By: Justin Hopkins
It’s that time of year. Love is in the air. Couples are doing… what couples do and those who are not in a relationship are trying to not stand out in a movie theater and avoid the sentence, “I have a friend that will be perfect for you.” I am kidding of course.. I always stand out in a theater. But it’s that magical time known as Valentines Day, and what better way to celebrate it, than a slasher movie surrounding the day of love, but which one to go for; the original or the remake. So, let’s break them down and see which one prevails, shall we, and like always we start things off with the original.
My Bloody Valentine 1981
The movie starts out, with the miner killing a woman, who was trying to seduce him in the mine, before we make a jump to the showers, where a group of miners are getting ready to leave for the day. Ascending on to the town to help set up a Valentine’s Day Party. We learn a few small things about the character. Notably, that Axel is now with T.J’s Ex-Girlfriend, Sarah. A relationship that started after T.J. up and left town to try and make it on his own. and that this is the first Valentine’s Day Party to happen in twenty years. Meanwhile, the Mayor receives a heart shape box of chocolate hearts, with a heart inside. Along with a warning about what happened long ago. Later, at the bar, we learn about the curse on the town. Twenty years ago, during a Valentine’s Day Party. Where everyone, but seven were there. Five in the mine, and two supervisors who got impatient who left before the five came up. Not checking the methane levels and an explosion rang out. It took six weeks and only one came out, Harry Warden. After a year in an institution, he came back. Killing the supervisors and cut out their hearts and placed them in heart shaped boxes. Leaving them at the Party. Warning them to never hold another party again, and as the story went. He would come back every year to make sure they are not having one. Meanwhile, the Mayor and Sheriff are trying to reach the institution and the corner tells them it’s a human heart. The mayor wants to cancel the party, and when the Sheriff goes to talk to Mabel about it. Discovers that she has been killed the night before. Sheriff agrees that the party has to be cancelled after another note is found, but keeps everything quiet. Trying to avoid a panic, but the teens simply move the party to the mines, and that is where I will leave it.
The story was a pretty simple, let effective one. Just a small little town, trying to enjoy the holiday and move away from the rocky past that still reverberates in the minds of the older people who lived it. It didn’t need to be more than that. Using the atmosphere, and mostly importantly, The Miner to build the tension.
I loved the Miner in this film. Definitely in the running for most underrated of the slashers. Black oxygen mask and jumpsuit coming across as extremely intimidating. Giving him a bulky look and the creepy nature of the mask. Throw in the use of a pickaxe and you got a great killer. They had a nice little twist with him as well. Everyone so sure it was Harry, to find it was actually Axel. The son of one of the Supervisors, who saw Harry kill him, when he was a child.
The carnage candy was pretty solid. Never really getting to see the death blow, but they shined with the aftermath. From Mabel falling head first out of the dryer and the girl who got her head shoved through one of the shower spigots and when she was found. We see water flowing out of her mouth. It was good fun all around.
Last pro, would be the shots. They did a good job at framing the shots of the mines, and creating a claustrophobic atmosphere. From the characters not being able to stand all the way up and winding tunnels.
I normally have a paragraph about the cast and would feel bad about not talking about them. They all did a good job. Lori Hallier was good as Sarah and Neil Affleck was good at balancing Axel as both a potential victim and later, deranged killer. No one really stood out to much, but everyone had good chemistry together.
Alright, negative time, and there is only one, and that is the little love triangle. I am not going to count it too much against it , but it never really works. If we had more time than maybe it could have worked a bit more. The problem lays mostly with T.J. and Axel. They each go back and forth between likeable and non, like flicking a switch. At any moment, you can go from liking one, to disliking them, and by the end the only reason T.J is likable is because he’s not the killer.
This movie was pretty solid all the way through. It was a fun little slasher, with creative kills and a menacing killer in the form of the Miner. Final Grade: A
My Bloody Valentine 2009
This one, starts off with a series of news stories and interview segments over an explosion at the Hannigan Mine, in Tunnel 5. Triggered by Tom Hanniger, son of the Mine, forgot to bleed the methane line. Burying six in the mines. One survived, Harry Warden, who killed the other five to preserve oxygen for himself, but falls into a coma. A year later, we see him dreaming of the accident, and he wakes up. Killing everyone in the hospital, on his way out. Returning to the mine, in full Miner Suit. Killing people having a party, except Sarah, Tom, Axel, and Irene. When they are attacked. Axel uses him assaulting Tom, to get the girls into the jeep and leaves him alone with Harry, who nearly kills him, till the Sheriff and his men shots Harry. Forcing Harry to retreat further into the mine, and it caves in behind him. We then jump forward ten years. Axel is not only a cop, but is married to Sarah and they have a son, and having an affair with one of the people she is working with. There is no Party. Just a town who is trying to move on, but the media continues to bring it up. Tom comes back to town, after his Dad’s death. To sell the mine. Ends up having to stay, due to a delay, and that is when the first kill happens, and it is Irene. Instead of people throwing a party. The Miner is going after people either associated with the miner, or those there the day he woke up and came back to the mine.
The story veers away from the original and for the most part. It did work in it’s advantage. Using the holiday to psychologically torment instead of fuel him on. They came out and told you during the movie that Harry was dead. They had hunted him down and killed him after the fact. Although, his grave was empty. Leaving a little bit of wonder if he had survived, but mostly, who was behind the Miner’s mask this time. It all worked so well.. until the reveal, but we will talk about that later on.
Now, if you disagree, I truly understand why. The 3D does hurt the kills, but I really did love the kills in this one. They all felt unique and brutal. From him sticking the little person to the ceiling and pulling the pickaxe out and body falling. Sheriff getting the pickaxe to the chin and having his jaw ripped out, and the shovel cutting through the woman’s mouth and head sliding off. I wish it wasn’t in 3D. It did hurt some, the eyeball one at the start, but they were fun.
There is a reason why there is only one Miner in the picture above, and that is because they did such a good job at bringing the miner back to life, in all of his intimidating glory. Only little differences, like a side piece on this one, and it still works just as effectively in this as it did in ’81, and I think that has a lot to do with it. We haven’t seen him in nearly 30 years, and it kept it special.
Casting wise, Jensen Ackles really shined. Fantastic job at bringing Tom to life. Feeling bad for the guy throughout. From the start where he is scared to return to the mine and you feel for him when he is left behind. Get behind Tom for most of the movie, we will talk about the end in a bit, and Jensen does great throughout. Kerr Smith and Jaime King both did well as Axel and Sarah, but the end hurt them way more.
Alright, negative, what in the world was that ending?! I get where they were going. Tom was so scared by what happened that he would mentally slip in between Tom and killer Harry, but everything that occurs because of this was just unsatisfying. Axel, after being the most unlikable character in this movie, that you want to see get him comeuppance, survives and Sarah comes across as dumb for staying by him, despite all the jealousy and cheating. Then there is Tom himself. You understand why he went crazy. Town hates him, because of his accident in the mine. The three leaves him behind to face Harry, and you feel bad for him throughout and get behind him. Just for him to the killer. This end was so bad and hurts the film so much, that there is only one way I can go with this contest. Final Grade: B
Winner: The Original
Had they done anything different with the ending. Had Harry been alive all this time, Sarah be sole survivor, or Tom kill them all and be the last one standing. This could have gone the other way, but as it is. The original takes it. Had some fun kills and fun watch all the way through. Do you agree? Disagree? Feel I am overlooking the twist? Let me know. Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed and as always..
Thank you for reading.