Helene Udy
- NEW The Secret Keeper – an interview with actor Rob Stein
- NEW Broken Hearts and Broken Bones – an interview with special makeup effects designer Tom Burman
- NEW Holes in the Heart – a look at the difference between the theatrical version and the uncut version
- Theatrical Trailer
- TV Spots
- Radio Spots
- Still Gallery
DISC 2 – Uncut Version:
- NEW 4K scan of the uncut original camera negative
- NEW Audio Commentary with director George Mihalka
- MY BLOODY VALENTINE 35th Anniversary Cast Reunion panel at the Bay of Blood Convention in Florida featuring director George Mihalka, cast members Lori Hallier, Helene Udy, Rob Stein, Peter Cowper, Thomas Kovacs, Jim Murchison, Alf Humphreys and hosted by Brian Singleton
- Thomas Kovacs performs “The Ballad of Harry Warden” at the Bay of Blood Convention with Peter Cowper and Jim Murchison
The deluxe two disc edition of My Bloody Valentine is now available for purchase everywhere.