There are certain holidays that not everyone celebrates. From Kwanzaa to National Safe Sex day, the ignored holidays are common if not universally adored. Me? I've always had a soft spot for any Friday that falls on the fabled 10+3. What makes me celebrate this day? Superstition? Not really. I grew up at the tail end of the horror movie television craze, and by craze I refer to those old horror movie marathons that used to be on every channel come each Halloween. It was an excuse to stay up late, eat pizza, and absorb everything you could from a couple bad horror movies. I'm thinking I may have hit that bottle a few too many times as a child, if this website shows for anything. But I digress...
Sometimes, there is a holiday that you don't want to celebrate. The dread holiday I refer to is Valentine's Day. Yet Valentine's Day is a good way to illustrate our progress in understanding the opposite sex. At a very young age, we ignore the whole thing. I mean, kissing in movies is gross, and all girls have cooties, apparently a mysterious disease that, while undetectable, made you a girl-loving pariah. Teachers and parents soon sought to instill an appreciation of the holiday in the most inappropriate way possible. Each Valentine's Day every student would hand out these positively BIZARRE Valentine cards to every student, male or female. The crazy thing is how these particular cards were devotions of love expressed mainly through cartoon characters. Practically any childhood hero could tell that boy across the room your most secret desires. From Mario to Hulk Hogan to any Disney character, this was how most American kids like myself got introduced to Valentine's Day. A chipmunk in a leather jacket should not be an early influence on my romantic interests. Then again, that explains a lot. Of course later on (read: massive amounts of PUBERTY), anyone who had a significant other HAD (by law) to get a gift for them on Valentine's Day. Before I go too far into this little tangent, let me stop myself. Why the Hell am I ranting about these two seemingly unrelated Holidays? Because this year VALENTINE'S DAY FELL ON SATURDAY THE 14TH. That's correct: Friday the 13th was immediately followed by Valentine's Day. My response: A very bloody Valentine movie marathon. What did I learn this February? Let's have a look.
While my video place did not have "My Demon Lover" or "Saturday the 14th", I was still able to piece together a crash course in Romance with what was available. Our line-up: Friday the 13th part 6, My Bloody Valentine, Valentine, and Faust: Love of the Damned. That last one was the Opus of the holiday, and you'll understand when we get to it. Here's a hint: GIANT BREAST MONSTER. Wow. Don't let me get ahead of myself. First off:
Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives (1986)
Lesson 1: Love will keep you alive (never Sex, no matter how good).
This film was quite dramatic. In it, we see a number of couples and follow them through their trials and tribulations. Of course, all these seem to revolve around not getting stabbed by a zombie in a hockey mask, so as a romantic drama it seems to fall a little flat. Still, the only survivors are a young couple in love (who also happen to be the only members of the cast with reliable "run way" instincts). I can only surmise that it was Love that kept them alive (and not their slow moving friends whose slaughter bought them enough time to do something besides bleed). Somehow I noticed that mere sex would not replace the need for love. In fact, the couple who chose Sex over Love seemed to get attacked all that much quicker. While this film was not the highlight of the course, it was necessary reading, preparing us for a more specialized look at our topic.
Off-topic comment: The weirdest thing in this film were the lines that the local hillbilly sheriff kept belting out. "I'm not going to screw the Pooch" and "Make the Noise and hit the Cherries" both send icy shivers down my spine. For the loyal Death Toll fan, I was sad to notice that there were absolutely no "interesting" deaths in this film. Its a bit...repetitive. I've never been bored by death in a Jason movie before. It makes me wonder about the script writer talking to a producer:
Producer: So it says here Jason has the girl trapped in the elevator. Then...
Writer: Jason stabs her.
Producer: Ok...So what happens to the guy tied to the tractor?
Writer: Jason stabs him.
Producer: And the smart girl that's hiding in the garbage compactor?
Writer: Jason stabs her.
Our second film: Valentine (2001)
Lesson 2: Fat girls and Nerds need love too. (In fact, unless love is administered properly, both of these social subgroups will develop antisocial tendencies, in that killing other people is generally antisocial.)
This film is mostly about the repercussions of young romance at a junior-high school dance. Four young girls (including a fat girl nicknamed "Buffalo") shun a nerd, resulting in him getting his butt beaten by a handful of jocks. Years later, they all start getting threatening notes before a mysterious stranger starts killing them. Of course our "lesson in love" is derived from the film's ending. Buffalo (the fat girl) has grown up completely bitter about having so many skinny supermodel friends, so bitter that she has to kill them. The dumbest thing of this film is the fact that "Buffalo" is NOT FAT AT ALL. A great example of Hollywood's scary-ass body image, everyone in this film is hyper attractive and anorexic, even the girl that is supposed to be the FAT GIRL.
On a more positive note, this is the first film where I've seen a cross-dressing fetishist killed with an iron. This film was right along the right lines for the night's theme. Hell, it makes me wonder if that harelipped girl from the 9th grade is going to hunt me down. Any film that makes me think of "Bigfoot Nancy" is a winner in my book. But lets move on.
My Bloody Valentine (1981)
Lesson 3: Never celebrate Valentine's Day in a coal mine where there is a killer coal miner that hates Valentine's Day.
Ok. I'll admit the lesson learned here is a bit specific. With that out of the way, I'll also admit that this film hurt my class more than any other. Taking place in a mining town, full of nothing but coal miners, it's the story of a murderous coal miner who goes crazy and starts cutting out people's hearts with his pick ax. (You see it's clever because he's a coal miner hence making the pick ax clever....or, er, not really.) With a deep plot revolving around the mine owner's son not wanting to be a coal miner as well as wanting his old girlfriend back, "My Bloody Valentine" goes in the right direction by ignoring this plot entirely and focusing on random violence. I wonder if I should type the words "coal miner" just one more time for dramatic effect. Coal. Miner.
At this point in the night it was almost three in the morning. I had already subjected my class to almost 6 hours of B-squad horror. Faust: Love of the Damned did not exactly promise to be a memorable experience.
My god, how wrong I was. Say hello to Mr. Smooth.
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