With “the season” officially over for 2020, the stores seem to have given Thanksgiving a miss and moved directly to reminding us it’s time to make this the most expensive Christmas ever. I therefore determined it was a fair cop to give the whole thing a pass and move directly on to Valentine’s Day. And it seemed only right to invite Goth Chick News guest writer Scott E to comment on his favorite film, while I slacked off in a carb-coma.
Take it away Scott.
The 2009 Lionsgate sequel to the 1981 classic horror film, My Bloody Valentine, was cleverly written by Todd Farmer and Zane Smith, and directed by Patrick Lussier. Jensen Ackles, Tom Adkins, Kerr Smith, Betsy Rue, Jamie King, Megan Boone and Kevin Tighe round out the talented cast. This film is one of my favorites because the flow of the scenes pulled me in from the get go, and the special effects were creative and gorier than expected. Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) plays the son of original slasher Richard John Walters (24) who returns to his hometown on the tenth anniversary of the Valentine’s night massacre that claimed the lives of 22 people.
If you’re unfamiliar with the original 1981 storyline it, like the 2009 version, takes place in a mining town, enabling several of the most terrifying scenes to be darkly claustrophobic. Apparently Lionsgate wasn’t all that keen on a sequel , but Lussier convinced the executives the 3D effects would pay off at the box office. Studio legend has it that Lionsgate brass viewed a rough cut of the 3D version and screamed like little girls, ensuring the studio’s full backing.
Lussier admits that when he was kid, the original 1981 movie left him so terrified that he never wanted to see it again, which was part of his inspiration. He also credits his past experience working with Wes Craven for the overall tone of Valentine. For example, Lussier states, “If it’s scary, make it darker and never sacrifice character for style, it’s about connecting to your audience.”
This take-no-prisoners approach to filming is what gives Valentine some of its most memorable moments. In a 2012 interview Betsy Rue, who plays Irene, was asked if she regretted filming an extended scene where she’s running around the motel parking lot totally naked. Rue stated:
No regrets. It was amazing, and I think that I would’ve had some regrets, but the reviews were so fun from it. The Hollywood Reporter and Variety wrote up some amazing reviews, and that made me feel really good. That was the whole point of what I wanted to do, like, ‘OK, I’m going to be naked, so I better be good instead of just being naked.’ I wanted the audience to forget about the fact that I was naked running around the parking lot getting killed and actually have them be scared for me, and from the reviews and the feedback that I got I think I got there. That was my main concern. I don’t want to be this naked chick running around just for the sake of running around naked, because we all know that’s what happens in horror movies. Yeah, I was the naked girl, but for my sake I hope that I brought a little more to it than just being a screaming naked girl.
You said it Betsy.
I really enjoyed all the kill scenes in this movie because they put the director’s vivid imagination on full display. The unique and disturbing images pushed the gore to the extreme without devolving to Saw-like violence. In some scenes, the actors delivered their lines so powerfully that it literally gave me goose bumps, so a double-thumbs up for the casting. The flow of this film always keeps you on the edge of your seat without a stale bit of dialogue or a boring scene in sight. As you can tell, I highly recommend Valentine to all fans of old-school horror.
Back in the spring of 2009, I met the original 1981 actor, who portrayed Harry Warden, actor and stuntman Peter Cowper, which was one of those memorable experiences that I will never forget. It was at a horror convention called Monsters Among Us and I was wearing a black softball t-shirt, with the name KILLING STREAK across the front and the name H. Warden on the back. Peter had a booth setup for his merchandise and I noticed one of his black and white photos was from Valentine. I pointed out that the shirt I was wearing was from a softball team that I played on and managed. I showed him the name on the back of my shirt, which he loved, and he gifted me his photo from Valentine which he autographed. This surprise encounter with the lead actor from one of my favorite films gave My Bloody Valentine a permanently nostalgic place in my heart. Hopefully in the future I will get a chance to meet the 2009 Harry Warden, Richard John Walters.
My Bloody Valentine was released in both standard and 3D, with the 3D version still available for purchase on Amazon, complete with four pairs of 3D glasses. Putting on those green and red glasses in your living room is part of what makes watching Valentine 3D on DVD so much fun. These are not the new-wave 3D glasses you got when you saw Monsters vs. Aliens; these are the OG paper ones that, if bent the wrong way are rendered useless. They are, however, a throwback piece of flair that fits right in with the old-school feel of the film. And just in case you think Valentine is permanently in the past, here comes Shout Factory with a Steel Book limited edition 2-disc Blu-ray complete with an 8” tall action figure by NECA of The Miner and 28.5” x 16.5” rolled lithograph made just for this promotion. The set is available to preorder at Shout Factory’s website for $68.97 and will be release on… wait for it…