FEBRUARY 19, 2009
If anyone needs proof that I have been extremely busy lately, I offer the date on this review as proof. Despite the fact that I have been demanding an uncut edition of My Bloody Valentine since I was 14 years old (I’m turning 29 next month, which means that’s more than half my life), I didn’t get around to watching the DVD - released over a month ago - until today. And that’s actually a lie; I didn’t even have time to watch the whole movie, just the deleted footage and the extras.
Luckily, Lionsgate saw fit to put all of the cut footage as a special feature (you can also, obviously, watch it cut back into the movie; the theatrical cut is also included for comparison’s sake I suppose). And each scene has an intro by one or two of a revolving group of folks, including director George Mihalka and special effects creators Thomas R. Burman and Ken Diaz. What’s interesting is that for years, it has been reported that nine minutes of footage had been cut from the film, but that doesn’t seem possible at all. Maybe nine minutes of scenes IN the movie had been affected, but otherwise, there’s just seemingly no way that there could be much more than the 2:30 worth of stuff that’s here. With the exception of the couple who got killed with the drill bit, every murder in the movie is seen here, and in some cases, even more excessive than I expected (the death of the bartender in particular goes on for like 30 seconds alone). So unless that drill scene, which apparently can not be found, was 7 minutes long, I think this represents a pretty damn near complete version of the film as originally intended.
The real shame is that the work here is among the most impressive of the era. The bartender and shower scenes rival anything from Friday the 13th or The Burning, and the others are above average as well. There’s also a sense of morbid humor that got removed along with the gore. Everyone knows about the water coming from the girl’s mouth in the shower impalement, but the old lady spinning around in the drier was an unexpected and hilarious surprise. There’s some unexpected harshness as well, when young Axel sees his dad being killed, we see the blood splash in his face. And then a few minutes later, we see exactly how he lost that arm in the finale. Awesome.
One bummer about this setup though - there is no play all function. It gets annoying to continually select each of the 10 scenes one by one, especially when each one ends with a little credits window. Plus, while it’s better than no context whatsoever, they replay way too much of the footage before (and sometimes after) the cut stuff. Do we really need to watch the entire 3 minutes of opening credits before the miner stabs that one broad in the heart? Wouldn’t 10 seconds be more than enough to place it?
LG could have just given us the footage and most folks would be happy (since, unlike say Friday the 13th, it has NEVER been seen, anywhere, and suffered far worse than Friday did, which only lost about 9 seconds), but there are a couple other extras as well. The better of the two is an “interactive timeline” of slasher movies. It’s just a bunch of text, but it’s written by “Going To Pieces” author Adam Rockoff, not some studio PR lackey. And within the text I discovered a Thanksgiving themed slasher movie (Home Sweet Home), which I instantly queued on Netflix. Eat it, Eli!
The other is a fascinatingly sloppy effort. It’s called “Bloodlust: My Bloody Valentine and The Rise Of The Slasher Film”, which would seemingly signal that it was a piece about MBV’s place in the pantheon of the slasher craze. But instead, it’s just a mishmash of like 9 different ideas. It starts off by taking us through slasher films, going back to Grand Guignol theater, but then it quickly just turns into a regular retrospective about MBV itself, with folks talking about where it was shot and how the mining equipment was real. Then without warning, it becomes an EPK for the remake! In the end, more than half of the 20 odd minute piece focuses on the new film, and within that, very little time is spent on even comparing it to the original. Instead, they talk about the 3D and Kerr Smith talks about how his character is cheating on his wife. But it gets odder. We then get the end credits for the featurette, BEFORE composer Paul Zaza talks about the theme song! It’s like a full 90 second section of the piece, so why it wasn’t edited in with the rest of the thing is beyond me. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an unfocused and slapdash piece of its type on a DVD.
Mihalka and others were obviously on hand for the DVD’s creation, so I am curious why they did not offer any commentary track (especially when Lionsgate puts in the commentary disclaimer at the top of the disc). But what’s there, half-assedly presented as it may be, is all worth a look, and again, the footage alone is worth the cost. In a sea of “Unrated!” DVDs that usually offer a minute of character stuff (which the director wanted removed anyway), it’s nice to see one with what fans actually wanted to see.
What say you?