The film's production was covered in depth by the Night Time Podcast in a series which included the director George Mihalka, the male lead Paul Kelman, and Nik and Captain (hosts of True Crime Garage).
While preparing my coverage of the film, I decided to seek out and revisit some of the many great outdoor locations used in this film. I did it both to challenge my ability to use google maps, and to see how much has changed since in the 36 years since My Bloody Valentine's release.
To locate the sets, I started by taking stills from the blu-ray version of the film of the various locations I hoped to find. I then clicked and dragged my way through the streets of Sydney Mines looking for similar features. For the hard to find spots I couldn't locate, I shared the stills to the "North side Caper Memories Facebook Group" where the locals were quick to point me in the right direction.
I present to you now the present day state of the various outdoor sets from My Bloody Valentine. A lot can change in 36 years.
Leaving the Hannigar Mine
As the crew of the Hannigar Mine wrap up for the day, they make their way towards The Union Hall to begin preparations for their fateful Valentine party. It is in this shot we see the "Welcome to Valentine Bluffs" sign. Of all the locations I've visited, this one had changed the least. The telephone poles are the same and if you look on the left side of the street it's almost identical.
Downtown Valentine Bluffs
As TJ, Axl and crew make their way to the union hall we get our first glance at beautiful downtown Sydney Mines...err Valentine Bluffs. The scene has changed quite a bit in the last 36 years; mainly the large red building on the far right and in the center have been torn down and replaced with nothing.
The Union Hall
After making their way through the beautifully decorated downtown core, our Valentine dance loving crew arrive to the Union Hall to help the ladies put the last few hearts on the wall needed to make this the best Valentine dance in 21 years. Aside from the new salmon colored siding and a fresh coat of paint on the house next door, there hasn't been a lot of change at the Union Hall.
Another View of Downtown Valentine Bluffs
At one point in the film we get a look at another downtown Valentine Bluff scene. As a statement to George Mihalka and crew's ingenuity, this is simply across the street from the prior downtown scene. Way to make the most of it! Even more so than the prior downtown shot, not much has changed here in my lifetime.
This building is the set of one of the more memorable and plot changing moments in My Bloody Valentine. It's when Mabel's body is found within one of her many clothes dryers that the mayor and police chief make the decision to forbid the Valentine's dance that was being planned.
In the years since the filming, the building has been re-purposed from a mixed use space to a purely residential building. Also, the large school in the foreground has been replaced with a more modern one.
The Spooky Church
After Sarah and TJ have their romantic walk on the waterfront, she makes her way through a dark neighborhood. In this sequence we see her walking in front of the former Immaculate Conception Church.
In the years since the filming, the Church has been closed and sold during the Antigonish Diocese mass asset sell off which was brought on by a need to raise funds to pay the multi million dollar settlement to victims of a priest's sexual abuse.
A Time Travel Mystery withing My Bloody Valentine???
During my time researching the locations and the film, I stumbled upon a bit of a mystery...
HOW DID PRESENT DAY PAUL KELMAN APPEAR IN THE FILM AND WHAT DID PAUL KELMAN FROM THE FUTURE TELL HIS YOUNGER SELF!!!