Valentine is a day for lovers, it’s said, where romance blooms and love is celebrated. Chocolates are passed out, dinners are eaten, and lots of steamy sex goes down. So they say. Most people embrace Valentine’s for the harmless fun it is, while others find it to be a very miserable, lonely experience. Nothing like not having a mate and then having that flaunted in your face for 24 hours. So for some, Valentine’s Day is not much fun and is, instead, quite depressing. It’s for those folks who are flying solo that this column is dedicated to. Here’s some bloodletting for your holiday, where you get to watch romance die in a pool of steaming guts and boiling screams. Here are three Valentine-themed films that would form a nice triple feature for your viewing pleasure. Watch them in this order, and enjoy!
In which a nerdy boy is humiliated at a Junior High School dance and comes back years later for his bloody revenge. It’s Prom Night all over again! The killer wears a cool Cherub mask and does the whole weird, slinky Giallo killing thing with black gloves and that long, shiny knife. He offs a bunch of pretty people who were stars in the 90’s and would be stars in the 00’s. It’s not very bloody, which is the only real detriment to the film that I can see. It plays it safe, but the kills are fairly inventive and it’s a decent slasher. Bonus points for the killer who has nose bleeds of excitement as they kill, and that mask is extra creepy. A bit slow in parts, but it’s a great appetizer for what’s to come.
Two Buckets of Blood out of Four
My Valentine (2020)
This is part of the Into the Dark series on Hulu, so you can only watch it if you have H
ulu. It’s another sort of revenge story, this time featuring a pretty pop chanteuse who’s had her songs allegedly stolen by an ex-boyfriend/manager and used to propel another girl into stardom. Not only did they steal her songs, but her look, as well. Filmed fast and tight, with lots of double and triple screens, this one has the zest and energy of a Scott Pilgrim and a bit of the mania of American Psycho. Turns out the ex has returned and he’s locked our hero in a bar with himself and his knife, and he’s a bit…unhinged. This is truly a tale of twisted love, of codependency, of gaslighting, and of abuse, both physical and mental. Of the three movies mentioned here, this is the most realistic when it comes to failed relationships, and it’s drenched in a love of neon and modern pop music. Your mileage on the music will vary, depending on your tastes. Things get bloody, and they get out of hand, and this is very much a women’s lib movie, so embrace it and enjoy it. A fine movie, short and tight, with lots of funny characters and harrowing moments.
Three Buckets of Blood out of Four
My Bloody Valentine (1981)
I mean, how could this film not be on the list? It’s the Granddaddy of Valentine horror. You should know the story by now and if you don’t, shame on you. An old folk tale of a mine collapse and cannibalism and murder comes true as the younger denizens of Valentine’s Bluff decide to hold a Valentine’s Day dance. Murder follows, along with bloody chocolate boxes filled with actual, human hearts. Is it the old killer, Harry Warden, returned to wreak havoc, or someone else? What you get is lots of pick-ax murders and an iconic killer dressed in miner’s gear, including helmet and mask. If you can, get the uncut version, with the gore scenes restored. Ah, the spiking of the head on the shower spigot is one of the all-time great kills in slasher history. Unique for its Canadian setting, it also has a killer theme song. Remade in 2009 in 3D and hey, that version is a lot of fun, too, with exploding gore gags and a naked lady being chased by the killer for what seems like 20 minutes of gratuitous, funny exploitation. You can’t go wrong with either version, but if you haven’t seen either yet, go with the original.
Four Buckets of Blood out of Four
So there you go, a good triple feature, followed by a night of nightmares. This is dedicated, as said above, to those flying solo this season, but in truth, the couples out there can find a lot to delight in, too. There’s nothing better for romance than cuddling up with a bowl of popcorn and getting the bejeesus scared out of you.
Happy Bloody Valentine!
Kelly is the author of dozens of stories and dozens of reviews, he likes to write, he likes to read, he likes going to the movies, and he loves to laugh. He hails from the wilds of Kentucky and if you'd like to see more of his work, check out his website: www.kellymhudson.com