Monday, February 10, 2014

Once Upon a Time on a Sad Valentine

http://lifebetweenframes.blogspot.com/2014/02/once-upon-time-on-sad-valentine.html

The worlds of The Remake Comparison Project, Film Appreciation, and the Final Girl Film Club collide as Cody Hamman and Priscilla Tuboly discuss the My Bloody Valentines of 1981 and 2009.


MY BLOODY VALENTINE (1981)

When the time came to decide what movies to watch for the February edition of The Remake Comparison Project, the choice was obvious - it would have to be the My Bloody Valentines. This was a pair that I was excited to get to, because Priscilla and I are both major fans of the slasher subgenre. With the holiday of love approaching (and at the core of these movies), it's quite fitting that our Comparison Project for this month focuses on the sort of movie we both enjoy so much.

In the small Canadian town of Valentine Bluffs, Valentine's Day was a big deal for over a hundred years, the holiday traditionally celebrated with a dance party at the local Union Hall. Then something happened, and the dance was cancelled for a while... But now, with February 14th fast approaching, town residents are gearing up to bring the dance back and celebrate it like they did in the good old days.

It's been twenty years since the last Valentine's Dance in Valentine Bluffs, a fact which Chief of Police Jake Newby and Mayor Hanniger try to play down as much as possible. This is so no one thinks too much about the reason why the dances stopped in the first place, although the bartender at the local pub called The Cage, a harbinger of doom with the misnomer of a moniker Happy, will gladly recite the town's dark history for anyone willing to listen.

Mayor Hanniger also runs the business at the heart of Valentine Bluffs, Hanniger Mine, which employs many of the town's young men to work in its two thousand feet deep shaft. It was a tragic accident in the mine that eventually led to the cancellation of the dance.


On Valentine's Day 1960, there were still seven miners at work as the dance was beginning. Anxious to get to the party, the two supervisors left before the others were safely out of the shaft, before even checking the methane gas levels in the tunnels. After the supervisors were gone, a miner's lantern set off a huge explosion, causing the tunnel to collapse, trapping the five men underground. It took the rescue workers six weeks to reach the men, and by the time they did there was only one left alive. Happy was the one who found him - a man named Harry Warden, driven mad by his ordeal, forced to cannibalize the corpses of his co-workers to survive.

Harry Warden spent the next year in a mental hospital... but on Valentine's Day 1961, he returned to town, and while dressed in full mining gear got his revenge on the two supervisors who had abandoned him and his fellow miners the year before, murdering them with a pickaxe and then cutting out their hearts. The hearts were stuffed into heart-shaped candy boxes and left on the refreshment table at the dance, along with a warning to the town: never hold a Valentine's Day dance again or Harry Warden will return to continue killing people. Legend has it, the miner stalks the shadows of Valentine Bluffs every February 14th, bloodstained pickaxe in hand, waiting to be given reason to kill again...

And now that Harry's warning has finally been ignored and the dance is set to be held again, residents of Valentine Bluffs do indeed start getting murdered.


The first to die is a woman who accompanies a miner down into the shaft after hours on the night of Wednesday, February 11th. While she strips down, revealing that she also plays into the town's obsessions by sporting a heart tattoo on her chest, her male companion refuses to let her remove his gas mask. He slams his pickaxe into the wooden wall supports... and after a few moments of sensual carressing and groping, slams her backwards onto the pick, the edge of the tool tearing out of her chest and right through her tattoo.


As the murders continue, the Mayor and Chief of Police get delivered the gifts of hearts in heart-shaped candy boxes along with hand-written threats like "From the heart comes a warning filled with bloody good cheer, remember what happened as the 14th draws near" and "It happened once, it happened twice, cancel the dance or it'll happen thrice".

While the authority figures scramble to figure out who could be committing these murders, they prove to have more information about Harry Warden than Happy does, because they know that he's been locked up in the Eastfield mental hospital since 1961. Harry couldn't possibly be back in town, could he? Calling the hospital doesn't help much, for some reason they can't find Harry in their records.

In the midst of the murders and the investigation, the characters the film primarily focuses on are the fun-loving guys who work at the Hanniger Mine and their girlfriends.


