A Canadian Slashing: Read this Scathing 1981 Film Review of My Bloody Valentine
Filmed in the Princess Colliery Mine of Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia, My Bloody Valentine was a controversial 1981 slasher flick directed by Hungarian-Canadian filmmaker George Mikhala. While the film eventually became regarded as a cult classic, Mikhala has been outspoken about My Bloody Valentine‘s struggle with censorship. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) continuously nitpicked the violent nature of the film as Mikhala begrudgingly shaved back minutes from every murder scene in an attempt to downgrade the film’s X rating to a more accessible R.
Even after the MPAA ok’d an edit of Valentine, the real blowback began when the film hit theatres.
Many audiences were disturbed and many reviews of Valentine were scathing. Canadian film critic John Dodd walked out of Edmonton’s Capitol Square Cinema only halfway through the film. Dodd was so utterly disgusted that he notoriously branded My Bloody Valentine as “a movie made by the mentally warped for the mentally warped”.
Thanks to a scan from a February 16th, 1981 main edition of the Edmonton Journal via Newspapers.com , we were able to track down the original clipping capturing film critic John Dodd’s absolute disdain of the picture:
I’ve seen men lowered screaming in a meat grinder, pigs eating the entrails of a live girl.
Week after week, I’ve sat through the worst that Hollywood can offer, films that made Son of Sam look like a saint. I felt that to review the picture I should in fairness sit through the whole show, no matter how sordid.
Until now. The worst that Hollywood could offer has been topped by the exploitative, money-mad Canadian film industry, an industry gradually gaining contempt all over the world.
My Bloody Valentine, which opened as a promotional device just before the day that’s supposed to honour the patron saint of lovers, features cannibalism, violent sex, countless murders with a machete and pickaxe and endless shots of bloody human hearts stuffed into Valentine candy boxes. That’s just the first half.
I walked out halfway through. I couldn’t take it any more.
As far as I can tell from the first half, this is a movie made by the mentally warped for the mentally warped.
I don’t mind good horror movies. I enjoy a good scream. I loved Psycho and even Halloween. But the current trend towards sadistic horror and the fascination with cut-up parts of the human body and murders from the point of view of the killer himself is more than I can take, at least when handled with such an utter lack of style.
The plot, like most of the genre these days, rips off John Carpenter’s Halloween. Something about a dreaded killer who escapes from a mental institution to return to his home town to turn Valentine’s Day into a blood bath.
All of this perverted gore is brought to you thanks to financial help from the Canadian Film Development Corp. which uses your own tax money to help greedy, talentless producers make a killing, you should pardon the expression.
Happy Valentine’s Day”
– John Dodd
16 Feb 1981, Pg 60
Transcribed from the Newspaper.com Archives
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