Featuring: Jensen “Supernatural” Ackles , Jaime “Sin City” King , Tom “Halloween III: Season of the Witch” Atkins
Director: Patrick “Dracula 2000” Sanders
Writers: Todd “Jason X” Farmer , Zane Smith
“Happy fucking Valentine’s Day.”
I un-ironically love Valentine’s Day. Well, not so much the holiday itself, but the post-holiday sales on chocolate. It’s my 3rd favorite post-holiday sweets binge behind Halloween and Easter, in that order… unless it’s one of those years where I can find those big dumb chocolate crucifixes, in which case Easter takes the top spot… unless it’s also one of those years where I can find those bags of gummy body parts, in which case the two have to fight it out for the love of my enlarged diabetic heart. Anyway, I site here surrounded by Ninja Turtles VD cards (something I need to make happen as a way for people to make that awkward confession of “thanks for the sex!… but you probably have gonorrhea now”) and off-flavored chocolates filled with chemically tinged creams (please ignore the fact that it’s now March… I’m Dr. Cheeks, so I’m a little behind), so let’s get this review done with so I can polish off these sweets before their chemical state alters to the point that my pancreas can’t process their mutant sugars and I get SUPER Diabetes.
In my book (not a physical thing… yet), 1980s slasher movies vary from the sublime (Friday the 13th Part 2) to the shit-awful (Night Ripper). Under the banner of the former sits the Canadian horror show My Bloody Valentine, atop an Iron Throne made of candy boxes, pick axes, gas masks, and disembodied hearts. It’s full of Canadian weirdness and people and accents and violence. If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, do yourself the favor of tracking it down. Get the Director’s Cut if you can, cuz there’s all kinds of gore (some gruesome, some hilarious, some hilariously gruesome) slashed from the original cut that was reinserted… but not nearly as cleaned up and remastered as the the rest of the movie, so you’ll get that “grainier, off-color” look to make figuring out which is which incredibly easy. Unfortunately, since I vowed to only review movies from the current millennium for this site, I have to settle for the American retelling of the Harry Warden legacy. For those who did see the original, we’re going to be walking a lot of familiar territory. For those new to the territory (and wondering who the fuck Harry Warden is), I choo-choo-choose you to come along with us on the Tunnel of Love that is, My Bloody Valentine 3D.
No longer does our tale of the spelunking slasher take place in the sleepy little, ironically named, only-in-the-movies mining hamlet of Valentine Bluffs, but rather in the much less (but still moderately) ironically named mining village of Harmony. The Hanniger coal mine, upon which most of the town’s economic stability is hung, is the sight of a tragic methane explosion perpetrated by the owner’s son, Tom Hanniger (Jensen “The Wizard of Panty Stains”Ackles). The resultant cave-in traps half-a-dozen miners, but by the time the rescue teams get through, they find 5 guys dead by pick ax trauma, presumably murdered to conserve oxygen by the tragedy’s sole survivor – Harry Warden… toss “Boss” in front of his name and he sounds like the follicularly over-endowed, corrupt overseer in a Japanese prison movie… the only one of which I can think of is The Story of Ricky… which I now REALLY want to watch.
In the original MBV, Harry’s momentary roommates died in the accident. Because it took the rescue crew so long to dig him out (coal mine rescue tech was way slower 30 years ago), Harry had to resort to cannibalism to survive. The oxygen thing here still makes plenty of sense though. Also, making Mr. Warden a plain old murderer helps sell the movie to those international markets that tend to ban cannibal medias as a way of keeping citizens from remembering their own nightmarish national histories of people eating other people (I’m looking at you Australia, Germany, Russia, and Portugal). But, the cannibalism angle makes Harry’s situation seem way more horrific and his character a lot more tragic. Killing others to save yourself from eventual oxygen loss requires human levels of logic, cruelty, and self-preservation. If you ask me (and even if you don’t), eating your dead co-workers takes an animalistic desperation on a whole different level of the primordial food chain.