At the center of the story is a love triangle between a miner named Axel Palmer, his girlfriend Sarah, and the owner/Mayor's son Jessie "T.J." Hanniger. Axel and T.J. have been friends for a long time and T.J. and Sarah used to date, but then one day T.J. left town, going out to the west coast to seek success in some other, unspecified field. He failed miserably and has had to come back to Valentine Bluffs and his job in the mine with his head down. During his time away, Sarah moved on to Axel. But now that he has returned, T.J. really wants Sarah back. Of course, that doesn't sit well with Axel, and Sarah seems very torn between the two.

Other characters make an impression along the way, like the mustachioed Hollis, who is dating Sarah's best friend Patty.


Hollis is so funny with his pornstache, and he's badass too, because when T.J. and Axel are fighting, all of the other guys are just standing there, letting those two do their thing, but Hollis breaks it up. And Patty seems to really love him. 

There's the group jokester Howard, who is one of the most over-the-top goofy bastard variations on this type of character ever to grace a slasher movie. He's pretty lame, but he gets some laughs. It doesn't help him with the ladies, though. Still other characters are just painted in broad strokes and are only there to contribute to the bodycount, like a couple who have a considerable height distance between them. When the girl is first introduced, they do this cutesy move where the guy appears to be picking his much shorter girlfriend up by the sides of her head in order to give her a kiss. So of course her death scene includes her being lifted up by the sides of her head.

The couples are cute, including Mabel and the Chief of Police.


Happy is weird, it kind of feels like he's worried about the younger people, trying to warn them, but at the same time, he has fun setting up a trap that would terrify them. 

That trap seems rather dangerous, too.

Eventually, the town dance is cancelled. But an official cancellation won't stop the miners from celebrating. They'll just get into the mine's break rooms after hours and have their own little Valentine's get-together there. As the killer tells a bewildered Chief Newby in a bloody note, "You didn't stop the party."

It seems like Patty changed her mind about the dress she had picked out, since they only had a party and not a dance, because the red one she wears is nice, but nothing like the one she described to Sarah earlier. "Cut down to here, slit up to there, I may not get out alive!"

The killer crashes the party and starts picking off the miners and their girlfriends one-by-one, building up to a climactic stalk and slash sequence set in the underground tunnels. The mystery of who could be behind it all intensifies when Newby receives word that the hospital couldn't find Harry Warden in their records because he died years ago...

And it makes me wonder. Was it the fact that there was going to be a Valentine's dance or just the fact that his girlfriend was into someone else that drove the killer over the edge? If things had been fine between them, would the dance still have been enough to set him off? Because it sounds like he was a regular, fun guy to be around before, so... maybe it was the relationship distress and not the dance at all.


Ask Quentin Tarantino what the best slasher movie ever is and apparently he'll tell you it's My Bloody Valentine '81. While my allegiance lies with the Friday the 13th series above all, I will agree with Tarantino that MBV was absolutely one of the best movies to come out of the '80s slasher boom.

I'm with Cody here, Friday the 13th series above all. But My Bloody Valentine is one of the best that came out around that time, no doubt about it. It has all of the elements you look for in a slasher, and everything in the right amount, too. It's one of my favorites.

It was, of course, the success of movies like Friday the 13th and Halloween that spurred producers André Link and John Dunning on to get into the slasher business, planting their flag in their own deadly holiday/notable date, but it doesn't come off as the cash-in that it was conceived to be, it's still a well-rounded film in its own right.

It really is. The directing, writing, and acting are all great. I love the pace, combined with its vibe and atmosphere. You can feel that the miners were very tight and looked out for one another. They really seem to care about each other and to share a strong bond, which I think makes total sense. That's how it should be when you work with people in such an environment... anything anyone does wrong could be the end. So, they have to truly know and trust each other. And it looks like they have a lot of fun doing it. Plus, their rec room is so cool, almost makes me wish I worked there! Well, not really... but still, it's great.

Even if you did want to work there, Hanniger was discriminatory, having a rule against girls being in the mine.

The characters are enjoyable to be around... well, Howard can be a bit much, but at least his heart is in the right place... and the T.J.-Sarah-Axel triangle provides a solid dramatic centerpiece for the film to revolve around.


The characters are pretty intense, especially the ones in the love triangle. That scenario would bother me in pretty much any other movie, but it seems to work here because it never gets to me at all. 

Sarah overdoes it quite a bit with the sudden "look at my hair!" head movements, and when it's not that, she's touching it. She's seriously into her hair. 

