28 years. Nearly three decades.
Thatís how long Iíve waited to see the deleted footage from the film MY BLOODY VALENTINE. For years Iíve heard rumors that fans had seen the excised scenes in a London film festival, or that the cut scenes had been lost forever. Then there was the rumor that the footage was going to appear in a sequel.
However it is, the footage now exists and can be found on the MY BLOODY VALENTINE Special Edition DVD.
Do I really need to tell you the filmís story? If youíve come to my review wanting my opinions on the footage, surely youíre familiar with MY BLOODY VALENTINE.
If not, here goes:
The small town of Valentine Bluffs is haunted by the memory of Harry Warden. He was left trapped in a mine by two co-workers who didnít check the methane levels in the Hanniger mines. After a year in the mental institute, Warden returns to murder those responsible for the cave-in, and to warn Valentine Bluffs to never hold a Valentine Dayís dance, again.
Cue the ominous music and itís now 20 years later. Yes, Valentine Bluffs is gearing up for its first Valentine celebration in years. And wouldnít you know it but a slasher garbed in a minerís outfit shows up to crash the party.
Is it Harry Warden?
Sorry, youíll just have to watch the film to find out.
I saw MY BLOODY VALENTINE on its opening night. And Iíve been in love with the film ever since. Itís rated in my top 13 all-time slasher films.
The people in the movie are real. They arenít giggling teens. These are hard working men who put in 40 hours a week. They have their problems, and they like to drown them at the local watering hole.
They each have their own individual personalities, and that adds to the dread and suspense when they are inevitably murdered. You come to like these people. And when Sarah, trapped between lovers T.J. and Axel, cries out: ďI donít care anymore!Ē you can just feel the emotion dripping off the screen.
But okay, okay. I can hear you now, bunky. You want to know about that deleted footage, donít you? I donít blame you. Letís have a look at what weíve got:
First off, the footage is grainy and has lost a lot of color in its nearly 30 years of captivity. You should be warned that itís really not up to snuff. But since weíve been yammering for it for years, it truly doesnít matter.
Weíve got pick-axes bursting through chests, nail guns penetrating foreheads, faces melted off in boiling hot dog water, heart evisceration and more.
But Iím going to take a look at a few individual scenes.
The first would have to be the infamous death of Mabel. In the theatrical film, we barely see her as her roasted corpse comes flopping out of the dryer. But in the uncut version, Mabel pops out of that sucker and goes to town bobbing back-and-forth. After all these years, that was definitely fun to watch.
The next would have to be the death of Happy. Iíve seen those old FANGORIA stills where you saw the tip of the pick-axe ripping through Happyís eye. Now, you get to see all the destruction ďHarry WardenĒ unleashes on Happyís eye cavity. Itís a hoot!
We also have Howardís death. In the theatrical cut, itís never quite clear how Howard died. One moment his body is falling from the top of the rafters and then BOOM! his corpse was lying on the ground. Now, however, everything is cleared up. We see the rope that hangs poor Howard, and weíre also privy to the outcome. Now Howardís head hangs in the noose as itís ripped from the remainder of his body. And itís quite the scene to watch.
Finally, I want to take a look at the final cut scene. This is the one where Axel cuts off his arm to escape into the Hanniger mines. I mentioned earlier that there were rumors that the film had turned up uncut in a London film festival. The strange thing is that one of the viewers described this scene exactly as it appears on the DVD. Did some of the footage actually appear at this festival? Is the Loch Ness monster real? Does Bigfoot actually walk the earth? And just how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop? The world may never know.
Now, how do these cut scenes look within the movie itself?
Iíll be totally honest. As much as I like the deleted footage, I prefer to watch it on its own. When itís watched within the movie, itself, it almost appears like a distraction.
As Iíve been lovingly told on the Horror Drive-In forum, Iím lost in the past (and yes, thatís a big wink from me to the guilty!).
Aside from watching the cut scenes stand on their own two legs, you also have the option of watching the footage with audio commentary. If youíre a big fan of the film, youíre not going to find out anything new. Itís all rudimentary information. But itís still fun to watch those attached to the film wax nostalgia.
One thing I do like about those commentary tracks is listening to George Mihalka reminiscence about the death of John Lennon and how the censors used that unfortunate event to start cracking down on movie violence.
There are other extras on the disc, but theyíre nothing to highly recommend. One is a history of the sub-genre that runs over well-covered ground. Again, youíre not going to find anything new. There are also quite a bit of nods to the MY BLOODY VALENTINE remake. And thatís another review unto itself.
Do I recommend the MY BLOOD VALENTINE Special Edition?
Oh my, yes.
Even if youíre not a scholar of the sub-genre (which I generously dub myself), this is one film that needs to be in your collection.
Thereís no doubt that you need to take another trip into the Hanniger Mines.