Hello my beloved yet anonymous readers. I must admit that while I have been overjoyed with the latest batch of modern masterpieces (Gran Torino, Doubt, Seven Pounds) I felt a sense of warmth when I entered the theater to watch My Bloody Valentine 3-D. Kinda like ditching the three-piece Armani suit for those holey yet comfortable sweatpants. Ah yes, a break from the high drama and a return to shrieking topless babes running in high heels and red tinted Karo syrup drenching the screen.

For some the major draw to this film will be Jensen Ackles and those fans will be sorely disappointed since he stays extremely well covered for the entirety of the film. As for me, I was initially intrigued by the 3D aspect. Even the trailer painted the movie as a 100 minute thrill ride where everything from bloody pickaxes to fiery blazes will leap into your face and double the fear factor. I walked in totally prepared to sit through a mindless plot with bland performances and lots of opportunities for things to be hurled towards me. Surprise, surprise folks! The 3D effects are not the central focus of the movie.


Tom's (J. Ackles) Worst Valentine's Day Ever 

The story was actually pretty darn good. Well, in horror standards anyway. It begins with an accident at the mine. Tom Hanniger (Jensen Ackles), the mine owner’s son and employee, seemingly forgets to “bleed the lines” which causes a cave-in and kills some of his co-workers. One of the miners, Harry Warden (Richard John Walters), survives but he goes into a coma. Though evidence shows that the miners were actually killed by Harry the townsfolk place equal blame on Tom for the initial cave-in. Tom is now the town pariah while Harry is laid up in the hospital on life support.

One fine night some of the local kids decide to throw a party in Tunnel No. 5. I guess when you don’t have a Garden State Plaza or a Palisades Center Mall in town the next best teen hangout is the local mine. Tom and his gal pal, Sarah (Jaime King), hook up with mutual friends Axel (Kerr Smith) and Irene (Betsy Rue) and enter the tunnel of fun. Meanwhile, Harry Warden awakens and it seems all that time he was lying in that bed he wasn’t counting sheep….he was hacking them to wooley bits with his pickaxe. After painting the hospital halls and floors and ceilings red Warden returns to his old place of employment only to find a bunch of kids playing in the tunnels.

As Harry practices his swinging arm on a couple of kids Axel, Sarah and Irene make their way to the truck so they can flee to safety. Poor Tom is left alone with “Hackin’ Harry” until the law shows up and shoots Harry before he can land the final blow. As a wounded Harry Warden limps down into the dark we wonder if he’s truly dead or just taking a breather. Whatever Harry’s fate the legend of the Valentine’s Day Massacre will live on in the hearts of the townspeople, as well as the minds of the media, for years to come.


Sarah (J. King) Hoping Her Stilettos Don't Fail Her Now

And that’s just the setup. The saga continues ten years later as Tom returns to sell Hanniger Mines. We learn that much has changed over those years such as Sarah and Axel’s marriage and Axel's position as town sheriff. The closer it gets to Valentine’s Day the more news vans show up hoping to get some kind of scoop on the 10th anniversary of that tragic night. Just their luck that the murder rate is spiking up all of sudden. Seems that as soon as Tom came back to town people started getting picked off again. All those glaring eyes are fixed on young Mr. Hanniger once again. Now Tom has to prove his innocence and that means he’ll have to confront the thing he fears most. And that thing could possibly be the ghost of Harry Warden…..or worse! Mwah ha ha ha!!


Sheriffs Burke (T. Atkins) & Palmer (K. Smith) On The Case With Sarah (J. King) Along For Backup

My Bloody Valentine 3D
(or as my friend, Peter, puts it: MBV3D) took me back to those glory days in the '90s when flicks like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer reinvigorated the slasher genre with sharper writing, youthful characters that weren’t totally controlled by their hormones, and elaborate death scenes that appeared to take more than ten seconds to write. MBV3D has those familiar ingredients; a small and isolated town, young people with a lot of history, skeletons in various closets, and an immortal stalker that has ties to everybody.

Just like in Scream everybody is a suspect. Just when the killer seems obvious in comes the evidence that instantly gets that suspect off the hook or puts him on one, depending on the circumstance.
And just like in I Know What You Did Last Summer you have that ghost story shared by all the locals about the boogey man that lurks around the community executing those responsible for his death and slaying bystanders foolish enough to get in his way. Yet another shared trait is the talented youthful cast that’s full of fresh and familiar faces. 