Speaking of the dramatic centerpiece, I love the scene when T.J. takes Sarah with him to the shore. The drama is heavy and well played, but apparently they had a fight right after the kiss that ends the scene, because Sarah walks home alone and T.J. arrives at the party pretty worked up. Sarah is way more into T.J., but she felt bad for Axel and that kept her from choosing T.J. over him. Axel obviously sees that and he doesn't handle it well...


And then you have the kills. Writers Stephen A. Miller and John Beaird, along with director George Mihalka, make sure the kills never get repetitious, making good use of the objects and tools that are found in and around the mine and other locations. The miner's signature weapon may be his pickaxe, but he also impales a person's head on a shower pipe, stuffs a kindly middle-aged woman into an industrial dryer, sticks a couple together Friday the 13th Part 2/Twitch of the Death Nerve-style with a large drill bit, gets ahold of a nail gun, even sticks a guy's face in a pot full of boiling water and hot dogs. The fact that characters unknowingly continue eating the hot dogs that have been cooked along with the guy's face (and his heart) adds to the gross-out.

Those hot dogs looked nasty from the beginning though... but that's just me.

The death scenes are really well made and believable. Turning Sylvia into a human fountain on the shower was probably my favorite. And the build up to it is so cool, with the killer terrorizing her by dropping the strung-up miners' uniforms on her. It's very unsettling.


Unfortunately, the MPAA came down hard on My Bloody Valentine and butchered the death scenes worse than the miner butchers his victims, cutting out much of the great special effects by Thomas R. Burman. MBV endured through the decades on the strength of its filmmaking, but horror fans always lamented the lost gore footage. Unlike other movies of the time, for example F13 Parts 2 and VII: The New Blood, the producers were able to hold on to good quality footage of the cut gore, and tried for years to get the distributor, Paramount, to put the movie out in its original uncut form. Paramount wasn't interested. It wasn't until Lionsgate got the rights to put out a new edition of the film (as well as remake it) that fans finally got to see the footage they had been clamoring for get cut back into the movie, twenty-eight years after its initial release.

Similar to Scott Spiegel's Intruder, My Bloody Valentine always worked without the uncut gore shots because it was such a good, entertaining movie anyway, but to have that gore back in adds to the fun of the movie so much, it's wonderful to have it in there. Their R-rated versions are fine, but their unrated cuts are definitely the way to go.

I do agree. Even though the unrated cuts are the way to go, you can still enjoy the R-rated version. That's the one I watched for this write-up and it's still great.

Mihalka did a great job directing overall, and the mine tunnels are a perfect, atmospheric setting for slashing. The story has fun toying with viewers, keeping them guessing as to who the killer could be and keeping them in suspense with moments like when Chief Newby gets as far as the gates of Hanniger Mine near the end, intending to check the place out while, unbeknownst to him, characters are partying and dying within, but then gets called back to the police station and turns around. 


The movie has a great tone; fun when the characters are having fun, dark and intense when they're being attacked, always intriguing and often unnerving. The disturbing aspect is increased by even simple things, like how excited Mayor Hanniger is to tear into the heart-shaped candy box he received - "If there's one thing I like better than Christmas candy, it's Valentine's candy!" - followed by the horror that washes over him when he sees that there's a bloody human heart in place of the chocolate he was expecting. Or how the dogs on set appear to have been insane, one nearly running right under Chief Newby's car and then another canine actor, part of a group of "wild dogs" Newby catches tearing into another boxed heart, seeming very eager to bite his human co-star. As Newby, actor Don Francks handles this very admirably.

It always makes me go "that was so close!" when that one dog almost bites Newby for real. That looks scary. 

I watched My Bloody Valentine for the first time a few years after it came out, so I was really young, and I kept watching it every now and then over the years. Funny thing is that it wasn't until like ten years ago that I knew for sure who the killer is when I was watching it. They play it so well, keeping you guessing, that it used to confuse me every time, and that definitely says something about how good this specific guessing game is. 

And it is true, even the small things and details are a great part of what makes this movie work so well. You take notice and it all fits in perfectly.

The movie's greatness is topped off by an end credits folk song, "The Ballad of Harry Warden", that was written by Paul Zaza, who also provided the film with its musical score.

