January 19th, 2009

MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3-D (2009) ****

My love of all things 3-D outweighs my contempt for the recent spate of horror remakes, so this three dimensional updating of the solidly entertaining 1981 slasher flick, My Bloody Valentine seemed like a good idea to me.  With most of the newer 3-D flicks being more or less aimed directly at kids (Bolt, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Fly Me to the Moon, etc.), it’s nice to see that Hollywood can still churn out a good old-fashioned 3-D horror flick. 

 

During the last big wave of 3-D movies back in ‘83, I saw just about every 3-D movie I could get my five year-old hands on.  I have fond memories of going to the theater to see Amityville 3-D (excellent 3-D flambéed Candy Clark effects), The Man Who Wasn’t There in 3-D, (wonderful scene where a 3-D naked lady made out with an invisible Steve Guttenberg), and Spacehunter:  Adventures in the Forbidden Zone.  (Although my most vivid memory of that flick wasn’t the effects, but the fact that the 3-D glasses were too big for my face so I kept pushing them up with my butter covered fingers, resulting in the glasses being totally caked with popcorn butter.  Consequently, the butter got in my eyes and blinded me for a good 90 minutes, rendering the 3-D effects pretty much useless.) 

 

But it was Jaws 3-D that was the crown jewel of all the 3-D movies I saw in the theater as a kid.  There’s a scene in the first few minutes of Jaws 3-D where Jaws eats a guy and his severed arm is gorgeously captured floating around in 3-D.  Seeing that arm floating mere inches in front of my five year-old eyes was one of the defining moments of my whole movie-going life.  That scene opened a door into my little movie-loving mind.  After that scene, I was changed forever.  Every time I see a wonderful gore scene, I pretty much revert to my five year-old state and love every bloody second of it.  In addition for giving me an appreciation for gore, Jaws 3-D was also responsible for my love of 3-D movies (I even saw Spy Kids 3-D in the theater for Christ’s sakes), as well as the soft spot I have in my heart for third installments of sagging franchises. 

 

Now the last good 3-D horror flick that came down the pike was Freddy’s Dead:  The Final Nightmare; but even then, only the last reel of the film was in 3-D (excuse me, “Freddy-Vision”), so a lot is riding on My Bloody Valentine 3-D.  For me, this is the first legit 3-D horror movie I’ve seen in the theater in 26 years (if you don’t count Captain Eo).  My expectations were high going into the theater.  I kept thinking, “Will this be the first great 3-D movie in nearly a quarter of a decade?”

 

Well, I am pleased to report that My Bloody Valentine 3-D is one of the best 3-D horror flicks ever made.  The plot is exactly the same as before.  A killer wearing a miner’s helmet and a gas mask runs around slaughtering people with a pick axe.  Except this time, it’s in 3-D.  Unfortunately, the film isn’t being shown in 3-D EVERYWHERE, and if you are seeing it in 2-D, you’re really missing out.  The 2-D version would still be an OK flick and probably rate about *** just on the basis of nudity and gore alone.  What nearly sinks the movie is that ALL of the characters act like complete idiots 100% of the time.  I can easily say that this is the dumbest set of horror victims IN THE HISTORY OF THE HORROR FILM.  All of them are cardboard cutouts and deserve to be pick axed to death. 

 

Yes, all of the characters are one-dimensional, but since the flick is in 3-D; none of this matters.  I’m perfectly willing to have one-dimensional characters in a three-dimensional movie, as long as tons of shit flies out of the screen and into my face.  The stupid, stupid people die real good, and the 3-D enhances the butchering process wonderfully. 

 

Since My Bloody Valentine 3-D is a gimmick movie, it should be judged solely on the gimmick itself.  The **** rating applies only to the 3-D effects, the 3-D gore, and the 3-D nudity.  I got to tell ya folks, the 3-D effects are stellar, the 3-D gore is literally eye-popping, and the 3-D nudity made my pants look like they were in 3-D.  The only complaint I had about the 3-D nudity was that the naked chick was only about a B-Cup.  I think the flick would’ve really benefited from an actress with a little larger rack; which would’ve really pushed the 3-D effects to the limits.  Imagine… 3-Double D! 

 

Still though, the nudity was awesome.  This chick, Betsy Rue didn’t wear a stitch of clothes throughout the entire scene.  What really made the scene memorable was the suspense.  And I don’t mean whether or not she was going to get killed either.  We all know she’s got a one-way ticket to the meat wagon.  I’m talking about the suspense of how long Betsy was going to remain naked.  When she starts rooting through her dresser, your heart will be in your throat because you’ll think she’s trying to find some underwear or something.  Uh-uh, she’s only looking for a gun.  Phew!  When Betsy opens up a closet, you’re on the edge of your seat because you’re thinking she’s going to grab a sweater.  Nope, she’s just trying to find a place to hide.  Man; that was a close one!  And director Patrick (Dracula 2000) Lussier keeps cranking up the suspense like that.  It’s an amazing scene.  Also, Betsy is impeccably landscaped; which I have to admit, I have mixed feelings about.  On one hand, it was a blessing because it left zero to the imagination; yet there was still a small part of me that really wanted to know what 70’s bush would look like in 3-D.  Oh well.

