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Brandon’s Blu-ray Wishlist – VALENTINE’S DAY EDITION

Brandon's Blu-ray Wishlist VdayThis week’s entry of my wishlist is definitely inspired by tomorrow’s holiday.  And the film is also one I enjoy a lot more than most.  It’s got plenty of visible faults, but I don’t think the movie is as vile as some have made its reputation out to be.  If anything, it may be one that is benefited by looking at it years removed with maybe more forgiving or understanding eyes.  Today’s film bolsters the tremendous scores of 8% (Rotten Tomatoes), 4.6 (IMDB), 18 (Metacritic), made 9 million shy of its low budget at the box office and doesn’t even show up on the pull down when you type it in on the IMDB search bar.

Valentine-wishlist

Valentine (2001)

I’m talking about Jamie Blanks’ 2001 slasher film Valentine starring David Boreanez, Marley Shelton, Katherine Heigl, Jessica Capshaw and Denise Richards.  The film was kind of the final chapter in the Scream-inspired slasher revival of the 90s.  Though Jason and Michael Myers would return to multiplexes the following year, I was moreover referring to the original output of slasher films that resurrected horror’s popularity and relevance, pretty much saving the genre from becoming straight-to-video or the once every couple years adult prestige film (Silence Of The Lambs, Seven, Copycat, etc).  Fans like to spit on the period now, but don’t listen to them, they were eating it up, having fun and praising it back in the late 90s.

Jamie Blanks, the film’s director, had already been a part of one of the bigger titles in the slasher revival, Urban Legend (One I find to be a lot of fun despite its laughable killer reveal).  With Valentine, Blanks does a terrific job of directing a much more patient film that wants to build instead of titillate every 5-7 minutes.  There’s touches and homages to slashers of the past, but they are done in such an appreciative way that it stands as a part of Valentine itself and not a distraction that some might claim knockoff.  And the stuff done is only the things that a horror superfan would pick out (reference to little seen cult titles or just camera shots and movements).

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Of the post Scream slasher movies this one crazily was the only one to take up the Holiday-horror mantle in title and in theme.  I Know What You Did Last Summer took place on 4th of July, but really had more to do with a small town’s parade and celebrations than it did anything with the holiday itself.  The big known Valentine’s Day horror film (and an absolute fave of mine), My Bloody Valentine didn’t really have much to do with the holiday itself as it did focus on a dance that took place on the same day.  Valentine not only takes place on its namesake holiday with a killer sending disturbing Valentine cards to its prey, but its subject matter deals with 5 girlfriends looking to hook up or have that awesome date in preparation that special day.  We get new romances, rekindled ones, blind dates, stuff like speed dating and that old school “send someone a profile tape” match service depicting all types of dating in 2001.

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And the scares and excitement of dating also lends this film to have plenty of red herrings to scatter throughout.  Although, back in 2001, magazines and some other promotional tools ruined the killer’s identity in its blurbs about the film.  Luckily, I saw none of this before seeing it.  But, I was shocked back in 2001 when I had seen it in the theater and was telling my sister about it and she knew who the killer was without seeing it.  When I asked how she knew that she showed me one of her magazines (the ones that boasted JTT or Hanson constantly) to show me this little blurb with a picture of the performer who played the killed saying that they were killing Marley Shelton and her group of friends on Valentine’s Day.  Why the heck would they do that? So dumb.

The killer’s attire in the film is the strongest of the Scream slashers and is one that eschues a really creepy appearance.  It’s a very Michael Myers-esque cherub mask that shares that same “less is scarier” motif.  Its also notable, that its an actual mask unlike most of the slashers in the late 90s that mostly consisted of coats and hoods.  The nose bleeding through it could have become somewhat of iconic imagery if this film had been somewhat of a hit and maybe got a sequel.  If there’s one thing I think most can agree on from this film is that the killer’s getup is definitely top notch and really would have been worth another outing.

Valentine 2

One thing that probably doesn’t bode well with a lot of the horror and slasher fans is that this movie is much more focused on character development than it is with “boo, Imma kill you right now” type pacing.  There’s a lot of this film devoted to characters conversing and relationships really expanded upon and given some depth.  There are a lot of horror movies that just slap some current hip stereotypes together with a “normal girl” and call them friends.  In Valentine, you actually get a group of women who you have no problem questioning their friendship or the fact that they have been friends for so many years.  Also it helps assist relationship with the secondary characters as we get so much of who these girls are in respect to their past and friendship with each other that their other relationships begin to make a lot of sense too.  Don’t get me wrong, this film is not a masterpiece or even the greatest slasher ever, it just attempts and does more with its characters than a lot of them.

Valentine 1

I hope I’ve not overhyped or sold the film, just merely defended it, showed some appreciation for what it is and just said “it’s better than what it was given credit for”.  Plus, how can you not love a movie that bumps off Katherine Heigl first and within the opening 10 minutes?  The kills in the movie are also pretty solid.  It’s also of that rare slasher breed that doesn’t focus on high school or college kids, but on 20 something adults.  And if you’re able to recognize that angle, the fact that its slower paced and more character focused is a lot more fitting of the characters its story is more telling than anything.  Valentine is a Warner Bros title, so who knows if it will ever get to step up to the plate, as they’d rather likely repackage the same exact discs of The Exorcist a few more times before getting to this.  It’s only been released on DVD once and it was back when WB was using those cardboard cases.  Plenty of smaller companies (Scream Factory, Synapse Films, Blue Underground) sitting in the wings would probably jump at the opportunity to sublicense and put this film out with a lovely special edition, but from what I hear Warner is too proud to let someone touch a title they aren’t planning on releasing in the first place.  Even bare bones, this “end of an era” slasher films deserves to grace our Blu-ray collections.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

7 Responses to “Brandon’s Blu-ray Wishlist – VALENTINE’S DAY EDITION”


  1. Brian White

    Wow! I gotta say I love this post MORE so than last weeks! And perfect timing with it too! Did you plan that or was that just a coincidence? 😉

    I remember this film! I remember renting it from Blockbuster! Nothing I would buy Day 1 but at a $7 bargain price on Blu I would to have it!

    Make it happen Scream!!! You reading this TC? Use the force and your influence. Would love to see this as one of their titles!

  2. Brian White

    P.S. I think I really like Katherine with the red hair. This makes me also want to watch KISS THE GIRLS. Another great film IMO that’s not on Blu-ray. Hint…Hint…

  3. Brian White

    Oh and PSS…I just got the color scheme in your lead in picture. That’s the holiday spirit B! Next year we need to make a Valentines PINK banner for the site!

  4. Brandon Peters

    This one was on the docket all along, it just got bumped up in the schedule due to Holiday relevance. I still have my crappy cardboard case release.

  5. Brian White

    I remember those cases with the black latch on the right side. LOL

  6. Gerard Iribe

    I liked Valentine.

  7. Aaron Neuwirth

    Definitely a movie that came out once 😉