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Film / My Bloody Valentine

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"Once upon a time
On a sad Valentine
In a place known as Hanniger Mine
A legend began
Every woman and man
Would always remember the time
And those who remain
Were never the same
You could see the fear in their eyes
Once every year
As the 14th draws near
There's a hush all over the town
For the legend they say
On a Valentine's Day
Is a curse that'll live on and on"
— "The Ballad of Harry Warden"

A 1981 holiday-themed Canadian Slasher Movie directed by George Mihalka.

Twenty years ago, in the sleepy mining town of Valentine Bluffs, a methane gas explosion at Hanniger Coal Mine trapped five miners in a shaft when the foremen who were supposed to be supervising left to go to a Valentine's Day party (similar to the absentee camp counsellors in Friday the 13th (1980)). Six weeks later, the accident's sole survivor, Harry Warden, was rescued; he survived by eating his dead coworkers and ultimately had gone mad. After a year in a mental institution, he escaped on Valentine's Day, killing and cutting out the heart of the guilty foremen, leaving a warning that the same would happen if the town ever again held a Valentine's Day celebration. With this nothing but a distant memory and Harry supposedly back in the institution, the town is now throwing another party. Murders of the same manner as before start cropping up, and the town sheriff orders the party shut down. But the requisite bunch of none-too-bright teenagers ain't happy about this and elope to host the party in secret up at the mine instead. Big mistake...


Known for having nine minutes constituting the gorier killings lopped off of it to comply with the MPAA. In 2009, the movie had a remake in 3D, named aptly: My Bloody Valentine 3D. The remake coincided with a DVD release of the original movie, which had the cut footage reincluded.

Quentin Tarantino said that this is his favorite Slasher Movie.

Not to be confused with the famous Shoegazing band of the same name who may or may not have taken their name from this movie.


