My Bloody Valentine (1981)
A decades-old folk tale surrounding a deranged murderer killing those who celebrate Valentine's Day turns out to be true to legend when a group defies the killer's order and people start turning up dead.
Valentine's Day is coming around and the young people of the small mining town of Valentine's BLuffs are organising a party. A few decades earlier an explosion at the mine trapped six miners underground. One, Harry Warden, survived, though in a deranged state. Warden is sent to a mental hospital but escapes and murders those he deems responsible for the mine accident. Now people are being brutally murdered again, and the townsfolk suspect that it is the work of Harry Warden.
There's a big valentine-party planned in the little coal mining town of Valentine Bluffs, Nova Scotia. It is the first Valentine's Day party in 20 years, because then there was an accident in the mine, and the accident happened because the men responsible for the security was at the party. The sole surviving miner, named Harry Warden, later killed them, and told the town NEVER to arrange a Valentine's Day party again. The party begins, and so does the killing...
On Valentine's Day 20 years before, an explosion of methane gas took the lives of a group of coal miners working in the Hanniger Mine near the small Nova Socia town of Valentine Bluffs. The accident occurred because supervisors left their posts to attend the annual Valentine's Day dance. A year afterward, Harry Warden - the only survivor of the accident - retaliated by killing the two supervisors, and leaving a terrifying warning never to hold another Valentine's Day dance. Now, a group of young adults decides to hold another dance, despite warnings. When a blood-soaked heart arrives at the police station, accompanied by an ominous message, the dance is canceled. But a Valentine party is held in its place... at the coal mine, and it isn't long before the town's young people begin dying violently. It appears Harry Warden has returned to punish those who did not heed his warning...
- Two miners in full gear, including face masks, are seen going down into a deep mine shaft, each carrying a pick axe. They reach an alcove and one of the figures takes off the mask, revealing that she is a young woman. She removes part of her uniform and stands in a state of half-undress in front of the other figure, presumably a man, who does not remove the breathing mask that covers his head. The man sticks his pick axe in the wall beside her as she does a strip tease, fondling the man's mask and breathing tubes in a sexual manner. Finally, the man suddenly grabs her and violently slams her against the pick axe, the blade impaling her through her chest.
The small town of Valentine's Bluff is seen preparing for a Valentine's day dance. The town is home to a coal mine where many of the local men work, both young and old. Hanniger, the town Mayor, discusses the Valentine's Day dance with a woman named Mabel Osborne, who runs a laundromat. Hanniger makes a vague reference to a past tragedy associated with Valentine's Day, and we learn that this is the first Valentine's dance to be held in decades. 20 years prior, a mining accident trapped five men underneath the ground. The accident was due to the negligence of two supervisors who were anxious to get to the Valentine's dance, having left their posts while the men were still below - and having failed to check for dangerous levels of methane gas. Of the five men who were trapped in the explosion, four of them died. A survivor named Harry Warden was rescued, found in a state of mental collapse; the rescue took so long that Harry had resorted to cannibalism to survive, eating the bodies of his dead coworkers. Harry took revenge on the two supervisors, attacking them with a pick axe and tearing out their hearts, leaving them in decorative Valentine boxes and warning the town to never hold another Valentine's dance.
The warning had been heeded until now, and the town tries to put the past behind it by having another dance. The younger people of the town are excited about it. Three of these young people are involved in a love triangle: T.J. Hanniger, the Mayor's son, has recently returned from an unexpected departure where he tried to leave Valentine's Bluff behind, including his girlfriend Sarah. In the meantime, Sarah has begun a relationship with T.J.'s friend Axel. Sarah still has feelings for T.J., infuriating Axel and causing tension between the two men.
Meanwhile, Mayor Hanniger and the town's chief of police, Jake Newby, get an anonymous box of Valentine's chocolates, and when they open it, it contains a human heart, presumably that of the young woman at the beginning of the film. A note warns against having another Valentine's day dance.
That evening, Mabel is also attacked by the killer, still dressed in the mining gear. He corners her in the laundromat and murders her with the pick axe. The next morning, Jake finds her body stuffed inside one of the dryers, her heart ripped out and her skin scorched from the heat. Newby tries to hush up the incident in the hopes of avoiding a panic, releasing information that Mabel died of a heart attack. Newby phones the mental institution where Harry Warden was incarcerated, but there is no trace of him there; his records are lost and his contact cannot tell Newby where Harry is or whatever became of him. Newby and Hanniger fear that Harry Warden has come back to continue his killing spree, and their worst fears seem to be confirmed when the coroner tells them the heart in the box was indeed a human heart - of a woman, approximately 30 years old.
