Halloween is a fangtastic time of year, but when you’ve grown out of trick-or-treating, sometimes it’s hard to figure out how exactly you want to celebrate the creepiest night of the year. For those who aren’t rushing out to the wild monster mashes on Halloween night, try watching the most romantic horror films available with someone special (undead or otherwise).
Sometimes a zombie is a better husband and father than the man you married. The makers of this 2007 Canadian film understood that.
In a 1950s reality where space radiation has turned a large percentage of the population into zombies, the friendly-but-questionable company ZomCon has invented a collar that turns zombies from flesh-eating horrors into undead Roombas. And the Robinsons are the latest family in the suburb to get their very own zombie.
Carrie-Anne Moss (Yes, I’m talking about Trinity from “The Matrix”) plays wife Helen Robinson. Watching her fall in love and even slow dance with a rotting corpse named Fido (Billy Connolly) while her husband (Dylan Baker) ignores her to fixate on funerals is just a treat. She hams it up in the best way possible, and Fido manages to be a damn good romantic leading man despite only ever talking in grunts and growls.
Where to watch: Tubi; or rent from Amazon Prime, YouTube, or AppleTV.
By far the most intense, sensual, and disturbing film on this list, “Thirst” is a wild ride from start to finish. If you’re in the mood to read a movie, this Korean vampire flick is worth checking out. Director Park Chan-Woo is known for perverted and brutal-yet-beautiful romances, and the leads in this film are no different.
“Thirst” follows Sang-hyun, played with great depth by Song Kang-ho from “Parasite” fame, a Catholic priest who has undergone medical experiments that awakens in him a taste for blood and a desire for sin. But the real star of this film is Kim Ok-bin as the deceitful and complicated Tae-ju. The audience can never quite get a handle on whether she is demure and abused or a sadistic killer with a smile on her face.
This film is not for the faint of heart. Blood, sex, abuse, and religious guilt abound. Every once in a while, it veers into a strange, absurd scene, but for the most part, it keeps a slow drawn-out pace, concerned with its central troubled relationship. Only watch “Thirst” if you’re willing to be a little emotionally freaked out by the time the credits roll.
Where to watch: Peacock; or rent from Amazon Prime or YouTube.
‘Warm Bodies’ (2013)
Ten years after its debut, “Warm Bodies” is for two types of people: folks who never grew out of their supernatural teen romance phase, and people who fell in love with Nicholas Hoult after seeing “Renfield” (2023) last spring. Either way, this film holds up — and that’s not just my inner 11-year-old speaking.
“Warm Bodies” is a heart-warming (if a bit cheesy) zombie re-telling of “Romeo and Juliet.” Told from the perspective of R (Nicholas Hoult), a zombie with minimal memories of who he was when he was alive, the audience gets to see how his zombie life is turned upside down after saving a young woman (Teresa Palmer) from his fellow undead. As these fated lovers get closer, the question becomes clear: Can love restart a zombie’s heart?
Where to watch: Netflix; or rent from Amazon Prime.
A Frankenstein female revenge fantasy with a shocking twist? Sign me up!
“Patchwork” feels like a campy comic book come to life. Three young women (Tory Stolper, Tracey Fairaway, and Maria Blasucci) wake up to find themselves stitched together into one body. Together they have to figure out how they get stuck this way, how to cope with each other — and the list of men they need to kill. Every step of their journey is filled with bones cracking and popping, creating an eerie and discomforting soundscape. The costumes and practical effects teeter into silliness, but the camera shots at times elevate it.
“But where’s the romance?” you may ask. Fear not, because this Frankenstein finds love along the way of her murder spree. Does it count as polyamory if three people are sharing one body?
Where to watch: Tubi; or rent from Amazon Prime or YouTube
‘Fear Street’ Trilogy (2021)
If you’re looking for a real movie marathon night, let me point you in the direction of the “Fear Street” trilogy — a series of Netflix originals. This set of three movies unspools the narrative of one town across time and the witch who cursed it, moving from 1994 back to 1978 and finally to 1666. Each film adds in a new complicated layer of lore and history while never forgetting to include some bloody good kills.
At times, it feels like it harkens to older slasher flicks; at others, it deconstructs a cycle of generational violence and trauma. Each of the films has a different aesthetic matching its time period, but at the heart of it all is the witch Sarah Fier (Kiana Madeira and Elizabeth Scopel) and a surprisingly transgressive queer love story.
Where to watch: Netflix