The original film provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Big Bad: Axel Palmer is the true killer.
  • The Big Guy: Hollis, a big pickaxe's gotta get carried by a big man after all.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Invoked by the gas mask eyeholes, which seem to be pure black in every scene except one.
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water: Sylvia gets impaled on a broken shower nozzle, which the killer then turns on.
  • Blood-Splattered Innocents: Jenny and Patty get covered in Howard's blood after a noose cuts his head off, and a young Axel got splattered in his father's blood as Harry killed him.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Hollis gets a nail shot into the temple, then right between the eyes.
  • Brain in a Jar: One is on a shelf in the morgue.
  • Breast Attack: The first victim gets a pickaxe through the back and out a breast, which has a heart tattoo on it.
  • Calling Card: Hearts in candy boxes, and threatening Valentine's Day cards.
  • Canada, Eh?: The movie was filmed in a town in Nova Scotia
  • Carry a Big Stick: Axel whacks TJ with a log after mistaking him for the killer.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: Chief Newby, Mayor Hanniger and their posse reach the mine just after Axel is caught in a cave-in.
  • Chase Scene: The remaining survivors end up getting chased through the mines by the killer.
  • Cool Mask: The gas mask the killer wears to hide his identity
  • The Coroner: He's perfectly fine with handling a fresh human heart with his bare hands.
    • Actually, if you look closely he's wearing very thin clear nylon gloves. You can see the edges of them just under the sleeves of the white doctor coat. It certainly LOOKS like he's handling it with his bare hands, though.
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: The stabbed and immolated Mabel is listed as having died of a heart attack, so as not to panic the townspeople.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • Mabel getting pickaxed and shoved into a clothes dryer.
    • Dave being drowned in a boiling pot filled with hotdogs.
    • Sylvia getting impaled through the head by a broken pipe, which proceeds to shoot water out of her mouth.
  • Curiosity Killed the Cast: Hollis dies looking for Mike and Harriet.
  • Down in the Dumps: TJ, Axel and the others hung out there a lot when they were younger.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Sarah tackles the killer and pulls off his gas mask when he comes at TJ with a knife, revealing Axel's face.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: Although Harry Warden is initially suspected as the records of his incarceration were lost, the disguise the killer wears can still suggest that somebody else could be using Harry's identity.
  • Eye Scream: Happy's death when he gets a pickaxe in the jaw.
  • Failed a Spot Check: While getting beer out of a fridge, John fails to notice the killer stuffed Dave's body into it.
  • Fight Scene: Between Axel and TJ, during the party.
  • Flashback: Harry's origin is shown through a series of them.
  • Flashback Cut: Used to show Axel was present when Harry killed his father.
  • Flipping the Bird: Axel gives it, after losing to Hollis in the knife game they were playing in the bar.
  • Freudian Excuse: Axel was traumatized as a child by witnessing Harry violently kill his father, one of the neglectful mine supervisors.
  • Foreshadowing: "Oh, come on, you'd forget your head if it wasn't tied on with rope!"
    • Note the way John lifts Silvie up when he kisses her in the union hall early in the film. It's the exact way the Miner lifts her during her death scene.
  • Get Ahold Of Yourself Man: Sarah smacks Patty when she refuses to leave Hollis's body.
  • Gorn: The uncut version shows a surprising amount of gore for a small-time flick.
  • Gory Deadly Overkill Title of Fatal Death
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Only if you're watching the cut version.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The opening scene of the film by a pickaxe stuck in the wall. There's also a deleted scene where two teens are spiked by a drill; the final product only shows the aftermath.
  • Improvised Weapon: Pickaxe, clothes dryer, shower pipe, industrial drill, nailgun, log, shovel and rock.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: While hanging from some rafters, Howard mentions he has "a hangover".
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: The killer sings his own version of "Daddy's Gone-A-Huntin" while stumbling off into the mine.
  • Jack the Ripoff: Axel is using Harry's identity to kill others.
  • Knife Nut: After losing his pickaxe, the killer goes after TJ with a knife.
  • Laughing Mad: The killer laughs manically in the end.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: When looking for Mike and Harriet.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: After being pinned by rubble, Axel escapes by cutting his own arm off.
  • Lingerie Scene: Right at the beginning between a worker and a lady in the mines. How she isn't freezing is a mystery.
  • Minecart Madness: TJ and the killer do battle on a set of moving mine carts.
  • Mirror Scare: Right before a supervisor's death in a flashback.
  • Mr. Exposition: Happy tells the legend of Harry Warden.
  • Murderer P.O.V.: Strangely when this happens, the audience sees everything clearly despite the killer wearing a gas mask.
  • Nail 'Em: Hollis's death via a nail gun.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: Harry survived being trapped in the collapsed mine by killing and eating the other trapped miners.
  • Off with His Head!: Howard was actually hung, but apparently the drop was so high that the rope had enough force to decapitate him.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: Mabel's charred body popping out a clothes dryer, Happy's body coming down with a bunch of mining uniforms, and Howard's body flying down a shaft when he's hung.
  • Playing Possum: While crossing a small bridge, Axel breaks part of the rail, screams, and throws his hat into the water, to make himself out to be a victim.
  • Police are Useless: They don't really have any significance in the film and when they're finally called to the rescue, it's too late.
  • Powerful Pick: The killer's mining pick.
  • Pun-Based Title: My Funny Valentine.
  • Reaction Shot: When Chief Newby discovers Mabel's corpse, there's shots of him gagging and acting horrified. Patty's reactions at Hollis's death also qualify.
  • Re-Cut: The assassination of John Lennon led to a backlash against violence in the media, resulting in the film being trimmed considerably. Thankfully, a decent amount of footage survived, and was reinstated in the 2009 Special Edition.
  • Red Herring: Harry Warden died five years ago.
  • The Reveal: Axel is the killer.
  • Shovel Strike: TJ fights the killer off with one.
  • Small Town Boredom: Why TJ left Valentine Bluffs for the West Coast. As he put it, "I fell on my ass out there", so he had to come crawling back home.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: There's a rule about no women in the mine.
  • The Stoner: Howard, judging by his hat, which prominently displays a marijuana leaf.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: How Harry got trapped in the mine.
  • This Cannot Be!: Mayor Hanniger's reaction to the first heart and note sent by the killer.
  • This Is a Drill: Mike and Harriet are found skewered by a big one.
  • Title Drop: "Sarah, be My Bloody Valentine!"
  • Title In: February 12th, 13th and 14th.
  • Vader Breath: The heavy mining gear has this effect on the killer.
  • Villain Opening Scene: The movie starts with a miner and a woman in a moment of passion while in the mines. Then the woman is suddenly Impaled with Extreme Prejudice by the miner using his pickaxe that he embedded in a rocky wall.
  • Villain Song: "The Ballad of Harry Warden", a Gordon Lightfoot-esque folk-rock ditty sung by John McDermott which plays over the end credits.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The killer goes batshit in the end once he's been dramatically unmasked.
  • Visual Pun: Hollis's hat has the words "Kiss My" printed on it, above a picture of a donkey.
  • Vomiting Cop: Close. Upon finding Mabel's body, Chief Newby starts gagging a lot.
  • Wait Here: Said by Hollis and TJ to Patty, Sarah and Howard before they go looking for Mike and Harriet.
  • Weapon of Choice: The killer wields a pickaxe.


Example of: