George Mihalka’s 1981 horror My Bloody Valentine, the low-budget cult slasher with the “There’s more than one way to lose your head” tagline, is infamous for having had nine minutes cut by the Motion Picture Association of America due to the amount of violence and gore. But quit your moaning – there’s still plenty of stomach-turning moments left in there for the horror hungry.
Synopsis? Welcome to the town of Valentine Bluffs. Following a methane gas explosion which has trapped five miners underground, sole survivor Harry Warden loses his mind and winds up in an institution, only to later escape in true vengeful maniac style, banning the town from ever holding a Valentine’s Day celebration again. What follows is the typically gory cocktail of teenage kicks, creepy locations and dismemberment. Lovely. Just don’t forgot to make room for that voodoo doll of your ex you prepared earlier.
My Bloody Valentine is available to stream on Amazon Prime.
My Bloody Valentine by George Mihalka, 1981
Saving a life is easy, anyone can do that, but saving a soul requires a whole lot more. So goes the logic of Maud, the titular character of Rose Glass’ extraordinary debut film, brought to life with a genuinely supernatural performance from Morfydd Clark.
Maud is a former nurse who, following a disastrous accident in the operating theatre, suffers from severe PTSD and psychotic episodes that erode her mental well-being. Preventing her from falling into the abyss is her steadfast belief in God, who she claims, occupies her mind and body, prompting spasms that resemble something between orgasm and seizure.
In her new job as a palliative care worker, Maud takes on a former ballerina who has terminal cancer. Her licentious behaviour and sneering remarks are at complete odds with Maud’s pious naivety, setting up a collision course that threatens to derail Maud from her path to recovery. With shots that embrace shadowy corners at every opportunity and a climactic scene that will leave you having second thoughts about going for that wee in the middle of the night, make sure you watch Saint Maud at the earliest opportunity.
Saint Maud is screening at cinemas now.
Saint Maud by Rose Glass, 2020
Next, a disturbed adolescent from a semi-functional upper-middle-class family who loses their shit, goes off the rails completely then narrowly avoids death only to be plagued by the voice of a six-feet tall bunny commanding them to do terrible things. That’s Richard Kelly’s 2001 classic Donnie Darko.
Jake Gyllenhaal’s moving and distinctly mind-bending journey through suburban America complete with the destructive knowledge of the secrets of the universe and the tempting power to alter time and destiny make this flick a firm cult favourite. Plus, an A* turn by HEROINE 13 star Jena Malone and a brilliant ending that ties things up with the messiest bow ever made.
Donnie Darko is streaming on Amazon Prime.
Donnie Darko by Richard Kelly, 2001
Top image: Saint Maud by Rose Glass, 2020