Ten "My Bloody Valentine" Alternatives
Updated: Feb 21
For some, Valentine's Day and the horror genre might seem like strange bedfellows. The idea that a holiday which is commercially promoted as a time to celebrate all things lovey-dovey could be combined with all things dark and bloody might confuse the average person browsing through their local Hallmark store in search of a last minute piece of folded cardboard that perfectly expresses their affections.
But even the non-horror fan can admit that romantic dreams can easily turn into an unexpected nightmare. That there is an obvious connection between love and pain. Even without delving into the modern Valentine's Day's pagan origins, it is clear that horror has its place within the holiday just like any other. Ask the lonely.
However, the most seasoned of horror fans may have something in common with those poor saps walking the halls of Hallmark while looking at cards that say the same thing, year after year. The commonality lies in the lack of diversity in our Valentine's Day options. Yes.. the original My Bloody Valentine IS the best horror option for horror viewing on that scary night of paper hearts and candy boxes.
But what are you gonna do the rest of the night? Yeah, yeah.. I know what you really wanna do. But you could always have more Valentine's horror playing in the background!
Sure, there are a few other films set on Valentine's Day, and some are quite good. There are also others that, although don't reference the holiday specifically, are still perfect for a night of romantic fright.
So let's light those candles and slip into something more comfortable as we list a few Valentine's Day horror alternatives:
Hospital Massacre / Xray (1981)
It's amazing how creepy hospitals can be. They've made for a great setting in films like Visiting Hours and Halloween II. Hospital Massacre is not in the same league as those films, but it has a weird.. and I mean WEIRD charm to it. A woman goes into a hospital for a Valentine's Day check up when she becomes stranded on the 8th floor and is soon stalked by a scrubs-wearing slasher. Starring Playboy playmate, Barbi Benton, and directed by the guy who gave us The Last American Virgin. What do you have to lose?!
To Die For (1989)
Vampires and romance seem to always go together, but before your significant other gets out that old Interview With A Vampire dvd, ask them if they would consider "experimenting" with a little late 80's role play. In To Die For, a Hollywood real estate agent falls for her client who happens to be named "Vlad" ..and you know where this is going. It's a lot more fun than it sounds, and includes a great cast including Amanda Wyss (A Nightmare on Elm Street) and is the final screen appearance for Duane Jones (Night of the Living Dead). Directed by Roger Corman protege, Deran Sarafian. Scenes were cut from this film in order to lose an "X" rating. I can't vouch for the movie's alternate title "Dracula: The Love Story". Gag!
Bride of Re-Animator (1990)
The love story between Dan and Meg, played by Bruce Abbott and Barbara Crampton, was a crucial part of the masterpiece which was Stuart Gordon's Re-Animator (1985). In fact, the original film was pretty darn romantic when Dr. West wasn't injecting cats and decapitated heads with his trusty serum. This sequel is Director Brian Yunza's take on that well known sequel to Frankenstein and is a natural fit as an extension of the Herbert West story. Bruce Abbott and Jeffery Combs return but Crampton is gone as only Meg's heart remains and in need of a new body. That "body" belongs to the beautiful Kathleen Kinmont (Halloween 4).
If you haven't seen this one in a while, Valentine's Day might be the perfect time to revisit this gooey sequel.
Tales from the Crypt - Poetic Justice (1972)
Peter Cushing, Director Freddy Francis, and Amicus Studios have been a winning combination for fans of British horror many times before and this segment of the EC Comics-inspired anthology segment is another fun example of that. Although the film is better known for its Christmas-themed segment, the creepy Poetic Justice serves up some dark Valentine's Day horror straight from the grave. Cushing plays a poor old man with a heart for helping children who is tormented by a group of rich snobs until he takes his own life. Vengeance is soon served in glorious EC fashion.
After Midnight (2019)
Fans of Lo-Fi horror may already be familiar with Jeremy Gardner's previous work, The Battery (2012). After Midnight definitely shares The Battery's minimalist, character driven style and it's well suited for this story of Hank, who is dealing with the unexpected loss of his relationship and the monstrous visions that follow. The film is a talky, slow burn of a movie but it's never boring. Gardner and his Co-Director, Christian Stella, know how to create likable characters that you want to listen to, and the mystery of Hank's vision keeps things interesting.
The Mummy (1932)
The concept for this Universal classic was clearly inspired by the studio's previous take on Bram Stoker's Dracula. The love and longing that Boris Karloff's Ardeth Bey feels for his long dead Egyptian princess is much more palpable thanks to the chemistry between Karloff and the alluring Helen Grosvenor. In fact, everything feels more potent and realized in what is arguably the most under appreciated of Universal's cornerstone monster films. Maybe love is stronger than death after all?
The Prowler (1981)
This 80's slasher doesn't officially take place on Valentine's Day but it's so well suited for the holiday that it's actually odd that it doesn't. There are enough roses and pink and red streamers in this movie to make it quite suitable as a double feature with that other Valentine's slasher. The killer's motives are also clearly rooted in the pain of lost love and he takes out his fury in some very gruesome ways thanks to Tom Savini at the height of his powers. This is a fun slasher film with a mean streak a mile long. From the director who killed Jason Voorhees... the first time.
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
"She hate me. Like others" - Frankenstein's Monster. Yeah, I feel you. I've been there. Sometimes loneliness and a lack of love can make you feel out of place in a world that doesn't want or understand you. It's even harder when you add the issue of being resurrected from dead body parts and having an "abnormal" brain! This Universal classic nails those feelings and so much more. There's never a wrong time to revisit James Whale's masterpiece but Valentine's Day might be the perfect time for many.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1985)
When it comes to love and relashionships, communication is key. But does it ever feel like you and your partner are speaking different languages? Or have you ever had the hots for someone and just didn't know how to communicate what you were feeling? If so, then you're gonna really connect with Tobe Hooper's sequel to his 1974 cult classic. This is the MOST ROMANTIC of all the Chainsaw Massacre films. And I know how that sounds, but I have never seen a clearer example of miscommunication than the pivotal scene where our skin-masked horror hero meets the leggy Stretch played by Caroline Williams for the first time. After his chainsaw thrust dance falls flat, Leatherface spends the rest of the movie crushing hard and trying to figure out how to connect with that radio DJ of his dreams. It all ends with chainsaw impalement as it so often does. But if you've felt like your game is a little lacking, then watching this example of how it can all go wrong should make you feel much better.
Maybe you've been thinking that this Valentine's Day would be a great time to add some extra spice in the bedroom. Perhaps you've browsed the internet for that perfect intimate item that could really turn things up to eleven for you and your partner. But then the ultimate question enters your brain, "Just how freaky are they"?! Jorg Buttgereit's Nekromantic could be a fantastic way to find out just what your partner is made of. This lovely tale of a street sweeper who brings home a human corpse for him and his wife to play with was a holy grail of VHS tape traders in the 80's and is now available on most formats for you and your love to enjoy.
Kristopher Phipps is a filmmaker and writer from Austin, TX.
Connect with him on Instagram or reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org