If you're a regular FEARnet reader, chances are good that there are no sparkly vampire stories atop your list of great romantic horror films. Just to be safe, we decided to list a few of the very best horror romances for you and your Valentine to watch on Valentine's Day. So grab a bottle of wine, light the fire, and cuddle up with some of these freakishly awesome love stories.
Lucky McKee's 2002 May put the director on the map in the horror genre and, though it was mostly under-seen during its initial release, the film has become an absolute cult classic (and for good reason). Starring Angela Bettis (a McKee favorite), Jeremy Sisto, and Anna Faris, May tells the tale of a lonely, odd girl who has a bit too much love to give, but has trouble figuring out exactly where it should go. She experiments by attempting relationships with the cute boy, the adorable lesbian girl, the punk guy, and finally a Frankenstein-like amalgam of all of them. It's a shame that the only one that brings May any solace at all seems to be the freaky creation of her own. It doesn't, however, take away from the film's genius, the fantastic performance by Bettis, and the entrée into horror by a director who would soon become a veritable master of the genre.
Vincenzo Natali's Splice might just be one of the most underrated and overlooked horror films of past decade. While he has received mostly positive reviews, the film doesn't quite seem to have caught on with the fandom it deserves. I have a hunch, though, that Splice will be a huge cult favorite in years to come as it's not only a fantastic, sickly twisted science fiction horror flick, but it's also a damn fine original romance as well. Starring Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, and Delphine Chanéac as Dren, the film starts out innocently enough (at least for a sci-fi tale), but soon goes places that you can barely imagine. If you think you've seen every nuanced sex scene in cinematic history, but you have yet to see Splice, you'll quickly be proven wrong. Natali's film puts the freak in freaky. Kinky sex scenes aside, the film is just an excellent slow burn of a tale that's both scary enough to make you scream and heartfelt enough to ultimately bring a tear to your eye. What more could you ask for?
Let The Right One In / Let Me In
Both the 2008 film Let the Right One In and Matt Reeves directed 2010 American remake Let Me In are beautiful, meaningful films in their own right. They may be similar in tone and story, but each has their very own palette, feel, and sensibility that make them just unique enough to stand on their own. At the core of both stories is the relationship between the two main characters (Eli and Oskar in the Swedish film and Owen and Abby in Let Me In) – a budding romantic relationship that's complicated both by gender and age. Regardless of the complications, both films do a brilliant job of portraying young love in the most touching and poignant ways. They both make you feel for these characters and, most importantly, they make you care about these characters. From their opening scenes centered around a Rubik's cube to their final dénouement, Eli and Oskar and Abby and Owen are believable, sincere, and utterly moving as a couple. It warms the heart of two films that are set in such absolutely frigid environments.
Cemetery Man (Dellamorte Dellamore)
Michele Soavi's Dellamorte Dellamore (renamed Cemetery Man upon its United States release in 1996) is one truly deranged love story… and that's what makes it so deliciously good. Rupert Everett plays Francesco Dellamorte, a cemetery caretaker in the small Italian village of Buffalora, who must tend to the cemetery's every need and, in this case, that also includes disposing of the zombie-like "Returners" before they escape and overrun the town. The problem is, Francesco is a lonely man in search of love and when he finds it in a gorgeous young widow played by Anna Falchi he decides it would be a good idea to consummate the relationship atop the grave of her dead husband. You see, Francesco's not exactly the smartest cemetery caretaker out there. You can probably guess what happens next so I won't spoil it for you, but suffice to say that the results are about as crazy as you can imagine. Cemetery Man is a great blend of horror, romance, and comedy done just right. It's the perfect fix for all your zombie lovin' needs.
Bride of Frankenstein
James Whale's 1935 classic Bride of Frankenstein might just be the quintessential horror romance. Forget about your teenagers with their sparkly vampire lovers and give us true horror fans Elsa Lanchester's black and white streaked conical hair any day of the week. Picking up right where 1931's Frankenstein left off, Bride… eventually finds Doctor Pretorius intent on making The Monster a mate with the help of a reluctant Henry Frankenstein. The Bride comes to life as Henry proclaims: "She's alive! Alive!" They introduce to her to The Monster and hope for the best before she screams in abject terror and rejection. It's the least happy, romantic ending you could ever hope for, but that's what makes it so great. It feels real and satisfying and makes the destruction of the lab all the more meaningful. Bride of Frankenstein may not give you the roses and rainbows of a happy coupling that you might expect, but it gives you a story of unrequited love and, honestly, isn't that what most true love is?