When deciding on the perfect movie to watch during a night in on Valentine’s Day, it might sound unusual to throw out horror as an option. Well, first of all, there are plenty of couples who choose horror movies for date night on a regular basis. Second of all, romance is a key element to some of the best horror movies of all time, whether it be in a fun or even tragic sense.
After all, what better way to feel closer to your significant other than by getting creeped out together with something spooky, bloody, or even morbidly funny? The following are our picks for some romantic classics and modern favorites that do just that.
The lingering spirits of a recently deceased married couple (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) take desperate measures to scare off the posh, irritating family now occupying their house.
Why it’s a good date night horror movie: While Michael Keaton ends up stealing the show with his hilarious performance as the titular bio-exorcist, Beetlejuice – one of Tim Burton’s best movies – is, at its core, a heartwarming story of a husband and wife struggling to make a good life (or, more accurately, afterlife) for themselves.
Life After Beth (2014)
A young man (Dane DeHaan) is, at first, delighted to discover his girlfriend (Aubrey Plaza) has come back from the dead, until she begins to show signs of erratic and deadly behavior.
Why it’s a good date night horror movie: In one of two movies on our list about humans falling in love with zombies, Life After Beth – written and directed by Plaza’s real-life husband, Jeff Baena – is easily the more unapologetically disturbing of the two, but is still quite funny.
Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
A miserable musician (Tom Hiddleston) is thankfully reunited with his old flame (Tilda Swinton), whom he has been romantically involved with for centuries.
Why it’s a good date night horror movie: Only Lovers Left Alive is a powerful story about vampirism and love’s long-lasting power, told in a bizarre and quirky way that only writer and director Jim Jarmusch could.
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014)
A poor, young man (Arash Marandi) is entranced by a mysterious woman (Sheila Vand) who is not quite what she seems.
Why it’s a good date night horror movie: Another powerful love story on our list that involves themes of vampirism is the modern Iranian classic A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night – one of the best horror movies by a female director, namely Ana Lily Amirpour.
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Years after they all cruelly rejected their geeky high school classmate at a Valentine’s Day dance, five women suspect he may have returned to seek revenge when they find themselves stalked by a maniac disguised as Cupid.
Why it’s a good date night horror movie: In the tradition of holiday-inspired horror flicks like Halloween and creepy cautionary tales like I Know What You Did Last Summer, 2001’s Valentine is an entertaining, Agatha Christie-style cult slasher that could inspire kinder reactions to unwanted romance… if not some killer love letter quotes.
My Bloody Valentine (1981)
Citizens of a mining town get their hearts ripped out (literally) when they decide to ignore the legend of a killer who punishes anyone who celebrates on February 14th.
Why it’s a good date night horror movie: Exactly 20 years before Valentine, My Bloody Valentine brought terror to the most romantic day of the year and would since be remembered as one of the best ‘80s slasher movies by many fans, such as Quentin Tarantino, for one.
Bride Of Chucky (1998)
Chucky (Brad Dourif), a cuddly doll possessed by the spirit of a serial killer, reunites with his former flame, Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly), by magically transferring her soul into another doll and teaming up to find a pair of new human hosts.
Why it’s a good date night horror movie: A sequel to one of the best ‘80s slasher movies that actually encourages a celebration of love is 1998’s Bride of Chucky, which was also the first installment of the Child’s Play movies to really go head first into the franchise’s campier appeal.
The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)
Having inexplicably survived the riotous public reaction to his bizarre creation, Dr. Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) is forced by an even more “mad” scientist to create a female companion for The Monster (horror icon Boris Karloff).
Why it’s a good date night horror movie: A sequel to a classic monster movie that offers a cautionary perspective on love is 1935’s The Bride of Frankenstein, which is easily the most definitive and instantly recognizable example of a romantic horror film ever made.
Ready Or Not (2019)
A newly married young woman (rising Scream Queen Samara Weaving) learns a dark secret about her wealthy in-laws when a seemingly innocent invitation to play a game on her wedding night turns into a desperate fight for survival.
Why it’s a good date night horror movie: One of the best horror-comedy movies in recent memory is 2019’s Ready or Not – a wonderfully manic wild ride from 2022’s Scream filmmakers Radio Silence, that exaggerates any common bride-to-be (or even groom-to-be’s) worst fears to the goriest degree.
