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Monday, February 18, 2013

BLOOD: Reflections on 'My Bloody Valentine' '81

by Bowie Ibarra

Rue Morgue special edition provided for
guests, courtesy 'Bloodthirsty Thursday,
'My Bloody Valentine' (1981) is a really underrated classic.  The legend of Harry Warden and the gas-masked specter that his image became should be counted among the greatest cinema slasher standards.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the classic tale, Harry Warden was a survivor of a mine shaft gas explosion during a citywide Valentine's Day celebration.  The blast was caused by supervisor's leaving early to go to the dance and not checking the gas leve'ls.  Harry survived the blast and subsequent burial by eating the flesh of his dead comrades.  He was committed for insanity.

I'm not going to give away the story, because if you like bloody horror movies, then you need to seek it out and watch it.  It's worth the search.

I was fortunate enough to catch a screening of the uncut version at Alamo Drafthouse Westlake in San Antonio, Texas.  They have a monthly program called 'Bloodthirsty Thursday' that features some classic horror movies from days gone by.  The originator of the program, Kelly Warren Hammond, is a true gorehound and lover of the genre.

Truth be told, I watched this movie when I was way too young on cable TV many years back.  I was probably 8, and I shouldn't have been watching this movie at all.  I remember the woman who was put in the dryer the most, and the finish, with the killer going insane and losing his arm through an avalanche, but escaping.  I also remember the bizarre folk song about Harry Warden at the end.

Watching the movie again after so many years brought back memories.  Moments in the movie long forgotten seemed so familiar as the horrific images and story opened pages of my mind long closed.  It was amazing.

And the uncut version was gruesome as well.  You could tell when the additions appeared as they were unfinished and refined, yet provided that extra gruesome touch that I recognized as new.

And the servers got in on the fun as well.  My receipt had one of Harry Warden's poems on it:  Roses are Red/Violets are Blue/One is Dead/Next is You!

If you can find this bloody classic, watch it.  Better yet, add it to your library.  And if you can ever attend a screening of Bloodthirsty Thursday in San Antonio, do it.  It's always a great time.


BOWIE IBARRA is the author of the 'Down the Road' zombie horror series from Permuted Press and Simon and Schuster.  His 80s themed horror novel, 'Big Cat', is a story of the power of friendship set against a countryside under bloody siege by a mysterious big cat.  It is available for purchase here.

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You can network with Bowie and explore his other titles at his personal website,

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