So today's the day. Love is in the air and all that, but there's no reason blood, sinew and fear can't be in the air too, right? The horror genre is full of offbeat romances, love stories on the darker side of the spectrum and today's the perfect day to share them.
14. Jenifer (2006)
Jenifer succeeds as Argento's most romantic movie, despite star and writer Steven Weber describing its moral as "men will fuck anything as long as it has nice tits." Jenifer has a great body, but a monstrous face, and a taste for human flesh. No one should want to look after her, especially if it drives their whole family away and they lose everything because of her. But... dem tits.
13. Nekromantik (1987)
It's a strong love story in its own quirky, disgusting way. Basically, guy works on the roadside cleaning crew and brings back pieces left over from car accidents to his girlfriend. One day he finds a whole corpse. He brings it home and they have a threesome with it. It turns out to be better in bed than he is, so she leaves him for the rotting corpse, he gets mad, goes on a killing spree and stabs himself in the gut to kill himself while vigorously masturbating. See? Beautiful.
12. Dellamorte Dellamore (Cemetery Man) (1992)
Loosely inspired by the comic book tales of Dylan Dog, this follows a young gravekeeper who just can't keep the dead down in their graves. After the accidental death of the woman he loved at the hands of the living dead, he projects her face onto every woman he finds attractive thereafter. His attempts to reclaim what's gone always leave the ladies to meet the same unfortunate fate.
11. Let the Right One In (2008)
Truly a beautiful, haunting film. Young Oscar has a lot of rage inside of him. He might even want to kill the people who are mean to him. Along comes Eli, an androgynous vampire who tells him it's okay, and might even show him how to do it. It's coming of age, it's young love, it's predator teaching predator, and just about everything you could ask for in a truly heartfelt horror film.
10. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Shaun of the Dead is advertised as a romantic comedy with zombies and that's exactly what it is. The movie succeeded because it has two of the best filmmaking elements that are very rarely balanced: gore and heart. It holds up because it's about getting your life together when the whole world seems to be (or is) falling apart, and succeeding despite it.
09. Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
Dracula on screen is the most romantic of movie monsters. There's just something about the guy that people desperately want to fuck. Coppola's 1992 film is the most overtly sexualized version, save the 1979 film starring Frank Langella. This is oft-toted as the most accurate adaptation of the book and that's true, save the subplot that drives the film: that Mina is the reincarnation of Dracula's dead wife (first done in the '72 version written by Richard Matheson). The romantic side of this film works despite everything. It's lavish, over-the-top beautifully done and beautifully acted, and it might be the sexiest vampire film ever made.
08. Audition (1999).
This movie from Japanese master of horror Takashi Miike follows a man who, some years after the death of his wife, wants to remarry and is having trouble finding the right woman. He holds an audition for a movie in order to try and meet the right woman, and he does... or so he thinks. There's something weirdly beautiful about this incredibly disturbing film. Asami is a great antagonist, quietly but violently obsessive. A victim who will not be victimized again and who will stop at nothing to put her life exactly the way she wants it.
07. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935).
I'm sure people will think this should be #1 and if we were going in terms of quality, it probably would be (except for that comic relief old maid or the things in jars) but the truth is that Bride of Frankenstein, while a masterpiece, is sort of an unromantic movie. That's kind of the point. That's the whole crux. When the female monster is made, she thinks Karloff's creature is as ugly as everyone else thinks he is. Elsa Lanchaster gives one of the best performances in the entire scope of horror as both the Bride and Mary Shelley herself.
06. May (2002)
May is also a beautifully disturbing film from the always-incredible Lucky McKee. May's never had a friend, save for her doll Susie, who she can never touch because Susie's encased in glass. May is fixated on parts of people, but as she says "so many pretty parts, no pretty wholes." When people inevitably turn away from her, May realizes the meaning of her mother's motto "if you can't find a friend, make one" and begins to take the parts she loves most from the people in her life in order to construct the perfect friend.
05. Christine (1982)
Misery may be thought of as Stephen King's most tragic horror romance, but it's a little one-sided. The whole beauty of Christine is that it is a love story. It chronicles the love between a boy and his first car, an obsessive, destructive romance that no one can come between or they will pay the ultimate price. Even though one party is a car, a lot rings true about the more violent and obsessive side of love.
04. Return of the Living Dead 3 (1993)
Oh, this movie. It's mentioned once or twice on this blog. It's Warm Bodies done right the first time. Despite low budget and production values there really is a strong heart to this film and it really is a powerful love story. It's a bit ROTLD meets Hellraiser. Girlfriend dies in an accident, boyfriend takes her to his dad's secret government facility and brings her back. But she's different. She's hungry. And to stop herself from eating people she has to mutilate her own body, because pain keeps the hunger at bay.
03. Bride of Chucky (1998)
This one beat out Natural Born Killers for a spot on the list because it is Natural Born Killers, only with dolls and that's way more awesome. I'm not even kidding, I think Bride of Chucky is kind of a brilliant movie. It's purely European and completely balanced horror comedy that never takes itself too seriously while at the same time never forgetting to take itself seriously when it needs to. The romance at the center of the film is off the wall, completely destructive, but it works. It so works. Serial killers need love too, especially when they're three feet tall and plastic.
02. High Tension (2004)
There's not a lot I can say about this one without giving it away, so I'm basically going to cut to the core and say: see it. Get up, find it, see it now. French filmmaker Alexander Aja knocked it out of the park with this throwback to 70's grind house films, driven by an honest, romantic through line that brings the entire thing to its very messy end.
01. My Bloody Valentine (1981)
Is this the best film on the list? Not by a long shot. But something about it stands up among the onslaught of early 1980's slasher films. The calendar slashers exist for this purpose. A counterculture, horror culture alternative to all the other things people watch on their respective holidays. Don't want to watch traditional Valentine's Day fare? My Bloody Valentine will always be there for you, to attack, mutilate, tear and rend the holiday into something still very recognizable as Valentine's Day, but redder.