I love that song. The score is really good as a whole, not too in your face, has just the right amount of suspense. I also like the country songs in the movie, they really get you in that whole "small community" vibe.


As time went on, George Mihalka and the producers planned out a sequel, The Return of the Miner, that would've been set and made some twenty years after the original. My Bloody Valentine 2 would feature surviving characters (Sarah would now be the Chief of Police in Valentine Bluffs) and focus on their children, who would be in their late teens/early twenties and up to the usual drinking and fornicating shenanigans. The opening of an amusement park on the site of the old Hanniger Mine, one which would cash in on the whole Harry Warden thing, selling miner costumes in the gift shop and featuring a Mine of Terror ride, would kick off the story... and a whole new set of murders...

If they did that, they'd have to use the same killer as before and not some new guy/copycat type of thing. That really wouldn't sit well with me.

This sequel was being planned before Lionsgate came onto the scene to put out an uncut version of the original film, so at the time the idea was to work the cut gore into the sequel by way of flashback sequences.

I guess this could've been done still. I know I would absolutely love to see a sequel to this movie. Especially if they had the original cast back - the surviving part of it, of course. It would be much different, obviously, since it was so long ago. But I'd embrace it just the same.

The sequel never got made, though. Instead, in 2009 MBV '81 was restored to its full glory and a remake hit theatre screens... in 3-D!



MY BLOODY VALENTINE (2009)

Directed by Patrick Lussier, who got his start as an editor and was Wes Craven's go-to guy from 1994's New Nightmare through 2005's Red Eye, with a screenplay by Todd Farmer and Zane Smith, the My Bloody Valentine remake shares a similar backstory with the original film, a backstory that is told over the course of a stylized opening sequence.

Through a mixture of newspaper headlines and audio clips, we learn of a tragedy that struck the small town of Harmony, Pennsylvania one Valentine's Day. When Tom Hanniger, a new hire at Hanninger Mines and the son of the owner, forgot to bleed the lines of the methane gas built up in them before he left work, an explosion was ignited within tunnel number five, trapping six miners in a cave-in. By the time rescue workers finally reached the miners, only one remained alive - a man named Harry Warden. The delusional Harry was taken to the local hospital, where he soon lapsed into a coma. Upon examining the bodies, authorities discovered that the five men Harry was trapped with had all been murdered with a pickaxe. The conclusion they came to: Harry killed the others just to conserve air.

Telling the story through newspapers and audio clips at the beginning didn't have the same effectiveness as actually showing the events happening like they did with the flashbacks in the original. Also the opening scene with the killer and his tattooed lover-for-the-night was way more exciting and brought with it more anticipation for what's to come than the opening in the remake.


The film proper begins one year after the accident, on Valentine's Day at Harmony Memorial Hospital, where a dream of the explosion causes the comatose Harry Warden to suddenly snap awake. Rising from the bed he has occupied for the last year, he immediately sets out on a massacre, killing everyone that crosses his path in the hospital, leaving a heart in a heart-shaped candy box and drawing hearts in blood all over the walls before making his way out to Hanniger Mines.

I really like that part in the hospital. Though if you really think about it, it'd probably be a little hard for Harry to walk and move around so fast after being in a coma for a year. But the way he leaves the bodies destroyed, lying around is very potent. And he's definitely sending out his message, loud and clear.


Like their Valentine Bluffs counterparts in the latter part of the original film, the young people of Harmony are using Hanniger Mines to host their own Valentine's Day party, hanging out in tunnel five and knocking back beers.

I've always found this weird. I understand how they had the party at the rec room in the original, with only a few of them actually going down in the mines. But here, tunnel five is wide open for everyone to get inside and roam around as they please, partying hard all over the place. I've never been anywhere near mines, but I'd think that it's not only illegal, but probably impossible for a place like that to be open, with no supervision, and for kids to run around it drinking and smoking. It sounds too out there for me.

Among the partiers are a young man named Axel Palmer, his girlfriend Irene, Sarah, who's the girl Axel is really interested in, and the love of her life, Tom Hanniger. Things are a bit shaky among this group; Tom doesn't seem thrilled to be back at the mine where his carelessness caused the deaths of a bunch of people, and Axel has issues with Tom both because of that incident and the fact that he has Sarah.

Before Tom shows up, Axel says he'll kick his ass if he dares show his face at the mine, but when Tom actually does arrive, Axel just gets awkward and says "Hey" to him, which is a nice touch.

