“Dissemble no more! I admit the deed! Tear up the planks! Here, here! It is the beating of his hideous heart!”
― Edgar Allan Poe
Hello again dear readers. I have just dropped by to give you a quick word on the perils of Valentines day, for it seems that obsession can lead to darker desires, and eventually horror. After all the 14th of February was the day St Valentine was put to death by the Roman Emperor Claudius for continuing to marry lovers against his decree. Rubbish Valentines day is mealy an innocent celebration of good old fashioned schmaltz and sentimentality I hear you say. But let someone into your heart and eventually you may find yourself alone on a stage drenched in pigs blood, or with a knife in your hand ripping open a shower curtain. Which is why I dropped into work earlier today to put my severed finger on the pulse of all those bleeding hearts. Unsurprisingly most of the couples will be spending the day together watching ‘romantic’ movies or going out/staying in for dinner. Whereas most of the singular individuals will be going to the pub to drown their sorrows, console each other, or attempt to pull other depressed and disgruntled lonely hearts. A few people will be closing their eyes and telling themselves to “remember what Mr. Hallorann said: It’s just like pictures in a book, it isn’t real.” (Stephen King, The Shining) And an even smaller contingent of brave individuals profess that they simply don’t care what day it is.
Personally single or otherwise I prefer to spend Valentines day watching appropriately themed horror movies. So as a Valentines day treat just for you here are my picks of which films to watch this evening. And they are guaranteed to make you feel a whole lot better.
Valentine – 2001 – Jamie Blanks
This one is usually a favourite of mine, as the tell tale clue to the identity of the killer is that he cries blood. Valentine includes some unfortunate acting performances and the occasional helping of Stilton but on the up side you do get to see Katherine Heigl in a body bag for a before she was famous performance. The basic premise is that a group of young girl friends all reject poor old school nerd Jeremy Melton except for Dorothy who makes out with him under the bleachers. When the pair are discovered together she, presumably to save embarrassment, tells everyone he assaulted her and Jeremy is beaten up. The friends grow up and grow apart until they are reunited by the murder of the aforementioned Heigl. They must work out who Jeremy Melton is before he takes his revenge on them one by one. Most of the film centres on whether the killer is main girl Kate’s on off alcoholic boyfriend who she seems to know little about, played by late 90’s man of the moment David Boreanaz. If you’d like to watch a bunch of blonde idiots killed off in relatively inventive ways than Valentine has thrills and kills a plenty waiting for you.
My Bloody Valentine 3D – 2009 – Patrick Lussier
Brought to you by the director of such popcorn movie fare as Drive Angry (2011) and Dracula 2001 (2000). My Bloody Valentine may not be at risk of being named a classic any time soon but does happen to be an amusing tongue in cheek way of spending 97 minutes. I particularly enjoy watching it with the red and green 3D glasses provided in the DVD case. The plot sounds a bit convoluted but bare with me.
Five miners die in a tunnel collapse, but one man, Harry Warden survives in a state of coma. It is initially though that Tom, played by Supernatural’s Jensen Ackles, caused the accident though missed safety procedures however after further investigation the authorities discover that all the dead men were bludgeoned to death with a pick axe rather than killed by the collapse. It is hoped that Harry Warden, now presumed a mass murderer, will never awake but unfortunately he wakes one year later on Valentines day. The teens of the town are celebrating Valentines day at the mine which is no longer in operation. Tom is convinced to go to the party by girlfriend Sarah, their friends Axel and Irene also go along. Unfortunately Harry Warden has returned to the mine to enjoy another killing spree, he kills several randoms before chasing the group of friends. Axel, Irene and Sarah manage to escape but Tom is trapped. The others drive off without him. Tom manages to survive by causing another collapse that this time apparently kills Harry. Traumatised by his ordeal Tom leaves the town for many years, only to return upon the death of his father. He finds that many things have changed, mainly that his ex-girlfriend is now married to Axel. As soon as Tom arrives back in town people begin mysteriously dying. Is it Harry Warden (they never found the body) or is it someone with a grudge against Tom for the closure of the mine.
The reviews of this film at the time were less then favourable, but I find it highly entertaining. One of the first in the ‘new wave’ of 3D movies, Bloody Valentine is a rarity in that the visuals in it are actually geared up for a 3D viewing. If you like people pointing long pointy objects at you out of the screen, as I do (no pun intended) than this is a film you have to see. It is of course based on the 1981 George Mihalka film of the same name, and shares a number of similarities. If you plan on watching the original to compare the two you will find that it contains a few notable points of difference that are very pleasing. A lot more of the 1981 film takes place in the mine, which is a genuinely creepy location. The towns people in the original ban the celebration of Valentines day after the initial tragedy and it is the Valentines day party itself that causes the killer to go on a spree. The ending is also, lets just say the opposite of the 2009 ending.
The Loved Ones – 2009 – Sean Byrne
What if you can’t get what you want but you take it anyway? Not set on Valentines day, but a great tale about obsession and romantic expectations Australian horror The Loved Ones starts out like a Gus Van Sant movie, with melancholic teen Brent moping about on the edge of a cliff listening to music on his headphones. The film soon takes a turn as he is kidnapped by Lola, the girl who’s invite to the school prom he turned down, and her incredibly protective farther. Brent is then forced to enjoy a private family prom with some added torture. The Loved Ones is a skilfully crafted and beautifully twisted slow burner, an exceptional film that will no doubt be a cult horror classic for many decades to come and this is my official number one pick for Valentines day.
Happy romantic viewing…