If you’ve got your heart set on a killer date night, here are 25 romantic horror movies sure to set the mood for horror lovers.
Today is Valentine’s Day, and we know many of you may be planning a romantic night with your significant other. And while a fancy dinner or a night on the town are perfectly fine choices, we happen to think you can’t go wrong with a killer night in — cuddling on the couch and watching some of the best and most swoon-worthy scary films. To help you plan the perfect night of horror love (on Valentine’s Day or any date night), here are 25 of our favorite horror films that also celebrate the power fo the relationships we hold so dear.
#25 Gerald's Game (2017)
This is probably the oddest choice for my list, but it’s a powerful film that could make for an interesting conversation (and serve as a potential warning for any Valentine’s Day games you might be planning for later).
Based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King, Jessie and Gerald (Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood) head to a secluded getaway to rekindle their romance with a little bondage. Shortly after handcuffing Jessie to the bed, Gerald suffers a heart attack and dies. The rest of the movie is about Jessie’s struggle to survive and examining who she is and who she is becoming via conversations with visions of Gerald and herself. This is one of the best adaptations of a King novel, and it’s a must watch.
#24 Bride of Chucky (1998)
In the field of over-the-top horror movie ideas, giving the “Good Guy” serial killer Chucky (voiced by Brad Dourif) a bride (voiced by Jennifer Tilly) is the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae.
After stealing Chucky’s body parts from an evidence locker, Tiffany brings Charles Lee Ray back to life believing that before he died, he intended to marry her. When he informs her otherwise, she torments Chucky who then uses his voodoo spell to transfer Tiffany into the body of a doll in a wedding dress. Any earnestness of the first three films goes out the window, but it’s a campy wild ride.
#23 Audition (1999)
At the encouragement of his friend, a widower (Ryo Ishibashi) hold auditions to find a new wife. Let’s just say he gets more than he bargained for, and I wouldn’t recommend finding your date for Valentine’s Day in this fashion.
Directed by Takashi Miike, Audition pulls no punches and shows just how scary it can be to make yourself vulnerable to another person.
#22 Candyman (1992)
At the heart of so many great films is a forbidden love story; Candyman is no different.
Grad student Helen (Virginia Madsen) is studying urban legends when she learns about a local one, the Candyman (Tony Todd), a black artist who was tortured and killed for fathering a child with a white woman. He appears when someone says his name five times.
#21 Honeymoon (2014)
A couple honeymoons at a remote cabin only to find out there is more going on than they realize in this sci-fi thriller.
Strong performances by the two leads (Harry Treadway, Rose Leslie) make the decline from wedded bliss into jealousy and madness (or is it real?) a wild ride.
#20 The Mummy (1932/1999/2017)
While some movies boast of never-ending love, The Mummy, in all its incarnations embodies that.
Forbidden love that is condemned and cursed survives centuries only to be rekindled when the mummy is awakened. The Tom Cruise version is a bit of a mess, and the Brendan Fraser version is a lot of fun, but for me, you can’t beat Boris Karloff in the 1932 original.
#19 The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Few stories have probably seen more incarnations than Gaston Leroux’s classic novel. There’s the musical version made famous by Andrew Lloyd Webber and countless adaptations and knockoffs over the years, but there is no better version than the 1925 version starring Lon Chaney as the Phantom.
A young opera singer, Christine, is under the tutelage of a mysterious instructor who haunts the Paris Opera House. He grows jealous when a man from Christine’s past shows up and threatens their relationship. Chaney, often known as The Man of a 1000 Faces, created his own makeup for the Phantom and it reportedly caused screams and shouting when it’s finally revealed by Christine.
#18 Warm Bodies (2013)
One of the most original takes on what might cause a zombie apocalypse, Warm Bodies follows R (Nicholas Hoult) who, after saving Julie (Teresa Palmer) from being attacked by his fellow zombies, begins to fall for her and begins to become more human.
Part of the subgenre of the horror-rom-com, it’s a sweet, funny movie that would be a great choice for date night.
#17 Pet (2016)
While not as brutal as Audition, 2016’s Pet starring Dominic Monaghan and Ksenia Solo also explores the darker side of love.
Growing increasingly infatuated with Holly and soundly rejected, Seth kidnaps her and locks her in a cage claiming he only wants to save her. Holly soon turns the tables on him though. Skip the trailer and just watch the movie, because the trailer spoils the plot twist.
#16 The Loved Ones (2009)
Revisiting the theme of the darker side of love, Lola (Robin McLeavy) teaches us that if you can’t get your high school crush to take you to the dance, you can always bring the dance to him.
Gruesome and gory, Lola and her father (John Brumpton) bring home Brent (Xavier Samuel) to celebrate in bloody style. While the themes are familiar, director Sean Byrne upends the familiar tropes by giving us one of the most memorable female psychopaths ever.
#15 The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Picking up where the 1931 original film left off, this is one of the rare sequels that surpasses the original.
Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) is coerced into creating a bride (Elsa Lanchester) for the monster (Boris Karloff) with Dr. Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger). There are so many classic scenes in the movie but none more so than the final scene where the monster meets his bride, only to be rejected once more.
#14 Spring (2014)
A young man (Lou Taylor Pucci) flees to Italy after his mom dies. He meets and falls for a young woman (Nadia Hilker) who has a dark secret.
While a little light on its horror elements, the movie has a Lovecraftian feel, and it is a sweet and touching film about the building of a relationship.
#13 Psycho (1960)
The classic film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, and Vera Miles may seem like an odd choice for a date night, but it’s a solemn reminder that nothing comes between a boy and his mother.