I love seeing Jensen Ackles (Tom) and Kerr Smith (Axel) in the same movie, because I've liked both of them since their Dawson's Creek days, so it's always cool seeing them together.


The party is just getting started when Harry Warden shows up and, in full mining gear and with pickaxe in hand, starts laying waste to the young people wandering around in the tunnel. Couples are hacked to death, there's "a pickaxe through a head" where the pick exits through the victim's eye socket with his eyeball stuck on the end of it, a shovel separates a girl's head from her body at the mouth...

I still wish I had been able to see the remake in 3-D. I bet it made the kills look even better.

Lussier and Farmer both had history with some of the biggest names in slasherdom - Lussier edited Halloween H20, Farmer wrote Jason X - so in reference they named the first two onscreen victims in the mine Jason and Michael. When he sees Harry Warden standing in the tunnel, the Michael character even calls out to him, "Jason? Jason, is that you?" As a Friday the 13th fan, it makes me smile to see someone asking if a hulking, weapon-wielding, masked slasher is Jason.

Funny thing was... I saw it when it opened in theatres here, and I wasn't the only one to notice the Jason connection, and that made my day. Well, it made my night. It was awesome when some people in the crowd reacted to that.

Axel, Sarah, and Irene manage to escape from the mine, but Harry corners Tom and nearly kills him. Tom is saved only by the fact that the town sheriff and a fellow officer arrive just in time, shooting Harry and then pursuing the wounded killer deeper into the tunnel.

When it's all over, Harry has racked up a bodycount of twenty-two victims and ends up, once again, buried alive in the mine. His body is never recovered.

Following this fifteen minute prologue, the film jumps ahead ten years. Tom left Harmony after the massacre, but now that his father has passed away, he returns to town to sell off the mine, his return just happening to coincide with the Valentine's holiday.


Lussier and Farmer have gone in to pitch on several remakes, and although this is the only one they got hired to do that made it all the way through production, I do find that they have an admirable approach to this sort of thing. They never have a desire to just simply do exactly what the original film did. They were briefly attached to remake Hellraiser, but they weren't going to do the same story at all, they had their own original story that was set in the same world. Basically, it was another sequel. Their idea for a Fright Night remake was not to include the Peter Vincent character, but to have their lead seek out the help of actors who had starred in remakes of Peter Vincent's movies, Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter regular Tom Atkins, who is in their My Bloody Valentine as Sheriff Burke.

I think their Fright Night remake idea could've been great. I'd have wanted to check it out as soon as it came out for sure.

With MBV, they get the remake sequences out of the way right up front - the Harry Warden story, partiers attacked at the mine - and then from the fifteen minute point on, they're working with completely new scenarios.

Tom finds that things have changed since he left town. He doesn't get a warm welcome. People who work at the mine are upset that he's selling it off, others are just upset to see him because of his connection to the past murders. Sheriff Burke has retired, making way for Axel to become the new sheriff. Axel and Sarah are married and have a young son, but even though Axel finally got the girl he wanted, he's also having an affair on the side, having regular trysts with a young girl named Megan, who works with his wife at Sarah's parents' grocery store. To keep the affair secret, Axel takes Megan out to an old rundown house in the woods that used to belong to his father.

The relationship drama is more focused on Axel this time around. How he never felt truly loved by Sarah, how he knew or thought that Tom was the love of her life, and how those things probably contributed to his affair with Megan. The love triangle in the original is much more dramatic, and in the remake you never really get the impression that Sarah still loves Tom. She gets a little flustered when he goes to the grocery store to talk to her, but that's pretty much it. It looks like she resented him too much for leaving. Also, the fact that she's married and has a kid probably forced reason to speak louder than anything else.


The same day Tom gets back into town, people start getting murdered by a gas mask-wearing, pickaxe-carrying miner. The killer targets the survivors of the massacre in tunnel five, going after Sarah, Axel, Irene, Sheriff Burke, as well as others connected to the mining operation, also taking out people who are unlucky enough to be involved with them and/or are in at the wrong place at the wrong time.

