Trust is an important component of any relationship, especially when it comes to the respective sanctity of marriage. Your spouse should be the person you trust above all, knowing their deepest, darkest secrets and entrusting yours with them. The horror genre easily has its pick of elaborating on themes of jealousy, betrayal, trauma, suspicion, lust, and all other aspects of the human psyche associated with keeping secrets, especially when it collides with matters of the heart.
Ironically, your partner is the primary source of your vulnerabilities, being the most likely candidate to be your worst enemy. Whether it’s by telling an innocent white lie or pushing their significant other off of a cliff, everyone has something to hide from their betrothed. Some spouses chose to ignore the lies their significant others tell while some easily see right through them, but the following 10 Horror Spouses Keeping A Secret prove on universal truth: The ones we love do hurt us the most.
Secrets spoiled ahead…
10. Ellison Oswald in Sinister (2012)
Scott Derrickson’s Sinister writes in one of this list’s most simple, yet potentially realistic lies a husband will tell his wife. True crime author Ellison Oswald moves his wife and two children into a lovely home in a lovely residential neighborhood. It’s the quintessential setup for a potentially haunted house trope that slowly unfolds as the Oswald’s discover more and more about the previous owners except for one particular selling point Ellison is already aware of: the family that lived in the house was murdered… in the house.
It was an impulse buy for Ellison unbeknownst to his wife, Tracy. Not only was the previous family killed, but they were hung up on the large tree in the yard as eerily shown in the plethora of home videos Ellison finds in the attic. Did he think Tracy wouldn’t find out about the sensational murders that took place on the property her family just bought? Obviously, Tracy finds out. Obviously, the Oswald family dies too.
9. Adelaide Wilson in Us (2019)
Packed with so much mystery in itself, Jordan Peele’s follow-up to his modern horror hit Get Out, begins with one woman’s secret and ends with her keeping it. While on a family vacation, Adelaide Wilson is plagued with feelings of uneasy déjà vu and coincidence causing her to remember a traumatic experience she was faced with on the beach boardwalk as a young girl. When the family’s doppelgängers invade their home and prove to be a murderous threat, Adelaide and her husband fight to protect their children while uncovering the secrets behind the origins of these duplicates.
What the family doesn’t find out, for the most part, is that Adelaide may not be exactly who they think she is. Though Adelaide is the same woman she was at the beginning of the film, she ends up being somebody completely different in the end. By definition, an omission is not a lie. What they don’t know won’t hurt them, right?
8. Simon Callem in The Gift (2015)
You may know who your spouse is, but do you ever really know who your spouse was? Joel Edgerton (It Comes At Night) explores this very scenario when a husband’s past comes back to haunt him and his new wife in The Gift. Simon Callem appears to be a good guy and attentive husband to his his wife, Robyn, as they settle into their new home in the town where Simon grew up. Bliss quickly turns into menace when an old schoolmate, Gordo, imposes his friendship on the couple to some pretty dramatic extremes.
Simon’s history of tormenting and story spinning is brought to light as Robyn is faced with seeing her husband for who he truly was and, unfortunately, still is. Gordo slowly presents the truth, revealing the vile person Simon is deep down inside. In a final act of giving, Gordo leaves Simon with the precious gift of eternal doubt, one that will surely haunt this oppressive bully and his innocent wife for the rest of their lives. When dating someone it’s best to investigate and question each person from their hometown about their character and adolescent behavior before the relationship gets serious. Old habits die hard.
7. Jackie in What Keeps You Alive (2018)
Money is a huge motivator for us all, right? We all have a price. Colin Minihan (Grave Encounters) puts a price on marriage and it is equivalent to an average life insurance policy. Jules and Jackie shack up in a remote cabin to celebrate their first year anniversary. What should be a relaxing, enjoyable weekend turns into a tense, taut game of cat-and-mouse when Jules begins to suspect that Jackie is not who she pretends to be.
When Jackie’s mental stability snaps and she subtly pushes her real motives onto Jules, it’s a fight to the death as Jules battles her wife to stay alive. Aside from a knack for murder, Jackie still harbors one pretty dark secret: She’s done this before, many times before and it’s not for the life insurance money like she initially claims. It’s because she likes it.
6. Bea in Honeymoon (2014)
The honeymoon stage of a relationship is, without a doubt, the most enjoyable time between a happy couple. It’s a time for enamoring, consuming, completely intimate love celebrating the abandonment of eternal loneliness. Leigh Janiak’s debut into film and horror, Honeymoon, turns the stage of utter saccharine bliss into complete chaotic distress for new bride and groom, Bea and Paul. Their private romantic trip to Bea’s childhood cabin takes a downward spiral into grotesque madness as Bea suddenly disappears and reappears slightly different. A disgusting creature grows within her body, but the innate beckoning secret within the woods is what causes their unsettling end.
