Thursday, February 14, 2008

Be Mine

Most shot-in-Canada pictures do everything they can to fool you into thinking that they were filmed in the states, but My Bloody Valentine is a proud maple leaf production through and through. Every facet of production, from cast to costume screams CANADA with a zeal that only true patriots could muster. Unfortunately, the film’s reputation is built on what was removed rather than what’s actually there. The MPAA was dealing with a big media backlash against ‘slasher’ horror in 1981; led, not just by misinformed feminist groups, whose notion of the Pavlovian response of horror fans to violence was none too complimentary, but by mega-influential critics Siskel & Ebert, who devoted an entire program to their derision. My Bloody Valentine was famously cut by 9 minutes in order to secure an ‘R’ rating, and the restoration of the missing gore has since become a cause celeb among fans. Laudatory web notices can be found here and here, and they are far from alone in their praise for the film.

It would be a fun bandwagon to jump on, but the picture just isn’t that good. The cast consists entirely of that early 80s variant of the hot comb and down coat crowd – as if culled by random lot from the cheap seats at the Toronto curling finals. Some of the murder set-pieces are well done, and you can lament their edits to your heart's content, but gore alone does not a horror classic make.

But, to celebrate the holiday in style, our choices are limited. It’s either this, or the appallingly incompetent Valentine. Can’t blame Canada for everything.