MBV '81's killer used various weapons, but kills not committed with the pickaxe are rare in MBV '09. Original producer John Dunning (who gets an executive producer credit on the remake) was not happy with the lack of variety, but it's really the different damage the pickaxe causes to different victims that keeps the kills interesting in this one. Whether it's someone's eyeball getting stuck on the pick, a man's lower jaw being ripped off, or a person being lifted up on the pick and slammed into a ceiling light, Lussier and Farmer found ways for their victims to meet unique demises while usually using the same weapon.

I think the kills work fine. Like I said, I'm sure they're much better in 3-D, but the fact that the pickaxe is used in pretty much all of them doesn't make them less interesting.


Axel investigates the homicides as the population of Harmoney is gradually whittled down, and Tom and Sarah do some reconnecting, bringing the love triangle bit back from the first movie... More like a love square this time around, with Megan involved.

Tom also does some looking around of his own, and it's clear that he is still deeply affected by the events of ten and eleven years ago. Like Tommy Jarvis in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning, Tom has been left mentally scarred from his slasher run-in and has moments of freak-outs that he has to shakily take a pill to get through.

When Sarah talks to Tom mentioning that not even his father knew where he was all those years, it makes me wonder... did he really not know that his son had been committed to a mental institution, or did he just keep it a secret?

As a person who has suffered with depression, I'm familiar with antidepressants that you have to take at a certain time daily and let build up in your system for them to have any effect. These pills that are featured in movies like F13: ANB and MBV '09 have always fascinated me - the characters are feeling a little off, so they pop a pill that apparently works within seconds to get rid of their uneasy feelings and hallucinations. Such things don't exist, do they? Where's the pill that will make you feel happy within seconds as soon as you start feeling depressed?

There are several different types of depression. Clinical depression is different than psychotic depression... the latter can be more commonly associated with severe traumas that the person experienced. In those cases, it's not as much a clinical disease and purely chemical imbalance as it's more "all in his head". So, sometimes just the act of taking something for it itself can be enough to make the thoughts and hallucinations go away momentarily.


Like in the '81 movie, a twist comes in the investigation with the revelation that Harry Warden is dead. Burke and his cohorts killed him on the night of the hospital and mine massacres and buried him out in the woods. Although Harry's body can't be found, it's highly unlikely that the movie would go in a supernatural direction, so viewers' suspicions lie on the same pair as they did in the first film.

Now, I do love Tom Atkins (who doesn't?) but when he says "Harry Warden is dead!", it always makes me think of the mayor in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning saying "Jason Voorhees is dead!", and the mayor wins it every time... Sorry, Atkins!

The aspect of Harry's death being covered up has never made any sense to me at all. He's said to have been shot to death, and the people of Harmony would have no problem with the fact that the man who just murdered twenty-two people in their town was killed while trying to escape from a mine he left littered with the corpses of people in their late teens. There would be nothing suspicious about this. It was easier to fake a second cave-in than it was to say the cops shot a mass murderer? Okay...

I agree. You'd think that would be something they could proudly reveal to the whole town, but no.


There are moments of callbacks in the stalk and slash sequences, like the corpse of a victim being stuffed into and cooked in a dryer...

A home dryer this time, which is much less likely to handle a body banging around in it than the industrial dryer poor Mabel was stuck inside.

...and the ending taking place at Hanninger Mines, where Sarah is frightened by mining uniforms being dropped around her like Sylvia was in MBV '81. But for the most part, these sequences are entirely new, with setpieces including a chase through Sarah's grocery store, and another set in and around the motel Tom is staying at.

The scene with the miners' gear being dropped around is really good in the remake as well. But the one in the original is better. Also the parts with the killer slashing the lights in the mine work well in both movies. I find them creepy. The chase through the grocery store always makes me think of Intruder, and that's the second time that great slasher has been mentioned in this article.


For me, the sequence set during the night at Thunderbird Motel is the standout of the movie. A few doors down from Tom in this neon-lit motel with heart-shaped bathtubs, Irene is hooking up with a douchebag trucker named Frank, who's played by writer Todd Farmer. When he treats her like a prostitute and reveals that he's been filming their bone jumping session, Irene follows Frank out to his truck wearing nothing but her high-heeled shoes and an unloaded gun in her hand. Actress Betsy Rue was clearly comfortable doing nudity. But once they reach the porn-making trucker's semi, the miner attacks, chasing Irene into the motel's office, where the little person manager gets involved in the mayhem and there's a nice moment where Irene uses a bed frame to protect herself. These eight minutes are where the movie really shines, by entering a bizarre world all its own. 

