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page created: 10/1/09



The Hell Plaza Oktoberfest

Hell Plaza Oktoberfest III
BEGINS...

Adam Jahnke - Main Page

For the past two years, as summer begins to fade into memory, there has come a knocking at my chamber door. I answer and there's Bill Hunt, a sinister grin playing on those unassuming Midwestern features. One quick swing of a sledgehammer later, I'm out cold on my own doorstep.

When I come to, I discover that I've been chained to the radiator and the only things within reach are a stack of DVDs, a remote and a hacksaw. A TV flickers to life with the image of one of the Hunt cats (Winnie, I think). Somehow they've managed to train her to wear a suit and ride a tricycle. The cat tells me to review... review or die.

As the Sea Captain once said, it wasn't long before this yearly custom became an annual tradition. And so, Dr. Jahnke rises again with another October full of bloodcurdling tales of horror and the macabre. Lock your doors, bolt your windows and scream for your lives! It's...


My Bloody Valentine 3D: 2-Disc Special Edition

My Bloody Valentine 3D: 2-Disc
Special Edition

2009 - Lionsgate
Released on DVD on May 19th, 2009
Also available on Blu-ray Disc


In the tradition of such classic movie three-quels as Friday the 13th Part III, Jaws 3-D and Amityville 3-D, it seems appropriate to kick off The Hell Plaza Oktoberfest III in three dimensions. Of course, this being 2009, we're also going to have to deal with the issue of remakes sooner or later, so we may as well kill two birds with one pickax.

Based on the 1981 Canadian slasher flick, My Bloody Valentine takes us to the small mining community of Harmony. Years ago, an accident trapped several miners deep underground.


There were no survivors except one: Harry Warden, who made damn sure that he'd be the sole survivor by killing everybody else. He lapses into a coma from which he awakens one year later, on Valentine's Day. He goes on a killing spree but is evidently killed by the town sheriff. Another ten years go by and the teenage survivors of Harry's rampage have grown up (which in movie terms means the actors grow facial hair and stop wearing baseball caps and tight clothes). Tom, the kid who inadvertently caused that original accident, has returned to Harmony after a ten year absence to sell his dad's mine. His ex-girlfriend, Sarah, has married Axel, the new sheriff. And the slaughter has picked up where it left off. Is Harry back or has somebody else gone bat-shit crazy and put on Harry's gas-mask?

First off, let me just say that while I am no fan of remakes, I don't look upon them as the seventh sign of the impending Movie Apocalypse, either. In the right hands, a remake can improve upon the original immeasurably (think Cronenberg's The Fly, for example). Yes, it's kind of ridiculous that seemingly every horror movie from the 70s and 80s has been or is in line to be remade. But can we not agree that there is room for improvement with a lot of these slice-and-dicers? If you want to get upset about something, try to figure out how something as crappy as Prom Night could be remade as something even crappier. Now that takes some doing.

I saw the original My Bloody Valentine on cable back in the 80s and my recollection is that it wasn't very good. The poster art was terrific and I remember it far more clearly than anything in the film itself. (Note that I have not seen the recently released uncut version of the film, which is by all accounts a significant improvement.) Patrick Lussier's remake is, at least in comparison to most other recent horror flicks, surprisingly enjoyable. It delivers everything you want to see from a movie like this: plentiful gore, gratuitous nudity and plenty of gotcha jump scares. Lussier has found pretty much every possible way you can kill somebody with a pickax and isn't afraid to show it. It's worth noting that this isn't an "Unrated, Uncut" edition. This is the R-rated theatrical version and it's every bit as gory as you'd want it to be.

The first disc of the set includes both the 3D and flat 2-D version on opposite sides of a flipper disc. You also get four sets of cardboard red-and-green glasses that pimp the upcoming Saw VI on the sides. The 3D effects works reasonably well, although home 3D is never going to take off until they find something better than the red-green anaglyph process. Yes, it works... kind of. The image is 3D with noticeable depth and objects comin' at ya. It's a gimmicky, goofy kind of 3D but that's just fine with me. If Robert Zemeckis and James Cameron want to explore the artistic possibilities of 3D, they can go nuts. But if I'm watching a 3D slasher flick, I expect to see eyeballs, blood geysers and sharp objects hurled directly at me and that's exactly what Lussier delivers. But the anaglyph process distorts the color to such an extent that the movie may as well be in black-and-white. My left eye is stronger than my right, so the entire film had a greenish tint for me. Presumably the 3D is even sharper on Blu-ray but the high-def image won't counteract the color problem.

As for bonus features, the two-disc set is a bit of a let-down. Deep Inside My Bloody Valentine completely fails to live up to that title. It's a standard piece of promo work with the young actors going on about how "different" these characters are from what you typically find in horror movies. Hey, whatever you have to tell yourself to justify taking the gig is fine by me. Sex, Blood & Screams is a bit more interesting, focusing on the makeup effects although it's not much different from any other FX piece you've seen. Amazingly, there is no discussion of the unique complexities of filming in 3D. Lussier and co-writer Todd Farmer touch on the subject ever so briefly in their rote commentary but that's about it. Other extras include a selection of unnecessary deleted and extended scenes that speak highly to Lussier's skill as an editor and a by-the-numbers gag reel.

My Bloody Valentine 3D will never be anybody's favorite horror movie and I'm willing to concede that my appreciation of it may have as much to do with low expectations as the film itself. Even so, I thought it was quite a bit of fun and was surprised that the home 3D worked as well as it did. It's an amusing, gory ride for you and no more than three of your closest friends.

Film Rating: B-
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B/B+/C-


Adam Jahnke
ajahnke@thedigitalbits.com


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