Rom-coms are all good and fun, but sometimes the most gripping love stories are found in the most bloodcurdling and downright terrifying films. With Valentine’s Day ticking closer, anti-love or cheesy sentiments will once again flood feeds—but here, we say: Why not both?
From half-dead beloveds to gothic love interests, here are a couple of horror romances that can fill up your date night (or whatever you’ve got going).
“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” (2016)
Meet the blueprint of enemies-to-lovers, now with more zombies. In this undead version of Jane Austen, Lizzie Bennet (Lily James) and Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley) still have their romantically tense misunderstandings, but they’ve got a few more skills in their arsenal with Lizzie as a martial arts expert and Darcy as a trained zombie killer. Throw in a couple of the undead here and there, and you’ve got yourselves an iconic Regency romance. Your move, “Bridgerton.”
“Only Lovers Left Alive” (2013)
The “Twilight” epilogue we’ve been waiting for, but only if Jim Jarmusch was at the helm. Two vampires (played by Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston) have been together for several centuries, navigating the rocky path of living beyond “till death do us part.” Their idyllic relationship takes a turn when her uncontrollable sister is inserted into the picture, set in the backdrop of a modern society that’s hard to keep up with.
“Happy Death Day” (2017)
For protagonists, “Groundhog Day”-esque time loops suck, but it’s even worse when they have to relive their brutal murder. In this slasher flick, a college student (Jessica Rothe) repeats her day of death in the hands of a masked killer over and over again. Things will only screech to a halt if she finds her murderer, and with her classmate (Israel Broussard) in tow (Hint: That’s the budding romance), she might finally get out of this mess—but obviously not unscathed.
“Warm Bodies” (2013)
What happens when the undead falls in love with a living human? Awkward teenage romancing, apparently. In this young adult adaptation, R (Nicholas Hoult) is a zombie, but that doesn’t mean he’s heartless. He finds love with Julie (Teresa Palmer), who’s now on the receiving end of R’s intense desire to protect. But they’ll soon realize that high school sweethearts aren’t easy to keep when society’s filled with even more bloodthirsty ghouls that are out to get them (and her brains).
“Crimson Peak” (2015)
In another serving for the Hiddles stans, the Guillermo del Toro-directed horror/mystery stars Tom Hiddleston as Sir Thomas Sharpe the gothic hero, who sweeps a young woman named Edith (Mia Wasikowska) into his mansion in the middle of nowhere. “Phantom of the Opera” and Edgar Allan Poe stans might get a kick out of this, as Edith discovers that her brooding lover—as well as his haunted home—keeps a few secrets, too.
If you like your rom-coms on the demented side, “Spring” might be your frightful cup of tea. The 2014 film takes on “Before Sunrise” with a European transatlantic romance, featuring unsuspecting tourist Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) and genetics student Louise (Nadia Hilker), who has a mystery of her own. (TL;DR: She’s a shapeshifting mutant.)
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Still from “Only Lovers Left Alive”