Even though I like some aspects of this specific sequence, I have to disagree with Cody because it's one of my less favorites. The heart-shaped bathtubs and the little person manager are really cool, and I love Todd Farmer, but I really didn't need to see so much of him for so long, and the same goes for Betsy Rue. I think it was too much and changed the tone of the movie too drastically and for the worst. Plus, she was so far away from Frank when she threw the gun at him... there's no way she had such perfect aim to hit him in the face. Not to mention that it's weird for Tom to be in a motel at all, because I'm sure his father's house was still around.


The "whodunit?" mystery keeps viewers guessing until a final confrontation between Sarah, Axel, and Tom in a mine tunnel, where Sarah has to figure out which one of her loves is the killer while pointing a gun at both of them. There has been evidence to show one of these suspects couldn't possibly be the killer, but as it turns out, this movie doesn't play fair with its mystery. There's more going on than what we see.

The guessing game between the two of them never worked here because of a few things we think we come to know during the movie. But there is a big M. Night Shyamalan twist, and I have to say... the twist is my biggest problem with the movie. I deeply dislike it and wish they'd have gone a different way.

One of my favorite moments in the movie is when Axel, tired of trying to convince Sarah of his innocence and Tom's guilt, gives up and tells her that the only way out of this situation is to "Shoot us both."

I really don't like the twist, but the part Cody mentioned, along with the scenes that follow, showing us viewers what happened in "reality", are my favorites. It's filled with suspense and atmosphere, and the score by Michael Wandmacher is at its best here.


The reveal of the killer is iffy, but overall I find that My Bloody Valentine '09 is a great remake. It does its own thing while still honoring the original and keeping true to the story. Farmer and Smith's script provides the basis for a good slasher that Lussier knocks out of the park with his direction, making sure to give the miner a whole lot of awesome "hero shots" throughout. His identity may be a secret, but that gas mask ensures that he doesn't have to be kept offscreen.

I think they showed the killer in his uniform way too often, but other than that I agree that the remake is a pretty good one, with great writing and directing. The acting is very solid. I already mentioned Ackles and Smith, but as a huge Supernatural fan, I feel like Tom Hanniger looks too much like Dean Winchester. I understand that when it comes to clothes, there aren't as many options for men as there are for women, but still... a different hair cut or even some facial hair would've helped. Now, it makes me wonder, did Jaime King gain weight for the part or was it just a lot of padding in certain areas of her body? Because I've seen her in a lot of things, and she always looks extremely skinny. And in this, she has big boobs and a butt, her whole body and face just look fuller and so much better. The long darker hair suits her, too. She should always go for this look.


MBV '09 came out early on in the 3-D resurgence and, as longtime fan of Friday the 13th Part III who had just recently (in the summer of 2008) finally been able to see that movie and greatly enjoy it in 3-D on the big screen, I was hyped to be getting a new era of 3-D horror. Since I wear glasses, I even went so far as to go to an eye doctor to get contacts at the beginning of 2009 in preparation for the 3-D releases of My Bloody Valentine in mid-January and The Final Destination in August, to avoid the awkwardness of wearing the 3-D glasses over my regular glasses. Contacts in, I saw My Bloody Valentine on opening day and had a lot of fun. The CGI-enhanced effects of things being tossed into the screen aren't so impressive in 2-D at home, but in the cinema I loved having pickaxes, eyeballs, and jaws flying out of the screen at me.

Like I mentioned before... I did watch this on the big screen, but back then there were no 3-D theaters in my city, and that made me so sad. I still wonder how much better the whole movie is in 3-D, since it's already so good in 2-D.

The door was left open for a sequel, which Lussier and Farmer were all set to move forward on once MBV '09 hit big at the box office. At the last minute, Lionsgate pulled the plug on it for unclear reasons, leaving fans with two versions of My Bloody Valentine that had planned sequels that never came to fruition.

Two great movies that could have great sequels that never happened. It's almost like a curse of its own.

If I had to choose between the two movies, of course I'd go with the '80s classic, but together they stand as a pair of awesome slashers. Why just watch one when you can have fun watching both?

I'll always pick the original if I have to choose between them. But if I can watch both, it's even better. Definitely a very good remake of an awesome '80s classic.





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