The essential horror film was also the ultimate labor of love. Hitchcock was forced to fund the entire $800,000 budget himself and save money by utilizing the shooting crew from his celebrated TV program. Once released, however, the film caused an international sensation and earned its director and producer both financial success and and a reputation as filmdom’s Master of Suspense.
#12 The Conjuring (2013) / The Conjuring 2 (2016)
The ever-expanding Conjuring Universe came into being with 2013’s The Conjuring featuring Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga) investigating a haunting in Rhode Island (the sequel investigates the Enfield Poltergeist).
The movies are scary and extremely well done, but the heart of both films is the relationship between Ed and Lorraine, and it makes the movies ideal viewing for date night.
#11 A Quiet Place (2018)
Directed and starring John Krasinski alongside his real life wife Emily Blunt, A Quiet Place tells the story of a family trying to survive in the world post alien invasion where the slightest sound can bring the creatures down on you.
Blunt and Krasinski use their real world chemistry to bring their onscreen relationship alive, and it is the heart of this wonderful 2018 horror film.
#10 The Sixth Sense (1999)
Whether you’ve seen this movie or not, almost everyone knows the twist to this film. Everyone remembers a young Haley Joel Osment seeing dead people and Bruce Willis as a child psychiatrist trying to help him.
You probably remember the sweet relationship between Osment and his onscreen mom, played by Toni Collette, but after a recent viewing with my youngest, I was reminded of the heartbreakingly beautiful relationship between Willis’s character and his wife (Olivia Williams). If you haven’t watched it for a while (or have never seen it), The Sixth Sense is a solid date night film.
#9 Odd Thomas (2013)
Based on the novel of the same name by Dean Koontz, Odd Thomas (Anton Yelchin) is a psychic living in a small town in California where he dates the love of his life Stormy Llewellyn and assists the local sheriff (Willem Dafoe) with crimes. Odd senses something big is coming and starts working to stave off a major event before it hurts his friends and the town he loves.
While not nearly as good as the book, Odd Thomas captures the heart of Odd and Stormy’s relationship, and it makes the movie a solid choice for date night.
#8 Happy Death Day (2017)
Reimagining Groundhog Day as a horror movie gives us the absolutely delightful Happy Death Day.
Jessica Rothe stars as Tree, a young college co-ed who wakes up on her birthday only to find her day ending with her being killed by a serial killer. Tree wakes up the next morning though and has to relive the same day — this happens over and over again — always ending with her death. As Tree investigates who is killing her, she also learns more about herself and develops a relationship with Carter (Israel Broussard).
The movie is laugh-out-loud funny, has some wonderfully gruesome death scenes and some creepy thrills. It’s a fantastic entry into the horror genre and wonderful date night selection.
#7 The Shape of Water (2017)
Directed by Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water tells the story of Elisa, a deaf mute (Sally Hawkins) who works as a cleaner in a government lab. When a creature (Doug Jones channeling The Creature from the Black Lagoon) is brought into the lab, she begins to develop a relationship with it and ultimately helps him escape from the torture of a delightfully wicked Michael Shannon.
The movie is touching and shows that love knows no bounds and that sometimes, it’s the humans who are the real monsters. If this relationship isn’t enough, a stellar performance by Richard Jenkins as Elisa’s friend and confidante only adds to make this a date night must.
#6 Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
The ultimate lover’s triangle blossoms as the immortal Count (Gary Oldman) and Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) vie for the affections of Nina Murray (Winona Ryder).
Director Francis Ford Coppola creates a visually stunning and epic film that pulls at your heart while creating one of the best retellings of Stoker’s classic tale.
#5 Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Shaun (Simon Pegg) is avoiding adult life — working at a dead-end job, drinking with his best friend (Nick Frost) and off-and-on again with his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield). When the zombie apocalypse happens, it forces Shaun to face all of the issues he’s been hiding.
The creators called it a "Rom Zom Com" aka a “Romantic Zombie Comedy” and the "perfect date film" because it has a heart line of a romantic comedy that happens to be set in a time where zombies are attacking the world.
#4 The Fly (1986)
David Cronenberg’s horror remake, widely considered his masterpiece, is not without its romantic charms.
As reclusive Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) works on his teleportation device, his growing relationship with Veronica (Geena Davis) teaches him about flesh and love. When Brundle teleports himself along with a stowaway fly, his deterioration nearly breaks Veronica.
#3 King Kong (1933/1976/2005)
What could be more romantic than a big, furry ape falling for the beautiful blonde (Fay Wray)?
The big guy risks everything for a woman and pays the ultimate price when beauty kills the beast. Skip the 2005 remake and watch the original; it’s a perfect film.
#2 Let the Right One In (2008) / Let Me In (2010)
A young, innocent boy starts to develop a relationship with the young girl who moves into his apartment building — only she is neither young nor innocent. Instead, she’s a vampire. But all relationships have challenges, right?
Personally, I prefer the Swedish original, but the 2010 American remake is a solid choice, too.
#1 Lo (2009)
This is probably one of my favorite low budget films ever.
Filmed in one room, Justin (Ward Roberts) summons the demon Lo (Jeremiah Birkett) to help him find his girlfriend who he believes was taken by another demon. The demon works to convince him that none of what he remembers was real, but Justin won’t be dissuaded.
Lo is the perfect blend of horror, a little comedy and a lot of heart. It’s perfect for Valentine’s Day.
vicki woods wrote:
I have never seen Lo. I’m gonna have to do that soon!