My Bloody Valentine 3D is an important movie, maybe even in spite of itself. However, for me to properly explain why, you need to come on a journey with me. Allow me a moment to explain my personal experience with the film. I’ve liked horror for as long as I can remember. As a kid I’d convince my grandmother to rent the Puppet Master movies from Blockbuster every time she babysat. In high school I’d sit in the back of the room reading Johnny the Homicidal Maniac instead of paying attention to whatever the teacher was prattling on about. It wasn’t until college, however, that I really dove headfirst into the genre. Until then it wasn’t something I really thought about as a subculture, it was just something I knew I enjoyed.
I stumbled across My Bloody Valentine entirely by chance. I had heard of it, but I wasn’t really seeking it out when I found it bundled with April Fool’s Day for a couple bucks in a double edition DVD. I watched the two movies back to back, but My Bloody Valentine was the one that stuck out immediately. Harry Warden is the coolest slasher villain that never took off and I was immediately infuriated to find out that they never made a single sequel. Soon, however, news of the remake started to come out and while I was nervous I was excited as well. The trailer was fun and campy and clearly didn’t take itself all that seriously with the tagline, “nothing says date movie like a 3D ride to hell!” More importantly, this was a second chance.
As I said before, the original version never got to see a sequel due in large part to a big backlash against slasher films. Roger Ebert was gathering his pitchforks and torches, attacking horror by and large with the claim that these films “hate women.” Ironically, the only one that he gave a pass to was Halloween, one of the few slasher flicks where the final girl gets saved by a man rather than defeating the killer herself (just saying). My Bloody Valentine took one of the worst hits by the MPAA, having a whole 9 minutes of effects shots ripped from the film. This story has become infamous in the horror community, with the original cut never seeing the light of day…until the release of the remake.
During the build up for My Bloody Valentine 3D it was announced that for the first time ever the missing gore would be restored and put back in the picture. It turns out that the footage was never missing or destroyed (as had been previously reported). The original studio just didn’t want to release it. Whether it was that they had a distaste for it or they just didn’t think there was enough interest, it wasn’t until LionGate secured the rights for the remake that the original, unedited footage was finally released.
So on the night of the release me and three of my friends piled into a car and headed to the theater. It was packed, which was a huge surprise. There were actually so many people there that my friends and I couldn’t even find four seats next to each other. We each ended up sitting alone. This sounds like it should be a detractor to the experience, but it wasn’t. I was used to being the only one who cared about these films so seeing the general populace getting excited about this little movie about a guy in a gas mask killing people with a pickaxe was amazing. As for the movie itself I had a blast. It was that rare remake that was reverent to the source material without just copying it. More than that, it was just a fun, gory experience with an added bonus of the gimmicky 3D.
These days, 3D is everywhere to the extent that they don’t even advertise it with the big blockbusters any more, it’s just assumed that they’re being released that way. Not everyone loves it, but it’s impossible to deny the impact that it’s had. Unfortunately, most people don’t seem to remember the film that kicked it off. My Bloody Valentine 3D is that movie. Sure, The Journey to the Center of the Earth may have beaten it out by hitting theaters a couple of months earlier, but the 3D wasn’t really pushed quite as much and moreover, My Bloody Valentine 3D is the first contemporary film to be shot in 3D. MBV3D based its entire marketing campaign on the 3D aspect. It was everywhere. The trailer even had Harry Warden coming out of the screen. This put it directly into the public consciousness.
So with all that being said… what happened? The film took in 100 million worldwide on a budget of 14 million and got moderately positive reviews. It’s a gory slasher movie so a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes was never an option, but it resonated with the right audiences reasonably well. Still…no sequel was ever announced. Rumors circulated that Lionsgate was trying to distance themselves from genre film due to a shift in management, especially given what happened with Midnight Meat Train‘s screwed up release the year before, but I doubt we’ll ever really know.
My Bloody Valentine 3D is a film that made waves which we’re still feeling now, so it’s a bit unfortunate that the movie itself has been largely forgotten in recent years. Maybe it’s because of its’ remake status, maybe it’s because of the backlash against 3D in recent years, but it deserves a bit more attention. This film pulled lost footage into the light of day for the first time in 30 years in a similar fashion to Nightbreed‘s Cabal Cut and kicked off a wave of 3D cinema that has since shaped the landscape of not just modern horror, but modern cinema. I know what I’ll be watching this February 14th.