The horror genre is as versatile as it is unique. Despite being considered as the most detached from other movie genres, it successfully encapsulates a fusion of other genres. Such as thriller, comedy, and most importantly, romance. The addition of romance elevates the experience of a horror film, whether used as a simple plot device or in a complete story arc.
Featuring the best of both worlds: the lovely and terrifying, here are some of the best horror romance movies, ranked:
8 Jennifer’s Body (2009)
Anita “Needy” (Amanda Seyfried) is a quiet girl who is best friends with the extremely popular Jennifer (Megan Fox). When an encounter with a shady rock band turns Jennifer into a blood-sucking demon that targets men, it is up to Needy to stop Jennifer’s trail of blood, even if it means jeopardizing their own unique bond.
Directed by Karyn Kusama, Jennifer’s Body has recently been perceived in a brand new feminist light, despite the mountains of criticism it has dealt with before. Jennifer’s Body was previously mocked for its characters, and is now being hailed for its inherent symbolism through gore and a very twisted sapphic relationship that transcends beyond just providing cheap thrills.
7 A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)
A Chinese Ghost Story follows a young debt collector named Ning Caichen (Tony Leung), who has no money and decides to spend the night at an abandoned temple. Unbeknownst to him, the temple is haunted by various demonic spirits and ghosts, in particular, the alluring Nie Xiaoqian (Joey Wong). Charmed by her beauty, yet too dense to interpret her seduction, Ning Caichen is unaffected by her tricks. Frustrated, Nie Xiaoqian finds herself falling for this ordinary man, despite being forever tied to the demon tree.
Directed by Ching Siu Ting, this Hong Kong film is a classic and the poster child for horror romance cinema. When it was initially aired, it captivated everyone’s hearts by seamlessly merging the realms of Chinese mythology and Wuxia, with simple and tragic romance. Despite numerous attempts to adapt and remake this story, no other work has come this close to maintaining the original spark of horror and innocent romance.
6 Crimson Peak (2015)
Set in Edwardian England, the story follows Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), an heiress and aspiring author who, to her father’s dismay, falls in love with the elusive Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). Despite many objections, the two get married, and move to Sharpe’s home, a secluded mansion in the hills. Stuck between strange in-laws and even stranger supernatural entities, Edith’s sanity is tested beyond its limits.
Directed by the Academy Award-winning Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water), this gothic romance is a spooky cautionary tale laced with horror and mystery. With praise received for its grotesquely beautiful cinematography, Crimson Peak is an example of fusion horror at its finest.
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5 Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
In 1462, Vlad the Impaler (Gary Oldman) returns home from war to find that his wife Elisabetta (Winona Ryder) has killed herself, her soul being damned to hell. Overcome by grief, Vlad vows to avenge Elisabetta, giving in to the dark side and becoming an immortal.
In 1897, Vlad, now referred to as Count Dracula, sees the photo of his solicitor Jonathan’s (Keanu Reeves) fiancée Mina (Winona Ryder), believing that she is the reincarnation of Elisabetta. Thus follows a series of trials, tribulations and deaths, as Dracula tries to reunite with his long-lost love.
Directed by the Academy Award-winning Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather), Dracula pays homage to the 1897 novel with its own creative liberties. Hailed as a cult classic in horror and romance, the film boasts incredible performances and does not hold back with its most important agenda; that the ruthless Dracula always had a heart.
4 Thirst (2009)
Sang-hyun (Song Kang-ho) is a Catholic priest who volunteers for an experiment for a vaccine cure to a deadly virus. When the experiment goes horribly wrong, Sang-hyun is the only survivor, but his life takes a supernatural turn when he finds himself craving human blood.
Sang-hyun proceeds to volunteer at a hospital to quench his thirst, where he comes across Tae-ju (Kim Ok-bin), the wife of his childhood friend. What starts as kindness becomes something more sinister as Sang-hyun struggles to hide his desire for her.
Directed by the Cannes Award-winning Park Chan-wook (Old Boy), Thirstexplores the blurred lines between right and wrong, weaving its tale of romance into an otherwise gory horror movie. With stellar performances from the award-winning Song Kang-ho (Parasite) and Kim Ok-bin (The Villainess), the film is dark and moody, yet with a carnal innocence in its otherwise illicit affairs.
3 Warm Bodies (2013)
The story is told from the perspective of R (Nicholas Hoult), a young zombie with an incredible taste in music. When he comes across a group of humans out on a scavenger hunt, he senses a strange, instant connection with Julie (Teresa Palmer). With the rule being to shoot every zombie on sight, Julie struggles to keep R safe from humans, while he tries his best to keep her safe from other zombies, igniting a tale of innocent love that knows no bounds.
Adapted from the novel of the same name by Isaac Marion, and directed by Jonathan Levine, WarmBodies is like the light at the end of a horror tunnel. A tale of timeless romance in a world that has been completely destroyed by a zombie virus, this film offers redemption to the villain, an act of deliberate subversion that explores discrimination and love beyond the boundaries set by nature in a Shakespearean take on a classic horror film.
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2 The Odd Family: Zombie On Sale (2019)
The film tells the story of a dysfunctional family that owns a gas station in a village. Man-deok (Park In-hwan) is a crotchety old man who is the father to three children: eldest Joon-geol (Jung Jae-young) who is married to Nam-joo (Uhm Ji-won), middle child and city boy Min-geol (Kim Nam-gil), and the eccentric youngest daughter Hae-geol (Lee Soo-kyung).
When a strange young man (Jung Ga-ram) enters the village, everyone fails to grasp that he is a zombie, leading to old man Man-deok devising a plan to make a profit by using him. Trapping the zombie, the family sets up an elaborate scheme, while the lonely Hae-geol forms a romantic bond with Jjong-bi (the name she gives him).
In a stunning directorial debut by Lee Min-Jae, The Odd Family: Zombie On Sale is the perfect blend of horror, absurdist comedy, and romance, packed within a two hour time-frame. Featuring an ensemble cast with incredible chemistry, the film breaks away from the formula of the typical zombie movie, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats.
1 The Fly (1986)
Eccentric Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) is a scientist who is conducting research on subject teleportation between two controlled environments. He meets science journalist Ronnie (Geena Davis) at a press event, and the two spark a relationship.
When experimental negligence causes a fly to enter one of the pods, Seth’s body undergoes a molecular transformation, his cells merging with the fly’s cells. With his body converted into a rapidly deteriorating time bomb, Seth and Ronnie are faced with a terrible hurdle in their relationship.
Directed by award-winning actor and Palme D’Or -nominated director David Cronenberg (Crimesof the Future), TheFly is a cinematic masterpiece that combines horror with science-fiction, creating an entirely unique mix with a tragic romance at its heart.