13 Things You Didn’t Know About My Bloody Valentine
Article By: Tyler Doupe
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it’s almost time to pull out your copy of My Bloody Valentine and revisit the 1981 slasher classic for the 20th time. Most avid horror fans have seen this film enough times that they can recite most of the dialogue from memory but we keep going back to it year after year. There’s something about it that gives it a staying power not always seen in the countless other slasher pictures from its era. Though it wasn’t lauded at the time of its release and didn’t do insanely big box office numbers, My Bloody Valentine has still managed to develop a rabidly loyal cult following in the years since its release.
When it comes to trivia, there are certain things about the film that every horror fan is likely to know. But we’ve dug a little deeper and searched through old interviews, DVD commentaries, and more to bring you some slightly lesser known facts about the 1981 slasher film classic. With that said, we now present to you 13 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About My Bloody Valentine!
1. "My Bloody Valentine" is genre film auteur Quentin Tarantino’s favorite slasher.
When Tarantino was doing press for Death Proof, the director told EW that while he loves Halloween and all of the classics, over time, his favorite straight slasher film has become My Bloody Valentine. That’s pretty high praise.
2. To foster a sense of mystery, the killer’s true identity was kept a secret even from the cast.
However, Neil Affleck says that he had a pretty good idea that he was the killer when the makeup department fitted him for a prosthetic arm as the script did reveal that the killer’s would lose their arm in the finale.
3. Although most of the cut footage was restored for the LionsGate DVD release, some of it was lost forever.
Director George Mihalka has explained that while the footage was locked away in a storage unit, some of it was corroded so badly that it could not be salvaged. As such, there are some frames that have never seen the light of day and unfortunately never will.
4. Once upon a time, a sequel was proposed.
According to legend, the sequel would have been set in a theme park built over the mine where the original murders took place. The studio made the decision to pass on a follow up effort, thus why it never materialized. But the second installment planned to use some of the excised footage from the first film as flashbacks.
5. The film’s working title was "The Secret."
Interestingly, the title was always intended to be My Bloody Valentine but the producers did not want to publicize that for fear of another studio ripping off the idea and beating them to the punch. The lyrics to the song that play at the end of the film say, “and those still alive know the secret survives.” This is reportedly intended as a nod to the film’s working title.
6. Due to the accelerated timeline required to get the film out by Valentine’s Day, most of the film was shot in a real mine.
It’s typical to shoot interior shots on a sound stage, with only the exterior and location shots being done on location. However, director George Mihalka has said that My Bloody Valentine was shot almost entirely in a real mine in Nova Scotia, Canada because the set designers did not have nearly enough time to build a set that detailed.
7. Shooting in an actual mine at 2,700 feet underground proposed some significant challenges.
Some of the cast and crew experienced breathing problems from the lack of oxygen available at that depth. Others suffered from claustrophobia, which was exacerbated by the tight spaces they were shooting in. Moreover, the only lighting equipment they were able to use was safety lighting because of the potential for conventional lighting to cause an explosion when reacting to the methane in the mine.
8. Shooting in a mine made lunch breaks a major issue on set.
The cast and crew had to be sent up to ground an hour before lunch. It took an inordinately long time to ride the elevator from the pits of the mine up to ground level where craft service was located. As such, a one-hour lunch took a grand total of three hours!
9. The townsfolk of Cape Breton helped the production team decorate for the film
While the production designers created the decorations seen in the film, the good people of Cape Breton--where the film was lensed--helped the crew place the decorations around the city. Also, business owners gladly put them up on their storefronts.
10. Actor Tom Kovacs essentially disappeared off the face of the earth for 30 years after "My Bloody Valentine" was released.
Tom Kovacs did three films that saw release prior to MBV but left acting for nearly 30 years after the film’s release. Director George Mihalka once said that he believed Kovacs spent much of that time traveling Canada and playing the guitar. Kovacs reappeared on the scene again in 2010 when he made an appearance on the series Ghostly Encounters and has done a few television appearances since. Since his return to the entertainment industry, he has confirmed that he was, in fact, focusing on his music while he was away.
11. In the rec room fight scene between T.J. and Axel, Paul Kelman actually hit his head on one of the overhanging lights.
In a recent interview, Kelman admitted that was an improvisational accident. But since it worked with the scene, the cameras kept rolling and that made it into the completed version of the film.
12. Paul Kelman gained so much weight throughout the course of the shoot that an entire scene had to be reshot for continuity.
The scene where Happy is telling the origin story of Harry Warden was shot at the very end of the production but it occurs near the beginning of the film. Through the course of the shoot, Kelman has said that he gained about 20 pounds from all the beer they were drinking. While no one seemed to notice at the time the scene was shot, when the scene was edited into the picture, it was immediately obvious that Kelman had a protruding waistline. As such, the bar set had to be rebuilt and a reshoot was done, only taking shots of Kelman from above the waist, so as not to create an error in the film’s continuity.
13. Keith Knight, Alf Humphries, and Paul Kelman had all worked together prior to "My Bloody Valentine."
A few months before the trio came together to shoot MBV, they all worked together on a comedy called GAS. It is the story of stolen milk causing a spike in the cost of both dairy products and gasoline.