7 Twisted Romantic Horror Movies for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day may be upon us, but that does not mean horror buffs have to suffer through romantic comedies. Here are seven romantic horror movies that are shocking, disturbing, and nightmarish but also contain romance at the center of their stories.

My Animal

Written by Jae Matthews of the electronic music duo Boy Harsher, My Animal is an underseen werewolf romance film that plays out like a Shakespearean tragedy. My Animal follows Heather (Bobbi Salvör Menuez), a small-town teenager from a family with a cursed lineage. Once she falls in love with Jonny (Amandla Stenberg), Heather starts to find it more and more difficult to repress something monstrous deep inside her.

My Animal features two compelling performances at its center from two performers whose chemistry is palpable. The romance in the film is believable and brilliantly guides the tender story to a bloodbath of a climax.

Bug

Based on a play by Tracy Letts and helmed by The Exorcist director William Friedkin, Bug is a heartwrenching and stomach-turning psychological thriller starring Ashley Judd as a mourning mother who thinks she’s found love but instead falls down a nightmarish rabbit hole of paranoia. Bug follows Agnes, who holes up in a shabby motel room with Peter (Micahel Shannon), a war veteran who is convinced there are bugs in his skin put there by the government.

Watching Agnes lose herself in her relationship is oddly endearing at first because the love between the two feels obvious. However, as things start to get increasingly dangerous for the two leads, the film becomes one of the most disturbing love stories of all time.

The Loved Ones

Hailing from Australia, this demented horror film features one of the most horrifying female villains of all time in the form of Lola Stone (Robin McLeavy), who kidnaps her crush Brent (Xavier Samuel) after he rejects her Prom invitation. Lola is a romantic but also a psychopath and forces Brent to participate in a homemade Prom of terror with her sadistic father Eric (John Brumpton).

The Loved Ones doesn’t feature a pair in love but instead showcases a scorned maniac who just wants a boyfriend. While Lola is terrifying to watch on screen, her quest for love adds another layer to this iconic villain. The movie features horrific sequences of torture, but there’s always a lingering theme of romance that creates a very bizarre and unconventional tone.

Trouble Every Day

Part of the New French Extremity horror movement, Trouble Every Day is a vampire romance film unlike anything else made before or after. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Claire Denis, this film stars Vincent Gallo as Shane, a recently married American doctor enjoying his honeymoon in Paris. However, Shane suffers from a terrifying affliction that makes him crave human blood when he engages in sexual relations.

Trouble Every Day is an understated genre-bender that plays out like a relationship drama for much of its runtime before descending into gory chaos. Trouble Every Day features some of the most vicious scenes of violence ever depicted on screen, but it also features tender sequences of love, which Denis manages to balance together well. Béatrice Dalle also delivers an unforgettably gritty performance as an extremely dangerous and seductive vampire.

Attachment

A Shudder original film, Attachment is a sweet love story with a tale of demonic possession at its forefront. Attachment follows Maja, a Danish actress, who falls in love with a British student named Leah. Their newfound romance brings the couple to London, where Leah is from, but soon, dark secrets kept by Leah’s mother threaten to destroy the couple’s relationship and possibly their lives.

Attachment is a horror film, but the basis of the plot revolves around the intimate relationship between Maja and Leah. The audience routes for the two’s romance to last, even while things look bleak. The film also does a great job of incorporating Jewish folklore into its horror elements. Although Attachment does get grim, this is a romantic horror film that actually does offer a bit of a happy ending.

High Tension

Another film part of the New French Extremity, High Tension (also known as Switchblade Romance) is an epic slasher with a twist ending that infuriates some and delights others. High Tension is directed by horror legend Alexandre Aja and stars Cécile de France as Marie, a student visiting her friend Alex’s family on their secluded farm. However, the quiet weekend of studying is halted when a murderous psychopath breaks into Alex’s family home.

While Marie spends most of the movie trying to rescue her kidnapped friend, the true twisted romance is not explored until the end of the film. It would be a spoiler to fully explain the romantic elements of High Tension, but the last 20 minutes showcase what is maybe the bloodiest exploration of love and obsession ever depicted in a film.

Only Lovers Left Alive

Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive is perhaps the least disturbing and most comical film on this list, but it may be the most passionately romantic as well. Only Lovers Left Alive stars Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as two immortal vampires who have been alive for centuries.

In order to survive, the vampires steal from blood banks and occasionally eat humans. Even the murders in this film are done in the name of love, and Swinton and Hiddleston are completely believable as two inhuman beings devoted to one another. While the film does contain horror elements, the best moments may come in the subtle romantic gestures done by the lead characters, like their long drives in the middle of the night.

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