February is upon us which means an endless barrage of Valentine's Day reminders. But not everyone is a fan of Hallmark holidays. This February 14th, you can snuggle up with someone special and watch The Notebook, or you can check out these twisted and not-so-feel-good tales of love and physical affection.
The "Crazy in Love" Category
Haute Tension (2003)
Despite its one gaping flaw (those who have seen it know exactly what I mean), this popular French horror is the bleakest, bloodiest tale of unrequited love since the works of Shakespeare. It follows a young woman as she desperately tries to rescue her friend who has been kidnapped by a serial killer. When I think of lovelorn psychos, the final shot of this film definitely comes to mind.
When a lonely Australian girl is turned down for prom by her crush, Brent, she takes matters into her own hands. Lola and her equally insane father throw an impromptu "prom" at their house and, whether he likes it or not, Brent is the guest of honor. John Brumpton and Robin McLeavy make a great pair of father-daughter nuts in this twisted, funny horror flick.
Here is another French-language entry from the extreme French horror wave of the mid-00s. This one hails from Belgium, however, and is probably the most bizarre of the bunch. Laurent Lucas plays Marc, a struggling singer whose caravan breaks down in the middle of nowhere. What follows - well, you just have to see it for yourself, but let's say Marc becomes the object of unwanted affection by the locals.
The "If You Build Them, They Will Cum" Category
Cult favorite Frank Henenlotter (Basket Case) helmed this comedic twist on Mary Shelley's classic. Failed medical student James Lorinz (Street Trash) tries to re-animate his dead girlfriend using pieces of hookers but the creation escapes to turn tricks on the streets of Manhattan and kill her horny victims. As the titular miniskirt monster, Patty Mullen is perfection. Wanna date?
In Lucky McKee's directorial debut, Angel Bettis plays May, a lonely and disturbed young woman seeking companionship from more than just her childhood doll. She meets some people but when she realizes the ones she thought cared about her are not what they seemed, May decides to create the perfect life-mate using all the best parts. If you can't find a friend, make one.
In this sequel to Stuart Gordon's horror classic, Re-Animator, Drs Herbert West and Dan Cain are at it again, this time attempting to create a re-animated woman using body parts (including the heart of Barbara Crampton's character in the first film). Meanwhile, the evil Dr. Hill is back for revenge. This Brian Yuzna-directed sequel does not nearly live up to its predecessor but it's splattery fun and most of the original cast is back.
The "Choose Abstinence" Category
One of the earliest feature films of David Cronenberg, Shivers takes place in a high-rise apartment complex with a parasite problem. This particular parasite turns its hosts into sex-crazed hornballs determined to spread the infection venereally. It may sound like a porn parody of Night of the Creeps but this was Cronenberg just starting to show off his knack for body horror.
Few things make a guy's manhood shrink up quite like the concept of vagina dentata. Originating in tribal folk lore, it was often told as a cautionary tale against rape and sex with strangers, as such an act would result in castration. In Teeth, a young Christian girl is afflicted with it and her toothy vag protects her against perverts. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the bedroom....
Okay, so sex parasites and toothed baby holes are not a real-life threat, but STDs sure are! In this horror flick from last year, a young girl contracts a strange disease after she is roofied and raped at a party. More than just sores and itching, this disease causes her hair to fall out, her eye to turn white, and her skin to rot. Her brain does not fare well, either. Sure, it's a bit over-the-top, but it echoes the all-too-real dangers of sexually transmitted diseases. Be safe out there, kids.
The "Couple That Slays Together Stays Together" Category
Two lonely nerds go on a caravan adventure and become unlikely serial killers with alarming ease in this English black comedy from director Ben Wheatley and producer Edgar Wright. As the leads, Wright regulars Alice Lowe and Steve Oram are simultaneously repulsive and adorable lovebirds. They're not exactly Mickey and Mallory Knox in terms of ruthlessness but they are fucked-up nonetheless.
Heavenly Creatures (1994)
Between shooting spatterfests and hobbits, Peter Jackson directed this dark drama based on the real life Parker-Hulme murder case from 1954 in New Zealand. It's about two young girls who become inseparable in their borderline-lesbian relationship. When their parents threaten to keep them apart, the girls plot a murder. It's more drama than horror but a solid piece about extreme love from a beloved horror filmmaker.
Psychos in Love (1987)
If you're looking for something less heavy and more gory, try on this horror-comedy about a bartender and a manicurist who fall in love over the fact they both hate grapes and love killing people. When their chopped-up body parts clog the garbage disposal, they end up being blackmailed for parts by a cannibal plumber. This zany tale of love and murder is a very different sort of romantic comedy.