Monday, November 3, 2008

My Bloody Valentine (1981)

...aka: Secret, The

Directed by:
George Mihalka

Slasher movie fans tend to hate me and hate my reviews of their favorite nutso-starts-hacking-up-teens-while-wearing-a-mask type flicks, but in many cases, if you've seen one, you've seen 'em all, and I usually can't bring myself to rate any of these any higher than a 4 or 5. Same plot, same lapses in logic and basic common sense, same brainless young characters doing the same brainless things over and over again to ensure they get the hacking and slashing they deserve... The only way to really judge these flicks is to measure the quantity and quality of the gore fx, the exploitation elements, the pacing, the humor and, when applicable, any traces of ingenuity or suspense amidst the extreme familiarity. Some contain nothing of interest whatsoever, and while some may be derivative to the max, they do have a few redeeming qualities. And that brings us to this little Canadian effort, which is one of the most popular in its category. Despite my overall lack of enthusiasm for this subgenre, if you're looking for a standard FRIDAY THE 13TH/ HALLOWEEN-style holiday terror flick, then you could probably do much worse than this one. Though nothing special whatsoever, it's still fairly well-made for what it is and I can recognize it as such.

The small, northern town of Valentine Bluffs is preparing for their annual Valentine's Day celebration when a mad killer dressed as a coal miner shows up to spoil everyone's fun. Of course this guy has a history, and a pick-axe to, uh, pick, with the local townspeople for some reason or another. He taunts the local cops by sending them bloody human hearts stuffed in candy boxes. Everyone in the town seems to be on red alert except a typical group of young miners and their girlfriends, who eventually become the main victims. Their party takes place in and around an abandoned coal mine, so this movie really benefits some from location work. Toward the end, there's even a fun coal cart chase scene. Acting and writing are just so-so, but the gore FX are decent enough. Director Mihalka went on to make the interesting astral projection flick ETERNAL EVIL (1985).


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