Whether you’re single AF or in a loved up relationship, we can all agree on one thing: stereotypical romance movies kind of suck. Sure, there are some diamonds in the rough when it comes to romcoms, but stuff like Valentine’s Day is not worth anyone’s time. Skip 50 Shades Darker at the multiplex and watch these fun, spooky and surprisingly heartfelt films instead.
My Bloody Valentine
An obvious choice right out the gate. The 1981 cult classic is about a small town that suffers a mining accident on Valentine’s Day, and on the anniversary of the tragedy, a masked killer attacks anyone who dares to celebrate Valentine’s Day. You can even amp the ridiculousness with the 2009 remake, which is in 3D (remember when they tried to make 3D horror a thing again?) and tries very hard to make good use of that technology.
What’s more romantic than grotesque body horror? David Cronenberg’s 1986 masterpiece is a must-watch any time of year, but it’s especially perfect for Valentine’s Day. The relationship between Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis is incredibly sweet and tender and grounds the film in a very real way. The gross-out transformation stuff with disturbing visuals is just the icing on the cake.
A zombie movie that’s after heart, not brains. Nicholas Hoult stars as a member of the undead who’s still able to think and, apparently, feel, and falls for a living girl who’s involved in a zombie resistance group. It’s not your typical zombie movie, not your typical romance film, and not your typical Romeo & Juliet adaptation — seriously, their names are Julie & R — but it’s a great combination of the three.
If you’re single and want to feel better about it, try It Follows, where being sexually active will kill you. This supernatural horror film has quickly become a favourite thanks to its tension, subtlety and kickass score. A teen girl (Maika Monroe) is followed by an unknown supernatural force that has to be the worst STD ever. The being is passed on through sexual encounters and kills its way back to the original source.
Holding auditions to find a new wife is not the best dating tactic, but it’s what the protagonist of Takashi Miike’s seminal film Audition attempts to do. Of course, it’s a Miike film, so everything is not as it seems. The lucky lady Asami (Eihi Shiina) is chosen because of her sweet, demure nature that is definitely a ruse and the film devolves into some of the most shocking and unsettling torture put on film.
[Rec] 3: Genesis
The [Rec] series is one of the best zombie (or zombie-esque) franchises around, although the fourth movie isn’t anything to write home about. The third film in the franchise moves the action away from the locked down apartment building of the first two and instead takes place at a wedding. The zombies attack, the celebration is ruined, and the bride grabs a chainsaw and gets to work.
How well do you really know your significant other? Do you know that they’re not secretly working as a masked killer, terrorizing you and your friends one year after killing your mother? (Spoilers for a 20-year-old movie!). Scream is a classic slasher, the best of the 90s teen horror flicks, and a great way to put your tragic high school romance in perspective. Sure, he was a douche, but he wasn’t kidnap-your-dad-and-try-to-murder-you douche.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Jane Austen is a go to for romance fans, and the addition of zombies make it a perfect horror flick for Valentine’s Day. While the joke wore thin pretty quickly in the novelization, the film fares better by having action-packed fight scenes and a great performance from badass leading lady Lily James.
Shaun of the Dead
Shaun of the Dead is the perfect Valentine’s Day movie if you’re in a relationship, thanks to the relationship between Shaun and his sometimes-girlfriend Liz. The pair tries to work it out in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, which can’t be easy, but they still manage to have some tender moments. It’s also the perfect Valentine’s Day movie if you’re single because there’s the most epic bromance of all time in Shaun and Ed, and the touching relationship between Shaun and his mother and, eventually, his step-father. Love comes in all forms!
To be perfectly honest, I don’t remember much about this 2000s horror film except that it stars David Boreanaz, the killer wears a Cupid mask, and it’s terrible. But when you’re halfway through a bottle of rosé and a kilo of chocolate, I’m sure it’s going to be a blast.