Speaking of the differences between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom, we’re the only ones who sup from the bitter buffet that is vengeance. In this regard, both cinematic dimensional variances of Harry Warden are very human, as both return from their post-accident states to exact bloody Valentine’s Day retribution on those responsible for their horrific turns. Both would do their homicidal deeds decked in the “gas mask, helmet, and overalls” uniform of their profession, but while Harry Classic avenged himself on the two irresponsible supervisors whose negligence permanently put fava beans and Chianti on his grocery list, Harry the Next Generation went balls out ballistic (or, as I say, “ballslistic”) and turned his Norman Rockwellian town into a Norman Batesian blood orgy, slaughtering over 20 innocent young people partying at the mine (two of whom are named Jason and Michael…) on his gory crusade to disembowel young Master Hanniger, whom he blames for the blast that brought aboot (my homage to the homeland of our original feature) his downfall. In surgical terms (because I watched Dr. Giggles yesterday), Harry Classic’s revenge was a tumor removed with a scalpel and a skilled pair of hands, HtNG’s revenge was a tumor removed with a dozen hand grenades thrown into an operating theater full of med school students.
Despite being the target of Harry’s rampage, Tom is one of the few people to make it out of the Valentine’s Day massacre alive, but only by the skin of his taint, thanks to the timely intervention of the local constabulary, Sheriff Jim Burke (TOM ATKINS! WOOOO!). Worse than his imminent death, as Harry’s pick ax was set to mine Tom’s skull cave of its vein of grey matter, Tom’s co-miner Axel Palmer (Kerr Smith) pulled the assholiest of asshole moves and escaped the attack in his pick-up truck, taking with him Tom’s lady love Sarah (Jaime King) and his own then-girlfriend Irene… who’s not a one-legged Chinese woman, so don’t even ask. Making matters worse? Axel traded gazes with Tom AS HE WAS LEAVING HIM TO DIE! If you’re ever going to ditch a guy on the verge of being flatlined by a masked serial killer because your balls are too miniscule to try and HELP THEM, do yourself a favor and don’t look anywhere near their general direction when you’re so cowardly putting your car in reverse in avoidance of their plight. If you match eyes and they survive, they’ll hate you forever for being the abandoning fizzle dick that you are. Even if they do end up eating the business end of something from the clearance bin at Home Depot, you’re gonna be seeing their final “Oh, fuck you to Hel, you piece of shit!” face in your PTSD soaked nightmares until you either drown in a bottle of Wild Turkey, or end up doing the Brooks Hatlen Swing at the end of a noose made from the tie you wore to their funeral. Not a pretty scene either way.
Following his Harry harrowing, Tommy Boy spent an extended stretch in his very own padded accommodations at the nearest loony facility. After 7 years of bed restraints and Rorschachs (“GIVE ME BACK MY FACE!”) and crayon drawings of happy places, Tom returns to Harmony with a pocketful of anti-psychotics and the power to decide if his hometown lives or dies!… Okay, that requires a little explanation. See, the senior Hanniger’s passed since Tom disappeared, leaving the Hanniger Mine’s future in Tom’s hands. Not too concerned with the well being of its employees, Tom’s ready to sell the place to some evil nameless corporate entity so he can put the place of his personal past horrors in his rear view and move on with what’s left of his life. A lot of things have changed in the time since Tom went out on his psychological sojourn. Tom’s ol’ pickin’ pal Axel’s now graduated to Sheriff. But, The PickAxel hasn’t given up spelunking entirely, he just dropped the ‘el’. Yep, he’s spunking, and he’s using Sarah Caverns as his dumping grounds. Apparently Sarah’s one of those ladies who gets a heart boner over men in uniform… or just loves cowardly man-bitches who leave her boyfriend to be psycho slaughter so said pussy can move in on her later. Oh, and on top of all that, Ax has also expanded his jizz slinging operation to include tossing custard down the slop hallway of Sarah’s barely legal co-worker, Megan. What a man. What a man. What a man. What a mighty good man. He’s a mighty, mighty good man. Yes he is. Congratulations girls. By dating and procreating with shitsnots like Axel, you’re only encouraging them to perpetuate their scumbaggery. Enjoy your broken hearts and black eyes. Bravo. *Slow clap*
