The Best Horror Movies to Watch on Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Slay!

'Bride of Chucky' | Universal Pictures
'Bride of Chucky' | Universal Pictures

If there’s one holiday that’s synonymous with scary movies, it’s definitely Halloween, and with many yuletide-themed terrors such as Silent Night, Deadly Night; Gremlins, and Krampus, Christmas is likely a close second. But a third runner-up is probably Valentine’s Day. While the month of February is often associated with fluttering hearts, cherubs, roses, and heart-shaped candy, there’s no denying that love is in the air, making you feel inclined to pick up the typical rom-com to watch with your significant other. But we’re here to remind you that, sometimes, love is in the scare. Think about it—what better way to spend Valentine’s Day than to turn down the lights, and pop on a fright flick that’ll have your bae screaming and squeezing your arm as some masked menace threatens rip the hearts out of a bunch of sex-crazed teenagers? And no, we’re not talking about Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers—there is a more obscure gas-mask-wearing Valentine slayer who has a bad habit of skewering victims with a pickaxe and stuffing their organs into heart-shaped boxes. 

But not all Valentine’s Day horror flicks have to be centered around some murderer who slices and dices people on February 14, either. Love is often the central force that conquers all and vanquishes boogeymen and other evil forces in plenty of horror movies—and sometimes, villains need some lovin' too. So here, we’ve rounded up some of the most heart-racing, heart-ripping, and heart-crushing nail-biters. Whether they involve bizarre love triangles with the immortal undead, lovers returning from the grave as flesh-craving zombies, homicidal heartbreakers, or an unstoppable supernatural STD (Sexually Transmitted Demon?), these are the best love-laced chillers to watch on the most romantic day of the year.

Bram Stoker's Dracula
Columbia Pictures

Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of one of Bram Stroker's gothic classic is an operatic spectacle. While there's been more than a few adaptations inspired by the 1897 novel and its eponymous bloodsucker, the filmmaker returns to the text for a faithful interpretation that comes alive (undead, rather) in its extravagant production and costume designs that's just as romantic as it is eerie. Gary Oldman terrifies as the longing, ancient monster, Winona Ryder is beguiling as his long-lost lover Mina, Anthony Hopkins delivers as Van Helsing, and Keanu Reeves has gotten a fair amount of criticism for his accent and portrayal of Mina's lover Jonathan; you'd be remiss not to sink your teeth into it.

Bride of Chucky
Universal Pictures

Bride of Chucky (1998)

After a seven-year hiatus following Child’s Play 3, everyone’s favorite killer Good Guy doll returned in 1998’s Bride of Chucky. This time, he’s stitched back together and resurrected by his former flame, the homicidal Tiffany Valentine (Jennifer Tilly). But after a lovers spat results in her electrifying demise, Chucky (Brad Douriff) transfers her soul into a bride doll, forcing her to go along with his plan to retrieve the Heart of Damballa (a voodoo amulet that can permanently transfer their souls into new bodies). Lucky for them, Tiffany’s hunky neighbor Jesse (Nick Stabile) and his girlfriend Jade (Katherine Heigl) need some cash as well as an escape from Jade’s cruel police sheriff uncle (John Ritter) who threatens to keep them apart. The star-crossed lovers are soon on the road with instructions to deliver the two dolls to Hackensack, New Jersey—and that’s when the killing spree begins, including a stop at a sleazy honeymoon hotel where, let’s just say, Chucky gets lucky. With spades of dark, tongue-in-cheek humor, a sex scene you simply can’t unsee ("I am starting to feel a bit like Pinocchio here"), and the hilarious dysfunctional-couple banter that’s pulled off to perfection thanks to the voice chemistry between Douriff and Tilly, Bride of Chucky is the epitome bad-romance horror that features cinema's most notorious delinquent-doll duo.

