The movie is unapologetically violent, knows exactly what it is -- and what its audience expects -- and delivers. This ain't no PG-13 horror flick (PG-13 is for pussies, demographic sweet spots be damned), and it ain't no presposterous "torture porn" snuff-film wannabe, ala Saw, either.
This is a man in a creepy-as-hell miner's suit (complete with spooky rebreather) with a pickaxe. And he's bringing a world of hurt to sleepy little Harmony.
I want to comment on four noteworthy things before I talk about my role in killing Tom Atkins: Gore, story, 3D and editing.
GORE: Valentine 3D's got it. There's gobs-o-gallons of blood gushing in this flick -- poor Jensen Ackles gets a faceful in the first 10 minutes -- and the death scenes are memorable and inventive. Villain Harry Warden is towering and iconic (definitely a 21st century "Jason" if you're into that sort of thing) and jeepers, the things he does with that pickaxe. I'm kinda scarred for life on the whole pickaxe thing now.
STORY: There's more than just blood pumping in this picture. The movie is smarter than its peers, and there are some delightful sparkles of dialogue and dark humor here. It's a lean and mean movie -- we don't waste much time deep sea diving into backstories of archetypal characters we already know so well -- and I partculalry enjoyed the Scream-esque "Who's the killer?" subplot. The ending is taut and well-conceived ... and be sure to stick around after the end credits. Not all may be what it seems.
3D, PART ONE: 3D's come a long way, baby. The 3D experience is rock-solid in Valentine 3D, and its filmmakers took great care to frame and shoot even the most pedestrian scenes (exposition, procedural stuff, etc.) with the technology in mind. There's always something "popping" on the screen, which Lussier and Co. deftly use for emotional and narrative impact.
3D, PART TWO: And while I admire Lussier's use of 3D in the obligitory "everyday" shots in Valentine 3D, he and cinematographer Brian Pearson get a standing ovation for its use in action and horror scenes. The pickaxe, blood and body parts fly. I physically reacted more than once -- "Oh shit!" *dodge* -- and cringed as the murderous mayhem soared my way.
EDITING: Lussier's direction is great stuff, and the actors are clearly having fun in Valentine 3D -- these are talented young people who came packing their A-games. But it's the film's editing that truly shines. Lussier, who has been Wes Craven's editor for the past 15 years, co-edited Valentine 3D, and his bloody fingerprints are all over it. The man is a master at both the "Boo!" scare, and the more terrifying slow burn tension scenes. Special props go out to composer Michael Wandmacher for a truly compelling score.
MY INVOLVEMENT: Okay, so now that I've gushed about the picture, what did I contribute to Valentine 3D? Months before principal photography, 7th Son fan Lussier asked me to take a peek at the script, and offer feedback. I did, pointing out some character stuff, digging the action and ending, and suggesting that there be more variation in the death scenes. I even pitched one.
Lussier kindly obliged ... and Tom Atkins took it in the jaw on my account. Go see the movie, and watch the angonizing horror that Lussier and Hutchins wrought upon the poor man. I gave a hoot during its blood-spattered punchline.
UPDATE: Check out what Atkins himself said when he read the death scene in the script: "I'm in for that! I want to do that!"
Also look for the name "HUTCHINS" on-screen during an interrogation scene between Harrigan (Ackle) and young Sheriff Palmer (smartly played by Kerr Smith). I also snag a "special thanks" mention in the end credits. That, friends, made my decade.
So whaddya waiting for? Don your miner's helmet, grab a pickaxe for protection, and check out My Bloody Valentine 3D!