Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Hanniger Mine Massacre: Prequel to My Bloody Valentine (with Guest Appearance by Leslie Vernon)

Today we're going to talk about My Bloody Valentine. Not the remake and not the George Mihalka classic from 1981 straight outta Canada. It's Valentine's Day which happens every year. Every year we gather around a gas mask and pickaxe and sing the "Ballad of Harry Warden" and some of us tear up and others exchange token boxes of chocolate and understand love or pretend we understand love or understand the bitter sweet cocoa bean that surrounds gorgeous layers of truffle madness. Horror fans celebrate Valentine's Day just like any other Hallmark holiday... with a horror movie, and few if any compare for Cupid's last stand than that of My Bloody Valentine for mid-February cheer.

We all the know the story of the murderous miner as told in My Bloody Valentine. A town is tortured and stalked on Valentine's Day by an insane ex-miner who had been trapped during a collapse, forced to eat his co-miners and now exacts a murderous revenge using a pickaxe especially on a group of kids that venture into the mine, Harry's mine,  trying to get porked and drunk. Valentine Bluffs is the name of the town which is more the appropriate, obvious and pure 80's cheese. The mine, Hanniger Mine. The miner, Harry fucking Warden. Same basic premise in the 3-D remake only the whole thing jumps right off the screen, looks more real than real life in brilliant hi-def and remains a popular remake of the genre. We know the story of what happened AFTER the Hanniger Mine collapse and vengeful rampage of one well dressed digger, but what happened before the bloody valentine? That's what we're we are here to find out today.

Ladies and germs let's talk about...

HANNIGER MINE MASSACRE: The Rise of Harry Warden
(poster and concept by Frank Browning. Synopsis by Dr. Jimmy).

Tagline: Before the Valentine was Bloody there was Harry

Harry Warden is a hard working man, trying to save up to get out Valentine Bluffs. He's not a miner at heart. He has eyes on engineering projects and innovations to create an environment that assists his fellow miners. He comes from a family of miners, each has died of black lung or suffered tremendous respiratory distress their entire lives. It's common place to go down into the mines without a respirator, no airway protection. Harry sees this as his one great contribution to the community and to his friends and what remains of his family.

Warden has keeps sharp while he saves for junior college by taking books out of the libraries and researches safety precautions taken by the U.S. Army during the first World War to protect against mustard gas attacks. He creates a mock up of a gas mask which assists him breathing while providing a small steroidal vaporized gas that expands and strengthens the lungs of damaged miners. His love interest, Sarah Hanniger, is intrigued by his work and continuously tries to persuade her uncle, a prominent safety inspector within the mining community to pay attention to Harry's research. Harry's research also leads to the strange discovery of cannibalism during the the first World War as well as barbaric weaponry and methods of torture as well as war crimes perpetrated during the war.

Sarah means the world to Harry and he pursues her vehemently though the opportunity never seems to present itself for time enough alone to have a true heart to heart moment. Harry finally asks Sarah to the Valentine's Day dance to which she accepts. While he can't get off work, Harry tells Sarah that he will meet her at the dance and not to wait for him, but gives her a corsage with a miniature pickaxe, union pendant handed down from generations of miners in Harry's family to show his commitment to her (think of this as pinning in fraternity speak).

While Harry is at work, Sarah's uncle, stops by to pay Harry a visit. His intention is to rough up Harry, to deter him from pursuing his niece who is the love interest of one of the supervisors of the mine. When Harry rejects his ultimatum to leave Sarah alone or pay dearly, Sarah's uncle roughs up Harry, knocking him around and ultimately activating a drill which sparks, igniting the high level of methane gas that had accumulated in the supervisors absence, triggering a partial collapse of the cave. Normally this would only be a moderate inconvenience, the supervisors have left to go to the dance for the evening, one of which is hell bent on separating Sarah from her pants and Harry (the Uncle having set the distraction in motion to prevent Harrys' appearance). Several other miners are trapped far below ground along with Harry and Sarah's Uncle. Sarah's Uncle remains unconscious. Harry comes to and screams for help repeatedly but his cries are not heard. No one will be around for at least four days, but potentially longer due to a pending strike in forced by local union reps (also not a fan of Harry's).

While Harry is below ground the supervisor makes his move on Sarah which is soundly rejected. He sexually assaults her viciously with the help of his co-supervisor and leaves her with a chocolates smeared across her face, left near dead.

Days pass. Harry tries to climb out of the mine with no success, snapping a cable and unable to climb out of the blocked shaft. The other miners in the cave are badly injured, bleeding and fading fast. Harry, starving, begins to consider his options about what he must do to survive. The union strike has been going on for some time and while the men would normally be missed, they are assumed to be on the picket line. No one is coming for the miners below ground. Harry licks the blood from a dead miner's face and begins removing bits of flesh with his teeth. He's starving. He begins to feed.

When Sarah's uncle regains consciousness he sees that Harry has gone full cannibal. Sarah's uncle sparks Harrys' anger with a few choice class-ist words of hate and Harry rips his face off with his teeth, devouring him piece by piece and gorging until he vomits, the eating him again. By now he realizes that the supervisor has been holding onto mine shaft duct maps that show how one might escape their perceived tomb. Angered and free, Harry begins to realize what has been going on while he was underground for the protracted stay. He can't bear to show his face so he puts on the gas mask with steroid inhaler and begins plotting his revenge. Young Harry's  mind has completely snapped, especially when he finds Sarah in the hospital, near death, refusing to acknowledge his presence except to recant the horror of her rape before shutting down.

While Harry recuperates, he begins to stalk the men he deems responsible for the loss of his love (who eventually dies of her injuries sustained during the rape). Harry finds both supervisor's individually and has his revenge, castrating one with his pickaxe and lighting the other one up with a coal fire. He removes both of their hearts, places them in candy boxes and sends them to town Mayor who had appointed both individuals to their posts and whom covered up Sarah's rape and murder. The Mayor in turn has Harry committed but just before Harry is captured he comes for the Mayor ultimately failing to kill him. He warns the Mayor not to have anymore Valentine's Day dances or he will exact cruel revenge on the town. The Mayor laughs this off. Harry is locked up in asylum.

The film closes with a zoom in on Harry's face which has grown longer, more like the mask he wore during the killings and the echo of the sound of gas mask breathing echos in the background as the image of gas mask is imposed over his face as he sits with a strait jacket in a padded room.


While this is all well and good and obviously this is the kind of revisionist drivel that horror fans probably hate unless they love it to cult status following, there is one other story that is worth mentioning though we don't want to spoil it for you by giving away plot points. After My Bloody Valentine ends there is one more tales of Harry Warden that warrants being told. It is a battle of the maniac who could not know love because it was stolen from him versus the quintessential slasher killer who's intellect is uncanny and who has sought out Harry Warden as he has sought out some of the other great slasher killers of our generation in order to first study him and then, kill him so as to take in a part of him.

First he rose. Then he returned. Paradise lost? Mined it!

 Romance may be dead and Valentine's Day may never be the same, but that goes for every day after as well. 


 Jason, Freddy, Myers and now... Harry... we all need somebody to look up to.

Hope you enjoyed our faux movie creations. Please take the time to enjoy "The Ballad of Harry Warden" as you make you're way out of the theater. Happy Valentine's Day.


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