Article: 5 Great Romantic Horror Movies

Article

Horror movies aren’t normally associated with romance; most of the time the goal of a horror movie is to cause unrelenting terror to the viewer.  However, as we all know, horror can be a very experimental genre that incorporates multiple elements beyond giving us the willies; and sometimes, they’ve told a love story.  In celebration of this years romantic horrific masterpiece, Spring, I have decided to look back on some of the others that have tugged on my heart strings throughout the years – and moulded me into the hopeless romantic I am today.  Now, if I only I could date a chick who isn’t my own dead grandmother… but I digress.

1 – Red, White & Blue (2010)

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By far the most disturbing movie on the list – and one of the most disturbing movies you’re ever likely to see – but the theme of true love is what drives it.  Erica (Amanda Fuller) is a promiscuous girl who likes to make the beast with two backs with any man she comes into contact with.  Nate (Noah Taylor) is a psychotic ex-soldier who falls for her, and a relationship ensues.  However, when that relationship is threatened, Nate goes on a rampage, and when Nate goes on a rampage, people get hurt.

If you can get past how incredibly messed up, unflinching and disturbing this movie is, what you’ll find is a love story between 2 outcasts drifting through life.  The lengths Nate goes to win back his girl are extreme, but it’s for love.  In a way, that’s kinda beautiful.

2 – Let The Right One In (2008)

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To put it simply: Tomas Afredson’s Let The Right One In is one of the most beautiful movies ever made.  Both to look at, but more importantly, the content of the story and themes, this is absolutely stunning.  It’s about a young boy who falls in love with his neighbour, who just so happens to be a vampire.

Let The Right One In is a tale of young love which explores the theme of alienation.  Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) is a loner who’s spent his childhood being bullied, and Eli (Lina Leandersson) has spent hundreds of years, moving around, trying to survive.  Not until they meet each other have they ever felt a strong bond with someone else.  It’s a masterpiece.

3 – Shaun of the Dead (2004)

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The tagline to Edgar Wright’s cult classic reads: ”It’s a romantic comedy.  With zombies.”  And that’s exactly what it is.  Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a slacker who likes to spend his free time getting drunk with his even lazier best friend, Ed (Nick Frost), to the irritation of his girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield).  When Liz dumps him, Shaun sets out to win her back and fights through hordes of zombies in order to do so.

This was the first movie of the Cornetto Trilogy, and the cinematic womb that gave birth to the ”zom-com.”  Very few movies match Shaun of the Dead for hilarity and touching moments, but the core theme is a slacker becoming a grown up and fighting to win his girl back.

4 – Highway To Hell (1991)

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You know when people say they’d go to hell and back for their loved ones?  Well, that’s just what Charlie (Chad Stokes) has to do for the love of his life, Rachel (Kristy Swanson), after she’s arrested by Hellcop, and taken to the underworld to be the Devil’s new squeeze.

This is smart, offbeat, cheesy, charming and hilarious; Hell is presented as an open highway wasteland, paved with good intentions, and it’s filled with quirky characters.  On his journey, Charlie meets a cook (played by Ben Stiller), Hitler, Attila The Hun and a host of unforgettable characters based on historical figures and original quirkies.  This is a forgotten gem that needs a DVD/Blu-Ray release to be rediscovered.

5 – Return of the Living Dead (1993)

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Brian Yuzna’s Return of the Living Dead Part 3 is a departure from the comedic previous instalments into darker territory.  Curt (J. Trevor Edmond) and Julie (Melinda Clarke) are 2 rebellious young lovers with a case of, ”us against the world.”  It’s loosely inspired by Romeo & Juliet, in a way, with a little Re-Animator thrown in.  Anyway, when Julie dies in a motorcycle accident, Curt uses the Trioxin zombie gas to bring her back from the dead – but she’s hungry.

Much like David Cronenberg’s 1986 romantic body horror, The Fly, it deals with a couple clinging on to love as one of them loses their humanity; this is a representation of loving your partner through the sickness that comes with the whole ”sickness and health” spiel you hear at weddings.  Return of the Living Dead Part 3 is a Shakespearian love tragedy in the guise of a body horror, and it’s Yuzna’s most accomplished work to date.

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Movie Review: Spring (2014)

Movie Reviews

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I’m a sucker for a good love story, I admit it:  As a teenager I discovered Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise (1995) and became an instant fan, discovering all of his old films and keeping track of his career ever since.  Followed by 2 sequels, the Before trilogy has been a regular viewing fixture in my life; the characters feel like old friends and I like to visit them from time to time.  I’m have an emotional attachment to these characters because they feel so real; and now with Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson’s mumblecore fantasy hybrid, Spring, I have found myself smitten once again; the same way I was as a teenage boy, sitting in my underwear, watching love blossom between Jesse and Celine.

Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) has just lost his mother and decides to take a trip to Italy to avoid problems at home; he’s in a dead end job and possibly facing assault charges, so on the advice of a one night stand, he boards the first random flight the next day.  When he arrives he meets the beautiful and mysterious, Louise (Nadia Hilker), and they spark up a romance.  However, Louise is harbouring a dark secret.

