EXCL: George Mihalka Talks My Bloody Valentine Uncut

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What is still missing and why?

A few weeks shy of its 28th birthday, the original My Bloody Valentine has been re-issued in a Lionsgate DVD boasting footage axed by the persnickety MPAA. And while the road to this new cut has been detailed in our exclusive interview with disc producer Peter Ventrella here, ShockTillYouDrop.com turned to the film’s director, George Mihalka, a Canadian resident hailing from Hungary, to comment on this gussied up version of his slasher offering.

In a single word, Mihalka sums up his take on the DVD with “relieved.” “We died the death of a thousand cuts on this,” he says. “Everyone knows how it got truncated by the MPAA.” Before Valentine‘s release in February of 1981, Mihalka was forced by the censors to begin whittling away at the violence inflicted by the film’s mad miner who was savvy with his pick-axe and other killing devices. Mihalka says the process of making a 4-second trim, for example, would mean having to shuffle around shots so scenes could still retain their significance. It’s a chain effect Mihalka would face repeatedly. “They asked to cut even one frame. That’s 1/24th of a second. We basically spent two and a half weeks working around the clock pulling frames and fixing the mix. At the same time we had to cut the negative. Every decision had to be final. You could cut, but you couldn’t put anything back in. It was quite the challenge.”

He believes the MPAA’s reaction was a testament to the effects work of Ken Diaz and Thomas Burman who each strived to introduce on-screen kills with a level of reality no one had ever seen before. Mihalka also attributes the MPAA’s alarm to the creative sound mix. “At one point they asked us to take one more frame out and we told them there are no more frames left there! It’s just the sound that’s making you feel that way. Now [with this DVD] we have it back to 80% of the image back and 95% of the impact back.”

Fans may balk that the new disc is not definitively uncut as it still lacks a few oft-rumored shots. Sadly, those choice bits have indeed been declared MIA. Mihalka discovered this when he was asked to do a director’s cut roughly six years ago. “We went through the vaults and found out all of that negative has corroded or disappeared.” What the DVD, furthermore the new print of the film, contains is the remaining salvaged footage found in producer John Dunning’s storage space.

“There was a scene with the two kids in the mine and they’re joined together forever,” Mihalka chuckles citing one still excised sequence. “There was a whole set up scene to that. They’re just necking and Tom’s lying on top of [Harriet] and the miner comes in and puts the [drill bit] through him. She’s got her eyes closed and thinks he’s just being a little frisky. She opens her mouth and her eyes just as he bleeds into her mouth. Then the miner goes whoomp! And [skewers] them both . That scene had to be taken out totally. It has disappeared and we’ll never see it.”

Mihalka admits he hasn’t seen the remake yet, but hopes to remedy that soon. “I’ll be in the theater with my bucket of popcorn,” he says adding he was not approach to direct. “I think they wanted to do a take that wasn’t tainted by emotion or nostalgia. I understand why and I wish them the best of luck.” As for the future, he tells us he’s got a new series on the way that should be making its web premiere soon. “It’s more of a thriller. Clerks meets Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels by way of Pulp Fiction and Rock ‘n Rolla. It’s got some crazy wild moments in it.” He also has a comedy in the works starring Martha MacIsaac (The Last House on the Left). “It’s about faith, religion and fraud.”

As for a return to horror, Mihalka says there are no projects on the table but he’d love to get back into the genre. For now, he’s happy existing aficionados can appreciate, and new generation can discover, My Bloody Valentine uncut. “It’s a credit to the fans who kept this alive for so long that we’ve gotten to the point where we can get this version out.”

Source: Ryan Rotten, Managing Editor

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Weekend: Nov. 22, 2018, Nov. 25, 2018

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