Within the first 2 minutes, the film presents us with an ghastly image so repulsive as to churn the stomach of any normal human being. Or maybe it’s just me — tattoo’s are generally not a good idea, but especially not on the breast of a young blonde.
I have to credit the writer, though, it is there for a reason; actually he milks it for two points. In some bizarrely fetishistic role-play, a couple has gone down into coal mine wearing coveralls and gas masks. Long story short, the heart-shaped tattoo 1) drives the man into a rage, and 2) provides a nice target for the pick-axe.
After a nice opening, the main story begins at the mouth of the mine during the shift change. A wee little train brings the miners to the surface and takes the next shift down. The guys are a little too over-the-top friendly in a 1980’s beer commercial kind of way. Especially in the shower.
It is nice for a change, however, not to watch a bunch of 30 year olds playing high school students. Although basically they still act like high school kids, just ones who work in a mine.
After the gang-shower, the guys head over to the union hall which has been decorated for the prom, er Valentine’s Dance. The girls also act like high-schoolers. Apparently not having jobs, they are making banners and paper hearts as their boyfriends come in.
A local geezer objects to all this jocularity, recounting the story of why there has not been a Valentine’s Dance in 20 years.
During the last dance, 7 men remained in the mine. The 2 supervisors bailed for the party without checking the methane levels. A huge explosion killed the 5 in the mine. After several days, however, one survivor was found — Harry Warden, insane and chomping on a co-worker’s arm. One year later, Harry returned to kill the 2 supervisors. He cut out their hearts and left a note warning that if another dance was ever held on the 14th, there would be more murders.
And what kind of name for a slasher is Harry Warden? Voorhees and Krueger have some pizzazz. Although Michael Myers is also pretty boring, sounding more like a slip-and-fall lawyer.
The sheriff receives a box of candy which turns out to contain the heart from the girl killed in the first scene. He also finds the owner of the laundromat stuffed into one of her dryers. Like the tanning booth in Trancers, it apparently had a “cremate” setting. Of course, the de-hearting would have killed her anyway; but at least left the open-casket option available.
Convinced that Harry Warden as returned, the sheriff cancels the Valentine’s Dance. Displaying the cunning of a slip-and-fall lawyer, the kids, er miners decide they won’t have a dance . . . they’ll have a party! Totally different. Surely Harry Warden would not hold them responsible for the difference.
And where better to have a party than at the mine? Won’t the gang at the sewage treatment plant be jealous! To their credit, the party is kept above ground in the rec room. Not that this prevents several of them from being killed.
Inevitably one of them gets the idea to take the party down into the mine. One character points out that it is against the rules for women to go into the mine. Thank God we no longer live in the dark ages where women do not have the same opportunity for pneumoconiosis and being trapped in cave-ins as men. You’ve come a long way, baby.
Going subterranean was not the brightest idea. After several more kills, the culprit is revealed to be one of the partiers. Turns out Harry Warden has been dead for years. The killer’s name is Axel, which could be a great name for a franchise killer if matched with an appropriate last name.
It was clear from the editing that many scenes had been trimmed for gore. A director’s cut has been released restoring at least some of the cuts. MBV was good enough that I now want to see it intact.
I rate it a 12 out of 14.
- I thought “slip-and-fall lawyer” was a pejorative. After Googling, I now see that many attorneys proudly advertise using just that phrase.
- How can “Googling” not be in spell-check?
- Strangely Don Francks gets a “Special Guest Appearance By” credit despite being in several scenes, and arguably being the lead in the movie.
- Nice to see a pick-axe actually used as opposed to some films I could mention.
- According to IMDb, when the town in Nova Scotia found out they were going to shoot a movie there, they spent $50k to clean up the mine. The producers then had to spend $75k to dirty it up again. I suspect this is, like most wacky production anecdotes you hear, a complete lie.