Who says horror isn’t romantic? Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a look at 15 of the best, most swoon-worthy couples in horror history.
Now, just because I love horror media doesn’t mean I don’t also love a good romantic story. Horror itself can be a beautifully romantic thing. While horror boasts its fair share of toxic relationships, there are quite a few good, more-or-less healthy relationships to be found within the genre.
I will always argue that, at its core, horror is a genre that revels in romance, whether it be a good relationship or the dreaded bad one.
Solid yet realistic relationships created the criteria for this list. And while I do love a good old-fashioned toxic, bad romance with a rip-roaring side of personal issues and drama, there are times I want the warm embrace of something sweet and earnest. So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, here’s a look at 15 of the most satisfying horror romances.
1. Lionel Cosgrove and Paquita Maria Sánchez from Dead Alive (1992)
I’ve always thought of the Peter Jackson classic splatter fest as a gory romcom.
Lionel and Paquita are an infectious pair. He’s shy, and she’s vivacious, yet they come together in a perfect sort of harmony. The movie itself is offbeat and often bombastic. (I mean, there are priests kicking ass for the Lord, after all.) Even when there’s chaos all around them, Lionel and Paquita’s love prevails.
Zombies and overbearing mothers cannot stop the force of true love.
2. Miss Audrey Caroline and Dave from Little Monsters (2019)
Horror comedies can make an excellent backdrop for romances. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil can tell you that much.
Miss Caroline and Dave are mismatched—or so it seems. She’s the kind of woman that gives her job and her life her all while he is a slacker. Once upon a time, Miss Caroline wasn’t so different from Dave; she was a complete mess. Her love and dedication to her job make Dave fall in love with her and make him want to step up and be the man she deserves.
There will be no falling in love with man babies in this film, but there will be the phenomenon of man babies growing the hell up and being the man a woman wants to fall in love with.
3. Eli and Oskar from Let the Right One In (2008)
Eli and Oskar’s connection is filled with both childlike wonder and the sort of adult gravity that comes from being a bullied child or an outcast.
Oskar seems to carry worlds within him, ones he does not understand, which makes him a perfect match for Eli, who is an enigma herself. Despite Eli’s vampirism, their relationship is filled with a simple innocence that is difficult to capture in earnest.
Blood stains and snow-laden landscapes might not be the usual definition of love, but this film makes one yearn for the purity of unadulterated first love.
4. Billy Peltzer and Kate Beringer from Gremlins (1984)
Billy and Kate are a formative horror romance for many fans.
Billy is a chipper would-be artist, and Kate is perpetually and rightfully traumatized when it comes to the holidays. Throw in an adorable critter and a few hundred scaly mischievous little bastards, and you have the perfect backdrop for long-time crushes to come to fruition.
Who doesn’t want to kiss someone while little Gizmo cheers on your union?
5. Laura and John Baxter in Don’t Look Now (1973)
Don’t Look Now gave the world the sex scene that incensed renowned man baby Warren Beatty. (If you don’t know anything about this, Google it because you should.) It also gave us a pretty good love story, too.
Laura and John are healing from the loss of their daughter and doing their best to heal together. Love looks different amid grief, and Don’t Look Now explores that boldly. Sure, people will seek this movie out because of the sex scene controversy, but they’re going to find a profound exploration of love there.
That sex scene hinges on Laura and John’s love, and it’s what makes it iconic.
6. Audrey and Henry Walsh in Anything for Jackson (2020)
I love seeing older couples still in love and devoted to one another. Granted, most of them aren’t Satanists or kidnapping people, but I digress.
Audrey and Henry’s love for one another sticks out to me in a horror movie that is creepy and often bleak. They’re people who have dealt with unimaginable loss and are trying to find a way to bridge that gap together. There’s desperation there, but they are a united front.
Sometimes love works out for the better and lasts a lifetime.
7. Ben Hanscom and Beverly Marsh in It
There is not a version of Ben and Beverly I do not like. I enjoy them all, old and new.
