A review coming up just as soon as I send a heart shaped box…
During the 60’s there was a methane explosion down in a mineshaft, the foreman left early to go to the annual Valentine’s day dance. The only survivor was Harry Warden who lived by feasting on the bodies of his co-workers, driving him mad. He’s locked in a mental institution for a year before breaking out on (Of course) Valentine’s Day and killing the foreman, cutting out his heart and making a promise that if anyone starts up the Valentine’s Day dance again; he’ll return.
So twenty years later stupid teens do what stupid teens do, they decide to stage the dance again. Actually to be fair to the teens, it’s enough of a preposterious warning that it’s surprising it’s been adhered to for so long. Harry Warden is on to them though, and sends a timely warning (A heart in a heart shaped box) and handily dispatches of a few locals along the way.
Friday the 13th had come out the year before and was a massive success. It was only a matter of time before other films decided to cash in, like the glut of Die Hard copies that came out in the wake of that film (The worst is the career highlight of Anna Nicole-Smith, a little movie called Skyscraper. Never watch it, no really NEVER watch it). To be fair to MBV as it will handily now been known, there’s little of the “Friday…” DNA in it. It’s perfectly acceptable to think that MBV would’ve existed without Friday the 13th.
Among horror circles, MBV was one of those films known for being unfairly cut up by the studio prior to release. No one seems to know for sure why it was done, theories range from Paramount Studios being worried after the backlash from Friday the 13th to the murder of John Lennon. It was stated some 9 minutes of violence were cut from the film, and the recent uncut DVD restores 3-4 minutes. In reality it’s likely the time has been mixed up, and according to the extra features on the DVD the current release is now the film as it was intended to be seen.
The film works remarkably well. Largely thanks to the unique setting. Mines are scary places, they’re dark and they’re dank and shockingly underlit. Health and safety reasons aside, you don’t want to play around in them. In criticism of the film, the decision to party down in the mine makes little to no sense at all. But the women in the film seemed to be impressed by it. If I knew girls like that in my youth I’d probably be a happier man.
In the glut of awful slasher films that exist, MBV isn’t one of them. It seemed to be unfairly overlooked when we talk about slashers, and it’s certainly better than the oft-mentioned Friday the 13th (A film which is better in theory than it is in practice, and has the dubious honour of being a worse film than many of the sequels that followed it). Hopefully with the uncut release of the DVD and the release of the pretty good remake here’s hoping more people discover this little gem.
Up Next: A good Friday the 13th (Not the original).