Aaaaaaanyway, personal bias against dickfarts aside, no sooner does Tom show up then things in Harmony become very dis-harmonized. Everybody in town has some hardship to blame the prodigal son for, whether it be someone who died in the methane explosion, someone Harry Warden bisected, or they’re just on the verge of losing the shitty mining jobs they’ve spent their entire adult lives doing and have yet to contract some form of cancer from. Naturally, Sarah’s already tumultuous relationship with Axhole gets more tumulty, not only because Sarah’s Tom-induced heartburn is acting up, but because Tom’s presence has Ax’s insecurity on overdrive. Little tip folks – if your partner starts constantly accusing you of infidelity the minute someone who’s not them comes into your life, well, it’s too bad “it’s because they’re already cheating on you” isn’t one of the spots on a roulette wheel, because it’s the surest bet you’ll ever make… just hide the money until after the divorce.
On top of all the chaos Tom’s causing, his return to the town has brought with it a whole new tragedy in Harmony’s history, because a kill happy bastard in mining gear has come to pick up (har har) where Harry Warden left off! Is it Tom? Is it Axel? Maybe it’s Roy the ambulance driver (catch up on your ’80s slasher movies, dingus)! Could it actually be Harry Warden!? Pro tip: despite the lack of a body, now-retired sheriff Jim Burke is sure that Harry Warden died the night of his fatal reunion tour… damn sure… “blue wall of silence” sure… what I’m saying is that they shot Harry dead and buried him in the woods near the mine… or did they? You won’t know until the film’s finale and it’s… not great. But it is a gore-soaked stroll through ankle-deep rivers of viscera getting there!
Before that James Cameron mutant Smurf orgy Anal-tard (or “Avatar” if you’re going by the original Craplish translation) brought about the second 3D apocalypse with it’s Unobtainium butt plug, MBV brought it back to the blood and guts scene in brilliant fashion. It was fun as shit to see it in theaters before every other week some Hollywood scum bags were trying to fatten their pockets by padding ticket prices with lame, needless visual “upgrades”. I may hate digital effects when it comes to horror flicks, but I gotta say, the graphic violence and abuse of 3D camera work on display are a fine tribute to the ’80s slashers to which MBV pays homage and the best use of the medium I’ve seen to date. Hell, most of the old school 3D slasher flicks were just packed with stupid needless moments that made the technology a massive waste (I’m looking at you, Friday the 13th Part 3, with your dumb shit 3D yo-yo and rake handle!), so the student surpasses the teacher in this case.
Acting wise, there’s nothing wrong here. The characters are pretty much all assholes for the most part, so it’s kinda hard to pull for any of them to make it to the end credits. The people paid to play them aren’t at fault for that though, and do their job’s fine. While Axel and Tom are no longer miners (as TJ and Axel were in the original), they do have an interesting, almost “Dallas”-like dynamic of white trash power struggle erupting from personal pettiness. Though Axel’s position as sheriff makes him one of the most powerful people in Harmony, and his douchebaggery makes him the most likely to abuse that position to serve his own needs (like making his wife’s ex-boyfriends disappear), Tom’s pretty much got the entire populace by the balls as the sole owner of the little burg’s lifeline. Piss him off or kill him and the entire town becomes unemployed and dies a slow death. Or, even worse, he goes crazy and sets fire to the place, turning Harmony into another Centralia… it’s that town in Pennsylvania… oh, for Isis’ sake, just look it up… Sure, Tom comes off as a PTSD-Bag, but at least he’s got reasons. In the original, TJ was just a selfish dick devoid of personal trauma who fucked up his own life and came back into town ready to take over like a total shit lord. I definitely like Sarah better in this version too. She’s not just an indecisive little Barbie driving a wedge between buddies who likes the attention too much to kick either to the proverbial curb. Sarah 2009 is actually married to Axel and has a kid with him, making shit WAY more complicated than just “bitch needs to pick a dick and sit on it!”. They also give us a reason to root against Axel now since he’s a cheating prick, rather than feeling straight up bad for him in the original because Sarah was the one screwing with him by letting the returned protagonist woo her while Axel was just the poor puppet she keeps dangling on her strings.