Bride of Re-Animator
50th Street Films

Bride of Re-Animator (1989)

The original poster for Bride of Re-Animator says it all: “Date. Mate. Re-Animate.” Love and science run amok in this sequel to Stuart Gordon’s (Re-Animator, From Beyond) 1985 H.P. Lovecraft adaptation and this time director Brian Yuzna (Society) steps in to continue the demented story of Dr. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs), the mad scientist with a bad habit of reviving cadavers with his secret serum. During the events of the original movie, Herbert’s protégé Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) lost his girlfriend Megan (Barbara Crampton), and, in this sequel, he becomes smitten with the ill-fated Gloria only to lose her too. That's when Herbert decides to console his heartbroken sidekick by going full-on Doctor Frankenstein and building the perfect woman composed of female body parts stolen from a morgue—including Megan’s heart and Gloria’s head. As expected, chaos ensues whenever Herbert attempts to play God, and the diabolical experiment leads to an absolutely bonkers climax featuring a smorgasbord of zany, gooey, and over-the-top practical effects. The freak fest finale includes a variety of hair-raising monstrosities including zombie cats, double-torso two-headed crawlers, and even a very pissed off flying head with stitched-on bat wings.

Crimson Peak
Universal Pictures

Crimson Peak (2015)

Guillermo Del Toro's lush Gothic ghost story goes for atmosphere over big scares but is thrilling none the less. Mia Wasikowsa plays a young writer in the Victorian era who falls for Tom Hiddleston's alluring baronet, but his invitation to his familial mansion comes with a hitch. He's overly attached to his sister—Jessica Chastain at her creepiest—and there are some spirits roaming the halls.

Fright Night
Columbia Pictures

Fright Night (1985)

Before we had sexy vampires, we had sexy and super scary vampires! That's who moves in next door to a young horror fan (Williams Ragsdale) in this '80s B-movie debut from Tom Holland (Child's Play, Psycho II), and he's quick to recognize their bloodthirsty plan to suck the neighborhood dry. So, what's his plan? Hire an actor (Roddy McDowall) famous for playing a vampire hunter on TV to help take them down. It's a genre-defier, for sure, with a silly sense of humor and somewhat zany plot, but the performance by Chris Sarandon as the dark and handsome vampire will make you want to douse your home in garlic after you watch it, just in case. It may not be the most famous '80s horror flick, but there's a reason this one's reached cult classic status. 

The Hunger

The Hunger (1983)

A vampire movie with the aesthetic of an '80s erotic thriller, Tony Scott's The Hunger is as swooningly romantic as it is blood-spattered, following an ancient vampire played by Catherine Deneuve whose relationship with her lover (David Bowie) goes sour when she meets an irresistible scientist (Susan Sarandon) whose research hopes to find a cure for human aging. But immortality comes at a price, one that both of Deneuve's lovers realize only once it's too late: once you're hers, you're hers forever. You'll be hooked from the movie's bloody opening—a hunt for human blood within the depths of a goth basement club, soundtracked by Bauhaus' pulsating "Bela Lugosi's Dead" and a bunch of screaming monkeys.

It Follows
The Weinstein Company

It Follows (2015)

The villain of this retro-thriller doesn't need to creep. "It"—a demon? An embodiment of fear? A walking STI?—can come from any direction at any time and can't be stopped. All its target can do is run, or damn someone new by transmitting the possession through intercourse. A relentless chase set against a picturesque suburban dreamworld, It Follows builds scares from pure suspense, a welcome alternative to the screeching, skittish horror movies that frequent theaters.

Let The Right One In
Magnolia Pictures

Let the Right One In (2008)

The One Major Vampire Rule you must remember is this: Vampires cannot enter your home unless you invite them inside. And Oskar, the 12-year-old protagonist of this grimly brilliant Swedish adaptation of John Lindqvist's celebrated novel, does exactly that with Eli, his new neighbor and vampire stuck in an 11-year-old girl's body. There's no home invasion here, but it does bring the monster inside. Instead of Eli terrorizing the bullied Oskar, she takes out his enemies with disturbingly creative methods. As Eli and Oskar build trust between each other, one moment your heart will soften to their relationship and the next it'll be ripped out of your chest and doused in hydrochloric acid.

Life After Beth

Life After Beth (2014)

Aubrey Plaza is at her best when she's peak Aubrey Plaza-ing, as in being excessively weird. Playing a zombified girlfriend back from the dead in Jeff Baena's directorial debut, Life After Beth, the Parks and Rec comedian definitely gets to run wild with that. It takes cues from zombie comedies like Shaun of the Dead rather than being a brutally terrifying creature feature as a young man named Zach (Dane DeHaan) learns his suddenly deceased girlfriend was resurrected by her parents (John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon). As suspected, she's not who she used to be. Both funny and grotesque, Life After Beth will make you thankful your relationships ended when they did, before you turned into two walking corpses.

