Roses are red, violets are blue… It’s Valentine’s Day, so what horror to view?
With the enormous popularity of 1978’s Halloween, horror filmmakers of the 1980s fell in love with the concept of bringing us a new set of scares with every major holiday. Fraught with fragile emotions, extreme passions, and opportunities for both romance and severe heartbreak, Valentine’s Day serves as the perfect backdrop for a horror-themed love affair. This February 14th, swap the typical romantic-comedy staples and draw blood straight from cupid’s arrow with these heartfelt send ups to the day of love.
My Bloody Valentine (1981)
In a 2006 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Quentin Tarantino named this 1981 Canadian horror film as his favorite slasher. It was also listed as #17 on a list of 20 guilty pleasures and noted as “the most criminally under-appreciated of the genre”.
The mining town of Valentine’s Bluff hasn’t held its annual Valentine’s Day dance in decades, fearing the celebration will bring the vengeful return of pickaxe-wielding, left for dead miner Harry Warden. Defying tradition, a group of teens decides to observe the romantic holiday and the massacre begins.
My Bloody Valentine 3-D (2009)
More of a retelling than a remake, the story from 2009’s My Bloody Valentine 3-D is inspired by the legend of miner turned serial killer Harry Warden from the 1981 original. In this version, it’s been 10 years since Warden awoke from a coma and picked his way into the hearts of the town of Harmony. Suspicions and panic rise when Tom Hanniger, recently inheriting the mine from his estranged father, returns to town and the Valentine’s Day killings begin again.
Although praised by some for its extreme use of 3-D technology in combination with ’80s style gore, the film’s major accomplishment comes from editor-director Patrick Lussier. A longtime Wes Craven collaborator (Lussier edited New Nightmare, Scream, and Red Eye), Lussier knows what kind of film he’s giving us and delivers enough thrills to keep your heart racing.
Preface: As a diehard Scream fan, I have an eternal soft spot for the self-aware, post-modern, and teen-filled brand of horror that exploded in the late 90s and early 2000s. So, I’m not going to bash this movie in the way other horror fans have (8% on Rotten Tomatoes! C’mon, it wasn’t that bad!).
Valentine shows us what can go wrong when you break someone’s heart at an early age. The film opens at a junior high dance in 1988 where a social outcast finds himself rejected and tormented by his fellow classmates. Years later, a group of girls from the dance begin receiving threatening Valentine’s cards. Before long, the threats turn deadly and the girls must fight to survive the wrath of the cherub-masked killer trying to burrow his way into each of their hearts.
Many pan the film for its formulaic approach, but I feel like that’s a criticism almost all horror films receive. Whether or not Valentine is regarded as a quality film, I still have fun watching it every year. The cast is entertaining with Denise Richards and genre favorites like Marley Shelton (Scream 4), David Boreanaz (Buffy, Angel), and Katherine Heigl (Bride of Chucky). I also enjoyed the visual style of the film and homages to tropes of the holiday. Lastly, the killer stalking girls with that disturbing baby-faced mask gives me the creeps. So, if you’re feeling brave and willing to take a risk, go out on a limb and give Valentine a chance to warm your heart this year.
Will you give your heart away to any of these Valentine’s Day-themed horror movies this year or does the thought of them make you draw blood? What horror movies woo your romantic spirit this time of year?
Share your thoughts and suggestions below, and be sure to follow MrandMrsHalloween.com for the best tricks and treats of the season!
Happy Valentine’s Day! xoxo
Mr. and Mrs. Halloween