When the honeymoon is over, it’s really over.
5. She in Antichrist (2009)
Man meets woman. Man and woman have sex. Man and woman marry. Man and woman have a baby. Man and woman have sex while baby falls to its death from a window. It’s not exactly a ‘Tale as old as time’, but Lars von Trier’s Antichrist is a disturbing portrait of a marriage anguished by depression and grief dependent on the roles of husband and wife. When a man and woman retreat to an isolated cabin far off in the woods to escape the pain of losing their child, secrecy and betrayal are far from the worst emotions this couple will experience.
Following some bizarre occurrences among the nature that surrounds the man as well as within the woman beside him, He uncovers the slow, consistent abuse She inflicted upon their son. While She has hidden her true beliefs and practices throughout their relationship, revelation acts as the onset for extreme violence, sexual deformation, and an ultimately sinister ending to the vows taken by man and wife.
4. Eden in The Invitation (2015)
If Karyn Kusama’s moody slow burn, The Invitation, taught us anything it’s to always be suspicious of your ex, especially when they invite you and your new beau to their home for a reunion dinner with mutual friends. Will is caught in a state of paranoia when his ex-wife, Eden, and new lover, David, put on a dinner party revolving around the couples’ newfound community of support. While he tries hard to keep his feelings and emotions from getting the best of him, Will knows Eden better than anyone and when it comes to her motives it’s obvious that she is hiding something from him and the others.
The atmospheric first course quickly turns into a bloody pièce de résistance as Eden’s intentions are brutally exposed and Will comes to terms with who his ex-wife has become, how she chooses to treat her trauma, and who she decides to heal it with. Never trust your ex.
3. Dr. Doug Grey in Gothika (2003)
As prominent psychiatrists, Dr. Doug Grey is the apple of his wife’s eye and Dr. Miranda Grey lives in a comfortable world of certainty and analysis in Mathieu Kassovitz’s Gothika. They appear to be the perfect couple, and maybe they are, but it isn’t until Miranda is confronted with the ghostly apparition of a dead woman only to wake up and find herself institutionalized and accused of murdering her husband.
Listening to the spirit, using her intelligence, and following the clues, Miranda eventually learns what her husband really does in his spare time and the revelation is pretty atrocious. Doug Grey is a kidnapper, a rapist, and a murderer who hides his victims away recording all of his disgusting acts on a video camera providing Miranda with the closure she desperately needs to prove her innocence. But not before the ghostly presence helps Miranda reveal the second secret to Doug’s brutal escapades as he isn’t the only man partaking in these local murders.
2. Don Burnside in The Clovehitch Killer (2018)
Don Burnside is an ideal husband, loving father, and wholesome family man. He also happens to be a cold, terrifying, and calculated serial murderer in Duncan Skiles’ horror-drama The Clovehitch Killer. Don is able to charm everyone of his small town especially his wife, Cindy, and his son, . His violent, homicidal, fetishized behavior is shrouded in devout Christianity, community service, and civic duty. While Cindy remains ignorant to his extra extra curricular activities, Don tortures, executes, and photographs of his work in a chilling fashion emulating BTK.
While Dylan McDermott‘s (American Horror Story) performance and physical transformation into Clovehitch is haunting and commendable, the real grab of this film is its relentless authenticity. Anyone could be a serial killer, just hope it’s not the person kissing you good morning.
1. Dr. Norman Spencer in What Lies Beneath (2000)
A good relationship rule of thumb is to never let your work follow you home, especially if the work is a young, attractive scorned coed who is, for all intents and purpose, not your spouse. In Robert Zemeckis’ What Lies Beneath, Dr. Norman Spencer and his wife Claire are an ideal middle-age couple. They have their typical marriage woes, many of which Claire seems to forget or seem oblivious to, but on the surface they are a perfect husband and wife.
Claire begins to notice some scary supernatural behavior in their home after her daughter moves away to college. She begins digging into the mystery of the woman haunting their house and guiding her attention from one clue to the next. The deeper Claire goes, the more of Norman’s lies surface. She is able to recall the affair he had with a student the year prior, but the closer Claire gets to the spirit of her husband’s dead mistress the more lies he tells to keep her from exposing what he has long since buried.
What lies beneath? Lies.
The horror genre shows us there are many evils to fear in our world, in others, and in the next, but the last place we expect to find them is in the one we lay our head next to each night. The saying goes, “the truth shall set you free”, but the horror genre equates that outcome with and death. If your significant other begins to exhibit any of these suggestive, secretive traits its best to skip the marriage counseling and go straight to the police. Couples therapy is a moot point for any of these scenarios.
Which of these horror spouses have the most forgivable secret? Which secrets would be the biggest deal breakers? Share your thoughts over on Twitter, our Horror Movie Fiend Club Facebook page, or on our Subreddit page!