It’s not hard to find holiday-themed horror movies of one’s choice; Halloween, Christmas, and even New Year’s Eve have a number of options to choose from. But when it comes to Valentine’s Day, My Bloody Valentine has been the no go-to for more than four decades now.
Released by Paramount Pictures at the early stages of the ’80s slasher craze on February 11, 1981, the film takes place in the small fictional mining town called Valentine Bluffs (the film was actually shot in Canada), and centers around the return of the town Valentine’s Day Dance after a twenty-year absent. But former deranged resident and miner Harry Warden vowed revenge if the dance ever took place again, and wields it in grisly fashion with his pickaxe.
Written by John Beaird (with a story originally by Stephen Miller) and directed by George Mihalka, the film may not have featured the most original of concepts (one can even draw several comparisons between Valentine and Friday the 13th, released just one year prior). The film also received trouble from the MPAA, something Director Mihalka attributes to the death of John Lennon shortly before its release. In a 2020 interview with cheatsheet.com, he said; “I could understand the collective cultural despair at the time. Unfortunately, as is always the case, there was backlash, and this time it was against senseless violence.” But the film was still a modest success, grossing over $5 million dollars at the box office on a $2 million budget.
The legacy of My Bloody Valentine lives on to this day. Just two years after the film, a shoegaze band with the same name as the film popped up in Dublin, Ireland. And a remake, My Bloody Valentine 3D, appeared in 2009. There’s even countless screenings of the film worldwide every year. So whether you’re watching with your favorite guy or girl, or solo, grab a heart-shaped box of chocolates (and maybe a glass of wine), and settle in with one of the most essential Valentine’s Day films ever, My Bloody Valentine.
One thought on “Retrospective: ‘My Bloody Valentine’ at 40 By Jesse Striewski”
Great retrospective. I always enjoyed the mine shaft locale. Yet another 80s slasher that faced heavy cuts from the censors, with deleted footage we’ll probably never see. A shame!