Spring is, first and foremost, a love story about two troubled characters meeting by chance and discovering an undeniable bond.  The chemistry between them is natural: the way they get to know each other is naturalistic, whether it’s taking their time to roam the streets deep in conversation, or just sharing a bottle of wine, it all feels very organic and natural.  The mumblecore aesthetic is never pretentious in the slightest.

The horror/fantasy element might be too divergent for some to accept, and it’s understandable why one might feel that way; with such a sweet blossoming love story between 2 people who are extremely likeable, you just want to see them live happily ever after without complications.  But, the addition of the darker elements only strengthens the idea of true love; if you can love someone unconditionally, regardless of what they’re like at their worst, then you’ve found the one, and that’s the message I believe the story is portraying.  A great man who goes by the name, Haddaway, once asked the question, what is love?  Love is embracing someone at their very best and worst.  That’s what love is, people.

Spring deserves all of the plaudits it’s receiving; it’s a wonderful love story that isn’t afraid to remind you that love can be as difficult as it can be beautiful.  Benson and Moorhead have created the ultimate date movie for those who aren’t interested in Hollywood’s unrealistic fables.  This isn’t a horror movie at all; but the idea of our protagonists perhaps not getting the happily ever after they deserve is more horrifying than a monster eating people.  If there’s a hopeless romantic inside you then Spring is going to tug on your heart strings.  From locations; to story; to performances; to the score, this is the most beautiful movie you’re likely to see this year, and it accomplishes this without hitting any corny high notes.  9/10

Directed By:

Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead

Written By:

Justin Benson

Starring:

Lou Taylor Pucci, Nadia Hilker, Vanessa Bednar

Genre:

Romance, Sci-Fi, Horror

Running Time:

109 min

Movie Review: Nightbreed: Director’s Cut (2014)

Fantasy Horror, Horror, Movie Reviews

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Let’s face it: As wildly imaginative and wonderful as the 1990 theatrical cut of Nightbreed is, it feels like a rushed effort that’s been more chopped and skewed than a Lil John album.  Despite being a film you can watch repeatedly, a black cloud hovers above it suggesting that it could have been so much more.  Upon it’s original release, the studio didn’t know how to market it and it suffered as a result, but there was enough fantastical beauty to make it a cult classic and make us wish that Midian was a real place.  Now, thanks to Scream Factory, we get to see Clive Barker’s tale the way it was originally intended to be without pesky studio meddling.  The question is: was it worth the wait?

You better believe it was.

In case you aren’t familiar with Nightbreed, it’s a film adaptation of Clive Barker’s novella, Cabal.  It stars Craig Sheffer as Boone, a troubled young man plagued by nightmares of a sub-cemetery community known as Midian, where monsters and creatures dwell.  Meanwhile, there’s a serial killer on the loose murdering families, and Boone’s ex-psychiatrist, Decker (David Cronenberg) convinces Boone that he’s the culprit and must turn himself in.  That night, Boone is hospitalized and he hears a mental patient talking about Midian, and said patient tells him how to get there.  Once he arrives, he’s chased out and shot dead by police, which was Decker’s plan all along so he could locate Midian for his own sick agenda.  Later that night, Boone rises from the dead and gains entry to Midian, but his girlfriend tracks him down and gets into a spot of bother with Decker, causing Boone to rush to her aid.  However, Decker escapes and brings the authorities and angry locals along to wage war on the creatures of Midian, and it’s up to Boone to save the day.

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When Nightbreed was released the studio didn’t know how to market it and missed the point entirely: If you’ve read Barker’s work, you’ll know that that he sympathizes with outcasts.  The monsters in Nightbreed were never intended to be the baddies: the real villains were the humans for trying to destroy what they didn’t understand.  Midian was a peaceful community, governed by law and hidden from the living world.  The humans on the other hand were all savages who wanted to kill the monsters just for being monsters.  It’s a metaphor for prejudice, but the studio wanted the monsters to be predators and not the victims.

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Thanks to the Director’s Cut, the backstory of the creatures of Midian has been fleshed out and they’re portrayed the way they were originally intended.  Furthermore, the relationship between Boone and his girlfriend is given more time to flourish.  While still retaining strong horror elements, the new version of Nightbreed is more of a fantasy love story, and if that puts you off, you might just find yourself missing out on a wonderful film.  Most of Clive Barker’s work is difficult to categorize due to the depth of it all: Nightbreed is his most transcendent movie to date and unlike anything else your bound to see.

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Boasting fantastic practical creature designs, striking cinematography and an epically menacing otherworldly score by Danny Elfman, Nightbreed is the type of escapism that sucks you into a world you’ll get lost in.  Clive Barker wanted this to be the, ”Star Wars of monster movies” and with this cut, he gets his wish: Although Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008) might have something to say about that… Regardless, Nightbreed doesn’t have to be compared to anything because it’s a rare original beast no other movie has ever come close to being comparable to.  Pure cinematic gold. 9/10

Directed By:

Clive Barker

Written By:

Clive Barker

Starring:

Craig Sheffer, David Cronenberg, Anne Bobby, Doug Bradley

Running Time:

122 mins

Genre:

Fantasy, Horror, Romance