 

It’s sad, but I know that a lot of you out there won’t be seeing this flick in 3-D as God himself intended.  It seems that there are only about 800 or so theaters in the nation equipped with 3-D, which is a goddamned shame.  Since our local theater doesn’t have 3-D (although they will hopefully get it by the time Final Destination 4 in 3-D comes out this summer), I had to go an hour and a half out of my way to see the film in all it’s three-dimensional glory.  If you are unfortunate enough to only see the film in 2-D, here’s a rundown of the 3-D stuff you’ll miss:

 

  • 3-D Pick axes (multiple times).
  • 3-D Erupting eyeball.
  • 3-D Shovel (used Vanishing style).
  • 3-D Tom Atkins.
  • 3-D Exposed ribcage.
  • 3-D Pick axe to the head.
  • 3-D Spurting blood.
  • 3-D Boobs (four whole minutes of non-stop three-dimensional breastesses). 
  • 3-D Midget (probably some of the finest midget acting you’ll see all year).
  • 3-D Barroom brawl.
  • 3-D Mop.
  • 3-D Flashlight.
  • 3-D Shotgun.
  • 3-D Pistol.
  • 3-D Charred corpse.
  • 3-D Jawbone flinging.
  • 3-D Branch
  • 3-D Breaking glass.
  • 3-D Clothesline.
  • 3-D Hallmark Card.
  • 3-D Hallucinations.
  • 3-D Bullet.
  • 3-D Fireball.

In short, it’s 1983 and I’m five years old all over again.

 

The Video Vacuum salutes My Bloody Valentine 3-D for:

 

The Best 3-D Eyeball Popping Scene since Friday the 13th Part 3 in 3-D.  (Which, sadly I never got a chance to see in 3-D, but the new DVD that comes out next month IS in 3-D, so it’s all good.)

 

The Best 3-D Charred Corpse since Candy Clark got turned into a crispy critter in Amityville 3-D.

 

The Best 3-D Nude Scene since Michelle Bauer and Brinke Stevens took a 3-D shower in The Man who Wasn’t There in 3-D.

 

The Top Notch Dialogue:  “I’m the sheriff!  I’ve been working for the past 72 hours!  I don’t have time to go around playing psycho!”

 

I’m going on the record and saying that My Bloody Valentine 3-D is The Best Horror Remake since Dawn of the Dead, The Best Pick Axe Killer on the Loose Movie since The Hills Have Eyes 2 (the new one) as well as The Best Flick of the Year.  (Although to be fair, we’re less than three weeks into January and I’ve only seen one movie this year so far.)

MR. MIKE’S MONDO VIDEO (1979) *** ½

Michael O’Donoghue was the funniest of the original Saturday Night Live writers and his acerbic wit and random WTF-ness made his sketches stand out from the rest of the pack.  O’Donoghue also performed sporadically on the show (he even starred in the very first SNL sketch) and when he did, it was often hilarious.  O’Donoghue later adopted the moniker Mr. Mike and starred in a series bizarre sketches where he would tell “Least Loved Bedtime Stories” like “The Little Engine That Died”.  Mr. Mike became such a cultish figure on the vastly popular SNL that he was able to parlay his fame into this comedy special, which was intended to be a pilot for an SNL spin-off.  The network hated it and sold it off to New Line who released it to a handful of theaters, often inciting appalled theater patrons to demand their money back.  Now that Mr. Mike's Mondo Video is finally on DVD (thanks to the good people at Shout Factory), Mr. Mike is back in all of his glory.

 

The show is more or less a parody of Mondo movies (Mondo Cane in particular), with O’Donoghue narrating and/or introducing clips.  Some of the weird sights include cats who learn how to swim (and hang glide), a cult that worships Jack Lord, a training film for the government’s new top secret weapon called Laserbra 2000, Christmas on Other Planets, and Gig Young’s Groceries.  The best scene is when musical guest Sid Vicious sings “My Way”, but unfortunately the music publisher refused the rights to the song, so we get a crawl explaining why there’s no music.  (Oddly enough, the Vicious biopic Sid and Nancy features the song.)

 

There are lots of cameos by SNL folk like Dan Aykroyd (who is in two sketches and gets the most screen time), Bill Murray, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner and Laraine Newman, that make it fun for SNL fans, but there are also a lot of random cameos in there too.  Deborah Harry, Margot Kidder, Teri Garr and Carrie Fisher are in a hilarious bit called “Women Who Love Creeps”.  This segment is also responsible for the show’s best line:  “When I reach down and feel a firm colostomy bag, I know I’m with a real man!”  Not all of the sketches work (the “Dream Sequences” are especially weak), but for the most part, Mr. Mike’s Mondo Video is the purest hit of O’Donoghue humor you’re likely to get in this lifetime.  For that, it’s highly recommended.