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My Bloody Valentine (Special Edition)

Review by: 
Head Cheeze
Release Date: 
1981
Studio: 
Lionsgate
Genre: 
Slasher
Format: 
DVD
Region: 
1 NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 
1.78:1
Directed by: 
George Mihalka
Cast: 
Paul Kelman
Lori Halier
Neil Affleck
Keith Knight
Movie: 
4
Extras: 
4
Bottom Line: 
4

 As part of the build up to the release of the all new (as of this writing) "My Bloody Valentine 3-D",  the original film - the seminal 1981 slasher fave, "My Bloody Valentine" - has gotten a gussied up new DVD treatment courtesy of Lionsgate that offers up not one, but two versions of the film; the theatrical version, and an extended "unrated" cut that reintegrates a healthy amount of gruesome footage the director was forced to cut out before the film's original release.
 
Twenty years ago, the town of Valentine's Bluff suffered a tragedy when a group of miners were caught in a cave-in brought on by the negligence of a pair of supervisors who left their posts to attend the town's annual Valentine's dance. The sole survivor, Harry Warden, would return to the town a year later and slaughter the two supervisors, removing their hearts in the process. While he was subsequently locked up in an asylum, Harry promised that, were the town to celebrate Valentine's Day ever again, they could rest assured that he would be back to punish them.
 
Nineteen years later, Valentine's Bluff is throwing its first dance since the murders, and the locals are thrilled. However, when the town's mayor receives a grisly warning - a bloody heart in a candy box - it's clear that not everyone is happy about the return of Valentine's to the Bluff! The sheriff and the mayor try to keep things quiet while they get to the bottom of things, but, as the body count rises, it becomes apparent that their greatest fears have been realized! Harry Warden has come back to Valentine's Bluff!
 
While the producers of My Bloody Valentine never intended the film to be much more than a quickie cash-in on the holiday slasher craze started by "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th", it became much more, thanks, in part, to its then-cutting edge effects work, as well as the highly stylized cinematography of Rodney Gibbons. This was truly one of the best-looking slasher films of its time, as well as the most violent. More than nine minutes of the film  was cut out to please the censors,  but, now, much of that "lost" footage has been reinserted, giving us, perhaps, the most complete version of George Mihalka's film we'll ever see.
 
While the inserts are a bit rough looking, it's amazing to see some of these kill sequences as the director envisioned them. We see pick-axes piercing skulls, a steaming cadaver being brutally tossed around in a clothes dryer,  skin melting off of faces, and much more. What's also quite surprising is how well these effects have held up. Seeing this footage put back into the film paints My Bloody Valentine in an entirely new light, for me, as I can now truly appreciate just how ambitious this film was for its time.
 
The DVD also features a beefy look at the history of the slasher film, hosted by "Going to Pieces" scribe, Adam Rockoff. Featuring interviews with a few cast members, as well as the film's producers and director, Mihalka, this mini-documentary offers up a wealth of information about the film's production, as well as a welcome look back at the period in which it was made. The feature segues into an brief look at My Bloody Valentine 3-D, offering a bunch of footage from that film, as well as some intriguing information about the 3-D process used this update of the classic.
 
My Bloody Valentine has always been a guilty pleasure of mine, and, while it's certainly not the smartest, scariest, or best-acted slasher film, it's just a blast to watch, and seeing this new cut made it all the more fun. Even if you already own the movie on DVD, this extended version is an essential addition to any slasher fan's library.

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