It’s the perfect time of year to cuddle up on the couch with your sweetie under a warm blanket, while watching some of the best the genre has to offer.
There’s something magical in the air this time of year. Along with joyful tidings and merriment, it’s the perfect time for love to blossom and bloom. If you’re embarking on a new relationship or preparing for a romantic first date, I suggest a non-traditional approach. While it’s the season for feel good holiday films and schmaltzy romantic comedies, my money is always on a great horror film for the ultimate night of cuddles and chills.
Fortunately, the dating specialists from lustylocals have compiled a list of the five most recommended movies for this occasion. These classic genre gems are sure to please at any time of year, delivering the perfect amount of scares without totally alienating non-hardcore horror fans. There’s also some truly great filmmaking to enjoy, as well as powerful performances and even a bit of romance.
1. The Shining (1980)
Based on Stephen King’s third novel, director Stanley Kubrick created a masterpiece of psychological horror, with a riveting central performance by Jack Nicholson. His character, Jack Torrance, has been assigned the post of caretaker of a remote hotel during its long winter lockdown. He is joined by his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd). The resident chef (Scatman Crothers) discovers Danny is telepathic; he has the gift of the ‘shining’ referred to in the title. Marooned in the snowbound Rockies during a Winter storm, Jack’s increasingly unhinged behavior isn’t improved by supernatural forces (the hotel is built on a Native American burial ground).
Eventually, Jack’s mind unravels to the point where he becomes a serious threat to his family. It’s frighteningly tense and brilliantly acted — letting you cuddle up with your date while enjoying one of the greatest horror films of all time.
WHERE TO WATCH: If you have Sling, you can watch this now for free. But it’s also available to rent or buy from most VOD platforms, and it’s well worth the investment.
2. The Lost Boys (1987)
The title of this 1980s classic references the fable of Peter Pan, but in this case, the teenagers destined never to grow old are blood-sucking vampires. When Michael (Jason Patric) and younger brother Sam (Corey Haim) join their mother relocating to a new home in the Californian resort of Santa Clara, Michael falls in with a gang of undead, led by David (Kiefer Sutherland) while Sam joins local vampire hunters. These creatures of the night don’t inhabit dusty old castles. They have big hair, listen to hard rock, and prowl for their victims on motorbikes.
A thoroughly entertaining modern twist on the age-old supernatural fable, this was a massive commercial success. It’s also the perfect combination of sexy and scary fun for date night.
WHERE TO WATCH: Watch this horror classic for free on Shudder.
3. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Directed by John Landis (The Blues Brothers), this is another contemporary reworking of a traditional tale of people developing otherwordly powers (and a carnivorous appetite) when the full moon rises. David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) are two backpackers traveling across Yorkshire when they are attacked by a huge dog-like creature. Thus begins David’s nightmarish transformation into a murderous supernatural entity, prowling the London underground in search of victims.
Told with lashings of gore and drenched in dark humor, this perfect blend of horror and comedy is sure to make your first date a howling good time!
WHERE TO WATCH: Watch it for free on HBO Max/HBO, or rent/buy from most VOD platforms.
4. The Thing (1982)
This science-fiction horror masterpiece will have you and your date glued to the edge of your seats. Set in an Antarctic research station, a crash-landed extra-terrestrial craft is unearthed, and its long-frozen passenger — an alien that can transform into doppelgangers of any other lifeform it comes into contact with — becomes a dangerous menace. Filmed in the days before CGI had completely infiltrated horror movies, the animatronics used to create the shape-shifting human/alien hybrids make the greatest impression, while the claustrophobic atmosphere of the blizzard-blasted accommodation is an excellent backdrop.
This iconic creature feature is a masterclass in suspense, atmospheric terror, and compelling characters. It’s best viewed at night, in the dark, and preferable with someone to cuddle up close with — making it the perfect date night pick.
WHERE TO WATCH: Watch it for free on Showtime, or rent/buy from most VOD platforms.
5. A Quiet Place (2018)
So far, every film I’ve recommended has been an essential film from the 80s, the Golden Age of Modern Horror. But I’m ending with a recent film I believe has the potential to become a new classic — one we’ll still be talking about several decades from now. Another sci-fi horror entry, this one envisions a post-apocalyptic Earth that has been infiltrated by blind creatures who hunt humans by sound alone. A family living in an isolated farmstead must do everything as stealthily as possible to avoid ending up as prey. At one point, Evelyn (Emily Blunt) is even forced to give birth in as muted a way as she can manage.
A terrifyingly tense and gripping film for your date night, the unseen terror in this film is just as nightmarish as anything revealed. Watch it before the sequel lands in Spring of 2021.
WHERE TO WATCH: If you have Sling or FX Now, you can watch this now for free. But you can easily find this inexpensively on most major VOD platforms.
Want more great date night recommendations? Check out my list of “5 Genre Gems for Date Night Now Streaming on Netflix”.