With the death of Mabel, the dance is cancelled. T.J. and his group of friends gather at the local bar, where they hear stories from the bartender about Harry Warden and his rampage. They scoff at him, angering the bartender Happy, who overhears them planning on holding their own party at the mine after hours. When they leave, the bartender rushes out to the mine ahead of them and sets up a gag dummy with a pickaxe to scare them. But the real killer lunges at him and murders him, driving the pick axe into his head.
The following night, when the large group of young revelers arrives at the mine, T.J. and Axel come to blows over their rivalry. A young man, named Dave, is murdered in the kitchen, drowned and scalded in a pot of boiling water by the killer. The killer cuts out his heart and throws it in the boiling water, where it cooks alongside a large batch of beef franks. One of the girls finds it later, thinking it to be a gag, and Dave's body initially goes unnoticed in the freezer of the kitchen. Chief Newby also gets a hint of trouble when another candy box, apparently containing a blood-soaked heart, arrives at the police building with a menacing note - 'You didn't stop the party!'. The chief, unaware of the party at Hanniger mine, can only ask, 'What damn party?'.
A young couple named John and Sylvia are making out in the shower area of the mine facility. When John leaves to go get beer, Sylvia is attacked by the miner, who first traps her by dropping miners' coveralls from the ceiling, then ambushes her and viciously impales her head on a shower nozzle. John returns to find the killer gone and Sylvia hanging impaled from the shower nozzle.
One of the miners, Hollis allows some of the others to convince him to take them down into the mine. He heads down there with his girlfriend Patty, Sarah, Howard, and another couple, Michael and Harriet. After they descend into the mine, the bodies of Sylvia and Dave are discovered. Gretchen, Howard's love interest, finds Dave dead in the freezer, and then John runs in telling everyone about Sylvia's murder. Axel warns that Harry Warden is probably responsible and is prowling the premises, and the party disperses in a panic. T.J. and Axel find out that the others went down into the mine, and they take an elevator down to warn them and lead them to safety. While down there, Michael and Harriet go off into the engine room to make love, and the killer impales them with a large drill bit. Hollis discovers the bodies and is attacked by the miner, who uses a nail gun to drive two large nails into his head. Patty and Sarah discover him and they catch a glimpse of the miner, who disappears into a tunnel. Howard runs off in a panic, leaving Patty and Sarah alone.
Axel and T.J. appear shortly thereafter and try to lead the two girls to safety, but the control panel to the mining cart has been tampered with. The elevator has been similarly disabled, so they climb up the service ladder. Halfway up, they are startled when Howard's body drops from somewhere above them; a rope around his neck decapitates him, spraying blood all over Patty and Sarah. Thinking Harry Warden is now above them on the ladder, they retreat. While rounding a bend in the mine shaft, T.J., Sarah and Patty hear Axel scream behind them. When they go back, it seems as if Axel has fallen into a well; his mining helmet with the light on it sinks down into the abyss, which T.J. says is too deep to traverse. T.J. says Axel is surely lost, and they continue.
Above ground, Newby has learned of "Harry Warden" reappearing at the mine when he pulls over a car for speeing where three of the partygoers, Tommy, John, and Gretchen tell him about the two murders. Newby rushes off to the mine with support to rescue the survivors.
In the mine, the killer steps out from a doorway and kills Patty with a blow to the stomach from his pick axe. Sarah and T.J. fend him off in a series of confrontations and chases, until they face off with him inside a small alcove that leads to some kind of abandoned tunnel. The fight destroys the outdated wooden supports, and the tunnel begins to collapse. The miner's pickaxe gets caught in a support beam, and he draws a hunting knife. As the miner threatens T.J. with it, the killer is then revealed to be Axel. T.J. and Sarah are stunned, and a flashback reveals Axel as a very young boy--the son of one of the supervisors murdered by Harry Warden. Axel was in the room and saw his father's violent death while hiding underneath the bed. The shock apparently snapped his mind, leaving him unstable, his potential for violence unleashed by the recurrence of the Valentine's dance.
The entrance to the old tunnel collapses, trapping Axel underneath a great deal of debris, apparently killing him. Newby and the police arrive as T.J. and Sarah start to walk away, but Axel screams; Sarah, who is still emotionally attached to Axel, rushes back to see him. Only his arm is visible, and she holds his hand, but it pulls away from the rubble; on the other side, Axel has amputated his own arm with a knife to free himself from the cave-in. Through a hole in the debris, the others can see him as he stumbles backwards toward the abandoned tunnel, babbling aloud about Harry Warden and threatening to return. As the one-armed Axel runs off to find another way out of the mine, he says: "Sarah, be my bloody Valentine...!"