Release Date: February 11th, 1981
Directed by: George Mihalka
Written by: John Beaird, Stephen Miller
Music by: Paul Zaza
Cast: Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier, Neil Affleck, Don Francks, Cynthia Dale, Alf Humphreys, Keith Knight, Patricia Hamilton
Canadian Film Development Corporation (CFDC), Famous Players, Secret Films, Paramount Pictures, 90 Minutes, 93 Minutes (Director’s Cut)
“[reading a Valentine note] Roses are red, violets are blue, one is dead, and so are you.” – Mabel Osborne
This is a better slasher film than people give it credit for. I’ve heard it catch a lot of shit over the years but it has some sequences in it that are really good and the third act is cool and takes the slasher formula into a unique environment, as opposed to just the woods, a suburban neighborhood or a campus full of young people.
It obviously tried to tap into Halloween‘s success by taking place on another holiday but apart from that and it being a slasher flick, it’s still very much its own thing.
Most of the characters in this are actually likable and I thought it was a better cast than what we get with most films like it. I also liked that the cutest chick in the movie was with the mustachioed fat dude. But he had charisma and was usually the voice of reason within this group of twentysomethings.
The story takes place around a mining town and the slasher wears mining gear. The monster just has a cool look that I thought worked really well. Additionally, having the killer stalk his prey through the mines in the last third of the film was refreshing and neat.
Now the big reveal at the end wasn’t all that shocking but I really liked that the slasher survives and mocks the good people of the town, as he retreats into the darkness of the mine tunnels.
With that, this was left open for a sequel but unfortunately, we never got one. We would get a remake in 2009 but I’ve never actually watched it because it came out in an era where every ’80s horror flick was being remade with bad results. Maybe I’ll check it out and review it in the near future, though.
Anyway, this is a better than average slasher movie from the height of the era. It could’ve used more gore and brutality but it still plays well.
Also, the scene where the girl is stalked in the room with the miner uniforms dropping from the ceiling is one of my favorite slasher kill scenes of all-time. There’s something spooky, primal and terrifying about it that really makes it stand out.
Pairs well with: other slasher films from the late ’70s and early ’80s.