It’s Leap Fear Month here at Nightmare on Film Street, focusing on terrors from every time period. Earlier this week, we looked at 10 Tragic Horror Love Stories Set in the Past, and today we’re here to take a look at 10 Modern Day Tragedies.
The films below have the same feel and aesthetic as gothic romances but set in the year they were filmed. Some picks may be controversial, but give it a chance, snuggle up next to your favorite horror lover and get ready for 10 Tragic Horror Love Stories Set in the Present!
10. Good Manners (2017)
Kicking off this list we’ve got Good Manners (2017), a Brazilian film from directors Marco Dutra and Juliana Rojas. This is the story of a nurse, Clara, who is hired by a wealthy pregnant woman, Ana, to be her nurse and nanny. The two develop a love for one another, but there is something strange about Ana and her unborn child. The film is full of surprises that I won’t spoil here, but this is definitely a story of love that is simply doomed to a tragic end.
9. Thirst (2009)
Thirst is a tale of lust, desire, and the unstoppable destruction wrought by a lurid affair. Did we mention there are vampires too? In this Korean film, Hyo-sung, a priest, undergoes a medical procedure that unwittingly turns him into a vampire. Abandoning his priesthood for the bloodlust and carnal lust he now experiences, Hyo-sung happens upon childhood friend Tae-ju. Now married and in an abusive relationship, the pair plot to rid themselves if Tae-ju husband so that they may continue their budding affair. Complications arise as they often do when vampires are involved and Hyo-sung is faced with a difficult decision regarding his beloved.
8. The Fly (1986)
David Cronenberg’s classic adaptation of the story of a scientist who unwittingly turns himself into a monster. Starring Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park) and Geena Davis (Beetlejuice), this version takes it to a very gruesome level with flesh falling off in clumps! At its core, though, the film touches on the idea that obsession can push away those you love and leave you a monster. It’s a truly tragic story, and even when half- fly, you cab feel the sadness through Goldblum’s performance. Perhaps the most powerful line in the film is, “I’m an insect who dreamt he was a man and loved it. But now the dream is over…”
7. The Haunted Mansion (2003)
This adaptation of the famous Disney World attraction stars Eddie Murphy and Marsha Thomason as realtors who are called to an irresistible business opportunity at a run down mansion. They along with their family visit the mansion, but soon come to find out that everything is not as it seems. It seems the spirits who reside in the mansion have a tragic history involving the master’s lover who was taken from him and who bears a striking resemblance to Sara (Marsha Thomason). The story is fun, spooky, and ultimately shows the persistence of love even from beyond the grave.
6. Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
That’s right, another vampire flick! But what can you really expect? Vampires are like the quintessential gothic romance! This film, though, has a different take on the trope. Starring Tom Hiddleston (Crimson Peak) as Adam, a depressed, centuries-old vampire, and his long time partner Eve, played by Tilda Swinton (Doctor Strange), this story is not so much one of a love that could not work but more of an exploration on monogamy. When Eve’s younger sister, Ava (Mia Wasikowska) turns up, Adam and Eve’s lives are disrupted, and they must explore their relationship and what they want of life or un-life as it were. Definitely a somber take on a relatively tired trope. Featuring one of Anton Yelchin’s (Green Room) final performances, this is one you definitely want to check out!
5. Warm Bodies (2013)
Well since the sister list included Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016), how about Romeo and Juliet and Zombies? Warm Bodies is essentially that. Instead of Romeo, we follow a zombie by the name of R who falls in love with a living girl named Julie, clever, I know. But their worlds are entirely different, and to top it off, R has actually killed Julie’s boyfriend and continues to eat his brain as leftovers! The parallels to Shakespeare are clear, but the ending to this story may surprise you. This is a clever take on an old story and the horror and gore elements are not lacking!
4. Rift (2017)
The dreaded text from the ex. It comes out of nowhere and as much as your friends tell you it’s not a good idea, you really want to reply. For Gunnar, the desperate and concerning text he receives from his ex, Einar, is something he simply cannot ignore. After trekking out to Einar’s isolated cabin, the two begin to examine their relationship and whether there is anything to salvage. Outside the cabin, however, something lurks looking for a way inside. This Icelandic film provides some spooky atmosphere with some heavy psychological themes. This is definitely one to throw on if you’re feeling introspective and nostalgic about old loves!
3. Return of the Living Dead III (1993)
This was the first “Return” movie I saw. I was so intrigued by the zombie mythos presented in this film that I had to seek out the other entries. Curt is the son of a top-secret military official who plans to use zombies as combatants for the US Military. After his girlfriend is killed in a motorcycle accident, Curt reanimates her, but they must now deal with her cravings for human brains. Ultimately, this is one of the most touching horror romances with Curt doing everything in his power to ensure that his beloved is taken care of.
2. Hellraiser (1987)
Okay, I know what you’re thinking, “Hellraiser? How is that a love story?’ Well, how much do you have to love someone to make out with them even when they don’t have any skin! This is Clive Barker’s directorial debut and he does not pull any punches. After moving into a new home with her husband, a woman discovers her former lover’s undead form in an upstair bedroom, having escaped his eternal punishment at the hands of interdimensional demons. The demons however, are not pleased and proceed to hunt the man through those around him. How far will you go for the one you love? Would you seduce and murder random men for their goopy consumption?
1. Candyman (1992)
Another Clive Barker film, this time directed by Bernard Rose, Candyman follows a familiar gothic romance format with an old spirit becoming obsessed with a modern woman who reminds him of his lost love. In this case, the spirit is a local legend of a Candyman who was the son of a former slave and was murdered after he impregnates a wealthy landowner’s daughter. When a graduate student begins investigating the urban legend, the Candyman is brought into reality, and he is not losing his love again, whether she is interested or not!
What did you think of these picks? Are they spooky enough for your Valentine’s date? Let us know on Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, or the Horror Fiends of Nightmare on Facebook Group!