I am equally taken by the love story between the boy who never thought he had a chance and the girl who came to realize the love of her life was right in front of her. Bev grows to meet Ben halfway—something she couldn’t do as a pre-teen. While it’s easy to feel discouraged watching Ben try to hold in all these profoundly adult emotions of love, it’s triumphant to watch them grow into the love they deserve.
My heart burns there, too.
8. Hannah Grose and Owen Sharma in The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)
T’Nia Miller and Rahul Kohli have some of the best chemistry in the horror-sphere, and I desperately hope they have scenes together in Fall of the House of Usher.
Their achingly romantic scenes in The Haunting of Bly Manor are tear-inducing. While they never officially become a couple, the love and the longing are still there.
Hannah and Owen remain one of my favorite parts of a show that revels in romance, celebrates it, and mourns it.
9. Allan Mann and Melanie Parker in Monkey Shines (1988)
How this relationship goes under the radar makes me extremely sad.
Monkey Shines gives an honest romance that is realistic about how disabled people are desirable, can enter relationships with abled body people, and can enjoy sex. Allan and Melanie’s connection oozes subtly sexy chemistry that is anything but chaste. Their relationship makes this movie seem revolutionary and novel, and even by today’s standards, it still is.
It’s one of the few films that portray a quadriplegic having sex.
10. Red Miller and Mandy Bloom in Mandy (2018)
For a film starring Nicolas Cage screaming in his underwear, Mandy is a tender love story.
Red and Mandy’s entire relationship is built on a softness and understanding that the audience feels in their bones. The scenes where Mandy explores her childhood trauma are bathed in beautiful lighting and prioritize Mandy’s emotional safety. We all need a partner who can hold us emotionally and make us feel protected and cared for.
We also need someone who will go on a bloody rampage to avenge our murder, but that’s neither here nor there.
11. Deena Johnson and Sam Fraser in Fear Street Trilogy (2021)
Deena and Sam have all the trappings of a good teen drama couple who are mercilessly thrown into the midst of a horror film.
They’re young, filled with angst, and kind of annoying. However, it’s nice to see a lesbian couple get this treatment on screen. They feel like a real high school couple, and that makes all the difference over the course of the three films.
Their happy ending is satisfactory, and there is a clear narrative arc where they both grow and shed their teen drama antics.
12. Roger Penderel and Gladys Perkins in The Old Dark House (1932)
I don’t believe in love at first sight, but I would like to.
Penderel and Gladys in The Old Dark House make me want to believe this kind of phenomenon is possible because there is something so refreshingly droll. He’s a bachelor, and she’s a chorus girl. The result is infectious chemistry. The lady killer has found a gal who tickles his fancy, and he’s not head over heels for her.
More than that, he’s ready to lay down life and limb for her.
13. Gabriel and Adelaide Wilson in Us (2019)
We love a solid married couple with cute kids and a great relationship.
Gabe and Adelaide make for an appealing pairing. Their banter is infectious and is enough to make people jealous. They’re good parents and have fostered a loving environment for their kids. That’s enviable. It’s something to aspire to as parents and lovers.
Not to mention, actors Winston Duke and Lupita Nyong’o are two of the most stunning people on the planet.
14. Jamie Taylor and Dani Clayton in The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)
We all love a good tragic love story, and The Haunting of Bly Manor has plenty of them to spare.
Jamie and Dani are both similarly haunted characters, literally and figuratively. A loving and genuine relationship blossoms between the two young women, one that reminds us that love is worth the eventual loss. It’s also a tender reminder that love goes on long after the concept of death.
Every love story is a ghost story, and every ghost story is a love story.
15. Jules and Mickey in Villains (2019)
As far as bumbling criminals go, Jules and Mickey are sweethearts in all senses of the world.
This movie is the kind that needs to be grounded in some aspect, given the bombastic melodrama, and Mickey and Jules’s love creates a tremendous anchoring point for the audience and the story. They’re sickly and sweetly in love, and Mickey thinks she hung the moon. Sure, they’re technically robbers, but everyone has their faults.
The bond this couple shares is the lifeblood of this Lynchian little film, and it makes all the difference.