Shaun Of The Dead (2004)
A recently dumped aging slacker (co-writer Simon Pegg), along with his even less responsible best friend (Nick Frost), tries to rescue his ex-girlfriend (Kate Ashfield) and other loved ones from danger after London becomes overrun with reanimated, flesh-eating corpses.
Why it’s a good date night horror movie: Another bloody brilliant horror-comedy classic is 2004’s Shaun of the Dead – co-writer and director Edgar Wright’s breakout hit that also made history as the first-ever romantic zombie comedy… let alone one of the most surprisingly relatable and grounded zombies movies since George A. Romero invented the sub-genre.
Warm Bodies (2013)
A young, reanimated victim of the zombie apocalypse (Nicholas Hoult) begins to show unusually human characteristics after crossing paths with a beautiful, female survivor (Teresa Palmer).
Why it’s a good date night horror movie: The romantic zombie comedy would continue with an inventive twist in 2013’s Warm Bodies – director Jonathan Levine’s heartwarming adaptation of Isaac Marion’s novel that reimagines Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet as a post-apocalyptic, coming-of-age story.
Tucker And Dale Vs. Evil (2010)
A horrible misunderstanding causes a group of vacationing college students to assume that two well-meaning rednecks (Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk) are out to kill them.
Why it’s a good date night horror movie: Another example of a great horror-comedy about unlikely romance is 2010’s Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, in which Labine’s absent-minded hillbilly, Dale, and his attractive new friend, Allison (Katrina Bowden), begin to grow quite fond of each other amid the ensuing chaos surrounding them in director Eli Craig’s clever slasher send-up.
Happy Death Day (2017)
A stuck-up sorority girl (Jessica Rothe) finds herself trapped in a time loop, which gives her an advantage in attempting to figure out who is trying to kill her and why.
Why it’s a good date night horror movie: Unlikely romance would continue to be a common theme in the horror-comedy sub-genre with the 2017 release of director Christopher Landon’s Happy Death Day, in which Rothe’s character, Tree, begins to grow quite fond of Carter (Israel Broussard) every single time she wakes up in his bed for as long as her nightmarish time loop lasts.
Desperate for a getaway following the death of his mother, a young American man (Lou Taylor Pucci) takes a trip to Italy where he soon falls for a woman (Nadia Hilker) who is not quite what she seems.
Why it’s a good date night horror movie: Less a story about unlikely romance as much as it is a meditation on the transformative power of love, 2014’s Spring is a surprisingly inspirational tale from directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead that imagines what a collaboration between Richard Linklater (a la the Before Trilogy) and H.P. Lovecraft might be like.
The Fly (1986)
Soon after he has struck up a romance with a beautiful journalist (Geena Davis), a brilliant scientist (Jeff Goldblum) begins to undergo a slow, horrifying metamorphosis when his self-conducted test of an instant transportation device goes haywire.
Why it’s a good date night horror movie: Speaking of transformation, I would not be surprised if Spring was at all inspired by director David Cronenberg’s 1986 remake of The Fly – one of the best Jeff Goldblum movies that is also widely praised for its astonishing and intense body horror elements (courtesy of Oscar-winning makeup effects) but not praised enough as a moving romantic tragedy.
Let The Right One In (2008)
A neglected and bullied young boy (Kåre Hedebrant) becomes smitten with a mysterious girl (Lina Leandersson) who is hiding a very strange and disturbing secret.
Why it’s a good date night horror movie: Another film about a person unwittingly falling in love with a supernatural creature is 2008’s Let the Right One In – director Tomas Alfredson’s masterful Swedish vampire drama (which Matt Reeves remade in 2010) that brilliantly exaggerates the perils of developing your first childhood crush to an exceptionally grim degree.
The lingering spirit of a Manhattan banker (Patrick Swayze) enlists a medium (Academy Award winner Whoopi Goldberg) to help him avenge his murder and prevent his girlfriend (Demi Moore) from falling prey to the same fate.
Why it’s a good date night horror movie: Less a horror film as much as it is an intense supernatural thriller, 1991’s commercially successful Best Picture Oscar nominee Ghost is remembered even better for moments like the memorable pottery spinning scene, set to the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody,” that make it one of the most uplifting and sexiest films of its time or any time.
Call me crazy, but, to me, a night of chills and thrills sounds like the perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day, and, thankfully, my own wife agrees. If that sounds like your kind of date night, you cannot go wrong with any of the titles above.
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Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.