The vampire girl about to bite off a man's finger in "A girl walks home alone at night"
(Vice Films/Kino Lorber)

‘Horror Romance’ Is a Seriously Underrated Genre—Here Are 10 of the Best

Love and gore, two things that never fail to get the blood pumping! While horror movies are surprisingly short on romance in favor of mortal dread, exceptions to the rule exist! These ten films prove that kisses and scares go together like chocolate and wine! Or hearts and knife wounds!

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10. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

Two blood spattered country bumpkins stand in the woods in "Tucker and Dale vs. Evil"
(Magnet Releasing)

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is a horror rom-com, one of the sweetest ones ever told at that. Tucker and Dale are two well-intentioned country bumpkins who end up making the wrong impression on a group of twenty-somethings going on vacation in the woods. Through a series of mishaps, the youths keep accidentally dying, with the innocent Tucker and Dale always seemingly to blame. It’s not Dale’s fault he ran out of the woods waving a chainsaw! He was being chased by bees!

Meanwhile, Tucker ends up falling for one of the vacationers, the only one who doesn’t believe these two good old boys are murderous Texas Chainsaw Massacre-style psychopaths.

9. Warm Bodies

girl (Teresa Palmer) lying on her stomach gazing at boy (Nicholas Hoult) in Warm Bodies

A zom-com! How romantic! Eight years after the zombie apocalypse, teen zombie “R” (at least he thinks his name used to start with that letter) is trying to figure out unlife with his best zombie friend “M”. One day, R and his zombie cohort come across a group of young survivors, including the beautiful Julie and her boyfriend Perry. After R eats Perry’s brain, he begins to experience Perry’s memories and fall in love with Julie. The pair strike up a human/zombie romance, where R is turned slowly more human by the power of love. Love really does conquer all, even death.

8. Spontaneous

Rob Huebel, Piper Perabo, and Katherine Langford in Spontaneous
(Paramount Pictures)

Spontaneous is beautiful, tragic, hilarious, and absolutely gross. The students at Covington High are exploding. Not with stress or emotion or whatever, they’re literally exploding and showering their classmates with blood and body parts. Filled with the existential dread that comes with realizing each moment could be their last, two students Mara and Dylan begin a wild, debauched, and totally adorable romance. The film is a nail-on-the-head metaphor for life and the sad truth that no one is safe from a sudden death, not even youth.

7. Thelma

A young woman stares blankly with electrodes hooked to her head in "Thelma"
(SF Norge)

Thelma has it rough. She’s a sheltered teenager raised in an ultra-religious family in Norway. To make things worse, she starts having unexplainable seizures while in college, and doctors are baffled as to the cause. To make things even worse, she discovers that she has feelings towards a girl in her class Anja, which causes her to be wracked with guilt due to her upbringing. And to make things even WORSE she begins manifesting uncontrollable telekinetic powers whenever Anja is around. And worst of all? When she concentrates her power, she is able to make people she thinks about disappear from existence. Things are gonna get really, really, REALLY messy.

6. Spring

A man sits on a stone wall while a woman lays her head on his lap in "Spring"

Spring is one of the few films that can portray eldritch horror in a visual medium. And in combination with romance? A genre win-win! The film revolves around an Italian woman who strikes up a romance with an American man traveling through the country. There’s something a little … off about her. She keeps turning into a reptile tentacle-looking monster and eating living things. Her American lover doesn’t seem to mind all that much, but her mysterious and alien existence may soon prove to be both of their undoing. Some differences really are irreconcilable… or are they?

5. Bones and All

Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell in Bones and All sitting

Teenager Maren Yearly has a problem. She just can’t stop eating human flesh. After she murdered and tried to eat her babysitter as a three-year-old, Maren’s dad did his best to raise his little cannibal. He eventually abandoned her on her 18th birthday, leaving her to wander the world alone. She runs into the handsome young cannibal Lee mid-meal outside of a store, and the pair embark on a cross-country road trip where they fall in love and … eat more people. Like any relationship, they have their problems. They argue, mostly about the morality of their nature and who they should and shouldn’t eat. In all matters of love, sometimes a little give and take is necessary.

4. Only Lovers Left Alive

Tilda Swinton in 'Only Lovers Left Alive' (2013)
(Sony Pictures Classics)

While light on horror, Only Lovers Left Alive is heavy on the world-weary, existential romance. The film concerns a pair of vampire lovers in a long-distance relationship between Detroit and Tunisia. The pair decide to meet up again in America, and are soon forced to go on the run after a third vampire ends up putting them in a messy situation. The plot of Lovers doesn’t really matter. It’s more of a moody thought experiment. What if you truly had eternity to spend with the one you love? Does love really make living forever worth living?

3. The Fly

A mutated man embraces a woman on a living room floor in "The Fly"
(20th Century Fox)

While “romance” may not be the first word that comes to mind when thinking about David Cronenberg’s body horror mainstay The Fly, the film is indeed a love story at its core. After a teleportation experiment gone wrong causes a scientist to accidentally splice his genes with a fly, his girlfriend is forced to watch as the man she loves mutates into a horrifying monster. It’s “would you still love me if I was a worm” played out to the nth degree. When your boyfriend starts sticking to walls, vomiting on food to digest it, and trying to meld you into himself as one giant flesh monster, who could blame you for saying “no”?

2. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

A woman dressed in black, shot in black and white, in "A girl walks home alone at night"
(Vice Films/Kino Lorber)

A Girl Walks Home At Night is an Iranian-language vampire film that is just … hot. The film is shot entirely in black and white in a desolate desert town, giving the action a haunted yet romantic feel. The titular “girl” is a young vampire clad in a flowing black chador, who skateboards around after dusk looking for men to eat. She soon finds a sweet, vulnerable guy walking home from a Halloween party and takes him back to her apartment to strike up a romance. The best part? One of sexiest, thrilling-est, and most tender one-take ever shot, where the woman resists biting into his neck for five straight minutes while the pair listens to the banger “Death” by White Lies. Jawdropping. Pun intended.

1. Let The Right One In

A child with blood on her face looks at the camera while a smaller blond boy sits behind her
(2008 Sandrew Metronome)

Vampire stories naturally lend themselves to romance, so it’s no surprise that the best vampire story ever told is at the top of this list. Let The Right One In is about a lonely, bullied young boy living in Sweden who strikes up a friendship with a mysterious neighborhood girl. The girl reveals that she is a vampire, and what does the boy do? Run in terror? No, he vows to protect his only friend in the world. Even if that means helping her… feed. It’s a coming-of-age tale about budding young love between two isolated kids, but don’t let that fool you, this movie is HEAVY on the horror. The pool scene at the end of the film would be the stuff of nightmares if it wasn’t also so damn sweet and romantic. Trust me, you’ll see what I mean.

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Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.