By Richard Winters
My Rating: 2 out of 10
4-Word Review: A Killer with heart.
After 20 years a small Canadian mining town of Valentine Bluffs has decided to hold another Valentine’s Day Dance. The previous ones were canceled due to one ending in bloodshed by a psychotic mine worker named Harold Warden. Now he is locked away so they think it is safe except the killings start happening again and this time the killer tears the hearts out of the victims and delivers them in heart shaped boxes to their relatives.
This movie has a cool looking poster and a deliciously macabre concept and has also attained a strong cult following including Quinton Tarantino, but I unfortunately was not impressed with it. I found it to be excruciatingly boring and a major strain just to sit through. The direction and writing are uninspired creating predictable scenarios and delivering all the expected teen slasher movie clichés with a monotonous regularity. Nothing is distinctive or scary and it fails to deliver any suspense or tension. It can’t even make effective use of its unique mine shaft setting. The final sequence takes place there, but it is nothing spectacular. The constant delivering of human hearts in candy style boxes soon loses its effect and eventually becomes stupid especially with the corny poems written on the attached note cards.
The young victims are dull and stereotypical. They look like caricatures from all the other slasher horror films except here they speak with thick Canadian accents. One of them looks like an overweight version of Meathead from ‘All in the Family’. There is also a ‘class clown’ type of character that resembles very closely the ‘class clown’ character from Friday the 13th . Here he does nothing but crack dumb jokes and watching him eventually get decapitated is the film’s single most gratifying moment.
The sheriff character is a real loser. He wears a big belt buckle and dopey haircut that makes him appear to be some middle-aged buffoon who has just stepped out of the 60’s. His logic is also flawed. He decides not to warn the town that a killer is on the loose even after he has killed a couple of people as he is afraid it will create too much of a panic, so instead he waits until seven more people die and the citizens all go into a panic anyways.
Usually in even the poorest of horror films the killings and gore can at least keep things entertaining on a tacky level and yet here they are as dull as everything else. Also, since when has going into a dark and dingy cave been considered a great place to have sex? To me it seems absurd and yet several of the teen couples go into the mine for distinctly that purpose.
Remade in 2009.
My Rating: 2 out of 10
Released: February 11, 1981
Runtime: 1Hour 30Minutes
Director: George Mihalka
Available: VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Video