First off is Tom Atkins who plays Sheriff Burke, the law in the flashback that tracks down Harry Warden and saves Tom from a gruesome fate. Mr. Atkins is best known to me for his roles in The Fog (the original NOT that 2005 wreck that should be buried on Mars for eternity) and Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (like I’m the only one who still doesn’t sing that Shamock jingle at least once a week….Oh, I am? Gee, I guess I really should seek therapy afterall.).

As for the youngins we have Jensen Ackles. A Ryan Phillippe clone that’s a little bit taller and a tad bit meatier than his genetic host. Mr. Ackles is no stranger to the macabre or the freaky after spending many years chasing ghost and ghouls on the hit series, Supernatural. Ackles is good. He does the whole tortured soul thing pretty well and when he’s coupled with his currently hitched old flame you could drown in those eyes full of remorse, regret, and that deep passionate longing to stick his tongue straight down Sarah’s throat and drive her back to Vegas for a quickie Elvis helmed ceremony.


"Tom & Sarah Walking Past A Tree......."

Speaking of Sarah let’s talk about Jaime King as the resident “final girl”. She narrowly survived Harry’s rampage in the flashback and now she not only has her life to worry about but also her son, Noah (Andrew Larson). Based on that cardinal rule that the final girl must be a virgin the deflowered and knocked up Sarah’s survival chances don’t look so good. Being married to the local sheriff doesn’t help much either. King is no prissy missy but I have to confess that there where times when I thought I was watching Michelle Monaghan from Eagle Eye. Other times, I thought Sarah was being played by Lindsay Lohan. Could this be another attack of the clones?

Kerr Smith has the honor of playing Axel. The young jerk is now the young jerk sheriff. If you thought Tom was suspicious well Axel’s rap sheet isn’t completely spotless either. What could be more terrifying than the killer being hidden behind the badge?
 

Sheriff Palmer (K. Smith) & Deputy Martin (Edi Gathegi) Reviewing Betsy Rue's Nude Scene Again.....For Investigative Purposes, Of Course

This month’s “Trooper Award” goes to the lovely Betsy Rue who plays the busty blonde and slightly bimboesque, Irene. She’s so bubbly and sassy and wears really tight clothes. Even Helen Keller could see that Irene doesn’t make it to the end of the picture. But Ms. Rue gets a large helping of my respect because of her willingness to show her naked body for about 5 minutes in 3D. Yes, Ms. Rue helps to fulfill that other beloved staple of slasher flicks: gratuitous female nudity. And Ms. Rue shows about 90% percent of the female anatomy. I truly hope Ms. Rue got more than a complimentary DVD copy for her trouble.

The 3D technology is wonderful. And none of that partially third dimensional crud. MBV3D is completely 3D so once the glasses go on they stay on till the credits roll. Some might get really scared by the stuff flying at them but I was totally rocking it. Take the aftermath of Harry’s hospital frenzy. The camera pans over some of the victims as the cops take in all the carnage. A hand dangles in the foreground dripping with blood (whoa!) while a nurse lies on the gurney with her chest ripped open and her guts on public display (wicked!). The difference is that the 3D shot of her exposed chest cavity emphasizes the hump of the rib cage. I totally got the perception of the woman’s split chest. It was like I was with the cops looking down on the actual body (whoa! again). The most popular shots had people getting stabbed with a pickaxe, usually through the head, and always with the other end sticking out and into the viewer’s face (cool!).
 

Max Penner (3-D Stereographer) and Brian Pearson (Director of Photography)

While the plot wasn’t completely perfect (that “stuck in the cage” part still seems kinda illogical) it was a lot more thought out than I expected. I do wish the story had ended instead of leaving the gate open for a possible (and more mediocre) sequel. My Bloody Valentine 3-D is more than a traveling theme park attraction. While the 3D tech definitely enhances the effects there is a worthwhile story to follow and a decent cast of fresh meat, I mean, characters to care about.

I’m thrilled that 3D tech has evolved from the old red & green days and hope to see more films utilize the process. If they could just have an usher walk around every once and while to remind the audience to blink…. www.mybloodyvalentinein3d.com