If love is indeed in any way how Hallmark would have us believe, then you can understand the pessimism that some of us harbour. Teddy bears,rainbows and awkwardly 'charming' romantic comedies starring Hugh Grant intravenously injecting sickly sweet schmaltz into the eyeballs? Fortunately, those of you who reading this right now know too well that cinematic romance can be much more interesting. It dosent always end with the guy getting the girl and when it does, it's usually a hell of a lot messier and weirder. Heartbreakingly tragic, funny and downright horrifying – essential ingredients for a decent modern love story, if you ask me. Love and horror go together much more than most people would care to admit and have been turning out some of greatest stories in cinema. Next time the occasion calls for a genre flick a little sweeter, try one of these on for size.
DIRECTED BY DAVID CRONENBERG
STARRING JEFF GOLDBLUM AND GEENA DAVIS
“I'm an insect who dreamt he was a man and loved it. But now the dream is over... and the insect is awake.” Seth Brundle
Its amazing how much basic gene manipulation can complicate a blossoming romance. Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) managed to sweet talk journalist Veronica Quaife back his run down warehouse apartment with some charmingly eccentric shtick and reveals his project – the world's first matter transporter. He agrees to let her chronicle his work as he stumbles through the experimental phase and the duo become an item. So what exactly leads a brilliant mind to recklessly jump straight into human testing, jumping into the transporter pod in a drunken sulk? Pure and simple jealousy. What unfolds is arguably one of the more painfully tragic ends to a relationship ever committed to film as Veronica performs a mercy killing on a Brundle that been fused with the transporter pods in his attempt at restoring his human genes.
BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR
DIRECTED BY BRIAN YUZNA
STARRING JEFFREY COMBS, BRUCE ABBOTT
“Shes gonna be uncontrollaby spastic.” Dan Cain
Finding the perfect woman taken to a whole new freaky level. Herbet West's ceaseless quest to perfect his re-animation serum has not only consumed him but also the love life of his assistant, Dan Cain, who lost his fiance Megan Halsey to the fury of a reanimated cadaver. Eight months on from the events of the first film and West has convinced Cain to resume their experiments with the promise of reuniting him with Megan. If pure ambition was the driving force behind the events of Stuart Gordon's original, then love is without doubt the catalyst for the carnage here in the Brian Yuzna directed sequel, culminating in a disturbing love triangle between Cain, his attractive journalist girlfriend and a deceased former patient and admirer of his,the titular bride, now reanimated by West using dead tissue. The Bride (Kathleen Kinmont), reeling from a broken heart, responds by literally tearing it from her dead chest, offering it to Dan. Yuck.
HIGH TENSION/ SWITCHBLADE ROMANCE
DIRECTED BY ALEXANDRE AJA
STARRING CECILE DE FRANCE AND MAIWENN
“I wont let anyone come between us anymore.” Marie
Please be advised that to read on without actually seeing Alexandre Aja's seminal home invasion slasher would be folly. If you have yet to see it then I implore you to skip ahead to the next entry on this list. At first viewing, this is one of the greatest slasher films of in recent memory, after the credits roll you realise that the story has now become one of the most twisted movie romances you'll ever see. Marie and Alex stay the night at Alex's parents house, the same night that an intruder gains entry to the home and massacres the family, kidnapping Alex and driving off into the night. For the majority of the running time we watch as Marie desperately gives chase in an effort to save her best friend. By the climax it all becomes clear – there was no intruder. Marie seems to have split personality disorder and a dangerously unhealthy obsession with Alex. Marie, completely convinced that she has just fought off some horrible maniac, unties the distraught Alex. Marie declares her undying love for her friend as Alex stabs her in fear for her own life.
BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN
DIRECTED BY JAMES WHALE
STARRING BORIS KARLOFF, COLIN CLIVE
“You stay. We belong dead.” The Monster
Arguably the most beloved and iconic of all the universal monster movies, audiences bewitched by the idea of Frankenstein's monster (Boris Karloff) finally coming face to deformed face with his soul mate. Perhaps one of the more tragic aspects of the story is that after all his arduous efforts to get his creator Henry Frankenstein and Doctor Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger) to craft him a bride, the monsters spend approximately 30 seconds within touching distance before she recoils in terror. Love dosen't always conquer all, a lesson that the monster learns the hard way at the film's climax. If Karloff's goal was to get audiences to begin sympathising with the monsters then her certainly achieved it in James Whale's sequel to the 1931 original.“She hate me. Like the others.” We feel 'ya buddy...
BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA
DIRECTED BY FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA
STARRING GARY OLDMAN, WINONA RYDER
“I have crossed oceans of time to find you”. Dracula
Another take on the age old dream of true love ascending even death itself. Not even Keanu Reeves appalling acting can derive from such a poignant love story that Shakespeare would be proud of. A man (Gary Oldman) who renounces his god in the name of his love Elisabeta (Winona Ryder), tearing up a church and making a crucifix bleed? Puts a certain modern vampire franchise to shame, does it not? Still to this day, horror connoisseurs barely hold much affection when looking back at Coppola's earnest adaptation of Stoker's novel – sure, it may be a little overblown and bloated but forgive it's warts and imperfections, it's pretty much a film of it's time – there's a tragic gothic horror show to lose yourself in if you give it a chance.
DIRECTED BY LUCKY MCKEE
RELEASED IN 2002
STARRING ANGELA BETTIS, ANNA FARIS
“So many pretty parts and no pretty wholes”. May Dove Canady
Angela Bettis brings the heartbreakingly fragile May to life in an unforgettable performance. Social misfit May Dove Canady is in love with Adam's hands, it seems. With a doll in a glass case as her only friend throughout her younger years, its safe to assume that May be a little disadvantaged when it comes to approaching the opposite sex. All her best efforts to become part of Adam's life and expand her social circle results in her further alienation. Stands out from the pack as far as her bizarre coping mechanism goes – proceeds on a kill crazy rampage and collecting her favourite parts from her former friends, constructing a grotesque, Frankensteinian doll to keep her warm at night.
INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE
DIRECTED BY NEIL JORDAN
RELEASED IN 1994
STARRING BRAD PITT, TOM CRUISE, KIRSTEN DUNST
“No one could resist me, not even you, Louis”. Lestat de Lioncourt
Homoerotic overtones abound here in a faux marriage relationship between Brad Pitt's Louis and Lestat – Tom Cruise stealing the damn show in what can be deemed nothing other than a indisputable career highlight. They exchange fluids, they bitch, they argue and Lestat even snags the pair a surrogate daughter in Kirsten Dunst's Claudia - a Golden Globe snagging performance. Brings to question that maybe it would have saved a lot of fuss and confusion if Lestat simply told Louis, “You know we're a 'thing', right?”
DIRECTED BY KATHRYN BIGELOW
STARRING ADRIAN PASAR, LANCE HENRIKSEN
“The night has its price”. Mae
Kind of a dud on it's initial release, it's hard to find anyone who has anything but love for horror with a Western twist. Don't be fooled by the recent tween -romance -friendly Blu Ray repackaging for the film, Bigelow's only horror film kicks all kinds of ass, demonstrating far more intelligence and wit than the previous Fright Night or could bring to the age old vampire mythos. Caleb Colton (Adrian Pasar) falls for the charms of young vampire Mae (Jenny Wright) and is bitten for his troubles. He is subsequently taken in by her pack, headed by Jesse (played by Lance Henriksen) and the psychotic Severen (Bill Paxton) – who in one scene is revealed to have been behind the 1971 Great Chicago Fire - and given one week to prove his worth to the gang or face death. Has to be seen for the stunning vampire versus police siege. Second only to Let The Right One In.