Amidst all the drama here, everybody’s blaming everybody else for the murders, and the mystery of who’s behind the gas mask fluctuates while everyone makes their case for why it’s not them. Ultimately the pay off is flacid though, and is my only real sticking point with the movie. By making Tom into a pill popper with a complicated and traumatic past with the local legendary serial killer, all I could think of while watching was that Todd Farmer and Zane Smith are definitely fans of Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning, aka “The Bloody Ballad of Roy”. And after sitting through the new MBV ending, I gotta say that I wish they’d gone full Roy on this one and had Harry remove his mask to reveal a random bit character from the movie that NO ONE expected rather than… well… what we got instead. It’s a shame too, because there’s a brilliant piece in the finale where the killer emulates Harry Classic’s “bashing the lights in the mine while he stalks his prey” moment, and for every light he smashes there’s this “reality shift” effect where the revealed killer visually transforms into his masked murderer self for the millisecond following each busted bulb. It’s a shame, but not every fuck session can end on a mind blowing orgasm. Sometimes there’s just an awkward fart. Then both people stop, put their clothes on, and walk away, uttering not a single word, never to see each other again. If only you could’ve held it in a little longer, MBV…
Speaking of awkward departing, pardon me while I wrap this up with my own metaphorical fart. I’m sluggish with discount chocolates and I still need to go write an apology card for my Evil Dead Bride before she gets out of work. Don’t ask why. Anybody have a good rhyme for “Tom Atkins’ mustache”?
Moral of the Story: Nothing good happens to people in slasher movies who use washers and/or dryers. I’d say stick to using washboards and clotheslines, but that never ends well either. The lesson? Never do laundry. Pay someone else to do it. If anybody HAS to die for washing your garments, let it be a professional dry cleaner. They knew the risks when they took the job…
“Pictured here with a pick ax through his head.”
“What the… who put Crystal Pepsi in this thing?!”
It may look gross, but I bet it tastes a lot better than the Valentine’s candy they sell at Dollar Embargo.
This is what Republicans think counts as an “eye exam” under Obamacare.
That moment at the drive-in when you realize Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector is the opening feature.
I can’t say this enough, people. DO NOT GO DOWN ON YOUR WOMAN DURING HER PERIOD! One stray sneeze and it’s the friggin’ Masque of the Red Death.
That is one stacked third grader. Jeezus. Girls are hitting puberty earlier and earlier these days. Preggos? Don’t eat fast food while you’re carrying. Just sayin’.
Jensen Ackles doing his Robert DeNiro impression, or stifling a sneeze? You decide.
“Detective Groovy and Deputy Douche” – coming to CBS Fridays this Fall!
“Damn smoochers! Get offen mah propahty!”
It always undercuts the menace of your movie when you have your killer make the “sideways looking confused dog” motion.
Ladies, unless you’re looking to get butchered by a psycho or skeezed on by a guy in a molester mustache, stay away from all “Fresh Meat” signs.
Cop: “Well? Aren’t you gonna say, ‘It’s Miller time’?”
Tom Atkins: “Actually, PBR won the sponsorship. And ‘It’s Pabst time’ doesn’t sound nearly as cool.”
Looking at the explosion? He’s obviously not a cool guy.
Anubis will return next time in
“The Great Emancipator (of Heads)”
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