February 14th is fast approaching, and love is in the air…along with pickaxes and severed body parts! Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest holidays of the year, and horror movies are not left out of the festivities.
From Vengeful-Valentine-Slashers to Romances-From-Hell, the genre has it all- including some awesome promotional merchandise to warm your heart.
Pickaxes For My Blood Valentine
In 2009, killer miner Harry Warden made his long-awaited return in My Bloody Valentine 3D, a remake of the 1981 Canadian cult slasher. Directed by Scream editor Patrick Lussier and starring Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) and scream queen Jaime King (Silent Night, Mother’s Day), the remake was more or less the same as the original: A killer dressed in mining gear and wielding a pickaxe terrorizes a small mining town, taking out anyone associated with a tragedy from the town’s dark past. Naturally, that tragedy occurred on Valentine’s Day.
The marketing campaign promised a fun throwback slasher, and played up the date-night quality of horror movies. Trailers featured an audience of couples holding onto one another in fear as pickaxes and explosions burst out of the screen. While sadly no longer available, an app was released on the Apple App Store to encourage even more social interactions, allowing you to throw a digital pickaxe at pictures of your friends and loved ones.
Physical promotional items were relatively scarce (where were the bloody hearts in My Bloody Valentine-branded chocolate boxes?!), but a cool little keychain was released for promotional purposes. Shaped like Harry Warden’s iconic weapon and doubling as a bottle opener, it was perfect for a date night featuring a 3D ride to hell!
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Be Mine, Valentine….Or Else
The other iconic Valentine’s Day slasher, Valentine, came courtesy of director Jamie Blanks (Urban Legend) in 2001. The film was loosely based on a novel of the same name by Tom Savage, but only kept the basic idea of a Valentine prank gone wrong that comes back to haunt several women years later. Starring Marley Shelton, Denise Richards, and Katherine Heigl, the star-studded slasher was mostly ignored upon its release but has maintained a loyal fanbase and remains a fine stalk-and-slash movie in its own right.
As the characters find themselves stalked one-by-one by a cloaked killer wearing a creepy Cherub mask and carrying a variety of weapons, they’ll probably find themselves wishing they had this promotional bandage, featuring the all-appropriate tagline, “Love Hurts.” T-shirts and hats were also released to promote the movie, also featuring that sinister statement.
Hearts Will Bleed in High Tension
At first glance, High Tension doesn’t seem like it would have a romantic bone in its mangled, bloody body. This extreme shocker was directed by Alexandre Aja (Horns, Piranha 3D) and released in its native France as Haute Tension in 2003. It tells of two college roommates, Marie (Cécile de France) and Alex (Maïwenn), who travel to visit Alex’s family at their remote farmhouse. As soon as night falls, a disgruntled truck driver arrives and quickly slaughters almost everyone in the house before kidnapping Alex, leaving Marie to save her best friend. Before the night is over, long-buried truths will be uncovered, revealing a twisted love story hiding beneath the carnage.
Also released in the United Kingdom with the alternate title Switchblade Romance, the film was finally released stateside in 2005. Promotional material hinted at the romantic revelations, often with the same simple tagline that Valentine used: “Love Hurts.” Heart-shaped stickers and matchboxes (perfect for a romantic candlelit dinner after the slaughter) sealed the deal.
One other interesting piece of promotional merchandise is this keychain replica of the fence-post-wrapped-in-barbed-wire that is memorably used as an impromptu weapon in the movie. It serves as a simple reminder of that crucial second word in the tagline: yes, this may be a love story at heart, but it still hurts!
The Loved Ones Gets It’s Crown
Not content to let Mick Taylor (played by John Jarratt) of Wolf Creek dominate Australian horror, The Loved Ones burst onto the scene in 2009 with an instantly iconic villain in Lola Stone, played with terrifying glee by Robin McLeavy. When her crush Brent (Xavier Samuel) turns down her invitation to the school dance, Lola and her father kidnap him for a night of torture that makes the prom from Carrie look positively lovely in comparison.
The Loved Ones received critical acclaim for its successful mix of teen comedy and gruesome gore. Three years after its initial release, it was released in the United States and received some fun promotional merchandise fit for a queen – and her unwitting date!
Paper crowns, reminiscent of the ones that Lola makes for herself and her date, were sent to members of the press as a loving gesture. Also included in the care package was a blue ink pen, shaped like a syringe and with the movie’s logo printed on the side. Fans will recall a cringe-inducing scene where bleach is injected into Brent’s vocal chords to silence his screams before his real date begins. Whether Lola finds her prince or not, you can still feel like royalty with these collectibles.
Dying To Be With Mandy Lane
Sometimes the road to finding love is easy, and sometimes it’s long and fraught with uncertainty and financial woes. Such is the case with teen horror flick All The Boys Love Mandy Lane. The movie was directed by Jonathan Levine and stars Amber Heard as the titular character, a shy wallflower who blossoms over one fateful summer and is subsequently invited to a party at a rural ranch with the popular crowd. As the boys and girls pine over one another, someone else has their eyes set on Mandy and will do whatever is necessary to be with her.
Mandy Lane premiered in 2006 at the Toronto International Film Festival, and was originally slated for a wide release in the summer of 2007 in the United States. That never materialized, but it was released in overseas territories and widely available on DVD and Blu-Ray. Finally, after years of delays, it received a limited theatrical release before being released on DVD in the United States.
A pivotal scene in the movie occurs in the final act when Mandy goes to retrieve a first aid kit from the shed before finally coming face-to-face with the assailant who has murdered most of her peers. To accompany the movie’s DVD release, actual first aid kits printed with with the movie’s logo were sent to members of the press as a memento. It may have taken some time, but at least Mandy Lane finally received the release that fans had awaited for so long.
As always, thanks for checking out this latest batch of horror collectibles, and stay tuned for the next collection! If you collect any promo memorabilia for horror movies, share your stuff with us on Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook! It could be featured in a future Collector’s Crypt!