Lost Boys
Warner Bros. Pictures

The Lost Boys (1987)

When teen boy Michael and his younger brother Sam move to the beach town of Santa Carla, they quickly run into the local teen biker gang led by the enigmatic and somewhat frightening David. But there's more to this gang than petty crime and violence, and when Michael figures out that David and his cohorts are vampires, the town's plague of missing children starts to make sense. An instant classic of both vampire movies and teen coming-of-age stories, The Lost Boys has a drama and swagger that other movies can't hope to replicate.

My Bloody Valentine (1981)
Paramount Pictures

My Bloody Valentine (1981)

Here's the big lesson of this Canadian slasher: Don't wander into a dark, spooky mine shaft with your friends. Produced in the wake of Halloween, Black Christmas, and Friday the 13th, My Bloody Valentine tracks a group of rowdy teens who celebrate Valentine's Day by throwing a rager on the same night that a vengeful pickaxe-wielding miner in a gas mask starts piling up bodies. Will these wacky kids make it out alive? Or will their internal organs get cut out and stuffed in chocolate boxes? The main beats of this are exactly what you'd expect, but director George Mihalka generates a genuinely creepy ambiance in the movie's final stretch of running, screaming, and hacking.

My Bloody Valentine 3D
Lionsgate Films

My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009)

Both a slick reboot of an older title and a chaotic use of 3D technology, My Bloody Valentine 3D exists at the intersection of two key horror trends of the late '00s and early '10s. Supernatural's square-jawed Jensen Ackles plays Tom, a young man who witnesses a brutal attack in a mine early on in the film and then returns to the community 10 years later. As you'd guess, the pickaxe murders start up again as Tom reconnects with his high school girlfriend (Jaime King), who is now married to the shady local sheriff (Kerr Smith). More of a stealth whodunit than the original, this remake has enough silly 3D gimmicks and head-scratching twists to make for a suitably goofy watch.

Ready or Not
Searchlight Pictures

Ready or Not (2019)

A new bride quickly discovers that all of her in-laws are trying to kill her in order to appease an ancient curse that threatens to destroy their board game empire. The horror-comedy directed by the collective Radio Silence is basically one extended chase scene featuring a nastily colorful collection of villains, but leading lady Samara Weaving and a fun ensemble keep all the plates spinning. Plus, the ending is a freaking blast.

Return of the Living Dead 3
Trimark Pictures

Return of the Living Dead 3 (1993)

Ditching the goofball horror approach of its predecessors, this standalone third entry of the zombie franchise focuses on a tragic love story between two ill-fated teens. Curt (J. Trevor Edmund) is the son of Colonel Reynolds (Kent McCord), a nomadic military officer who's working on a classified project at a top-secret government compound. When Curt and his girlfriend Julie (Melinda Clarke) decide to swipe his dad’s security keycard and snoop around, they’re freaked out when they witness super-soldier experiments involving resurrected corpses and Trioxin—the very same chemical from the previous movies that awaken the dead. So, after Curt and Julie are in a horrible motorcycle accident that snaps her neck, you can probably guess what the grief-stricken lover boy does next. After bringing her back to life, she’s seemingly fine—at first—but is soon overcome by an insatiable hunger for brains. Sure, there’s some spotty acting from some of the supporting cast and the occasional cheesy dialogue, but its ghastly zombie designs, campy charm, and two charismatic leads make up for it. And Clarke stealing the show as she deteriorates into a fetishistic, punk-rock zombie is a blast to watch.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Valentine (2001)

We don't really know who wanted bespectacled David Boreanaz at the height of his Buffy fame, but with 2001's Valentine we got it anyway. The rom-horror hybrid follows proto-incel Boreanaz, as Jeremy, who was mercilessly bullied in high school by a group of popular girls. As is common, of course he grew up into becoming a stone-cold fox, but instead of wielding his adult looks like a normal person would (to incite jealousy, sleeping with his former crushes)—he decides to use them to murder the group of women who hurt his male feelings. It's clearly a movie that has not aged well in its premise, but with every blonde aughts hottie getting stalked by a killer in a cupid's mask, it's a pretty fun Valentine's Day watch.

Warm Bodies
Summit Entertainment

Warm Bodies (2013)

Does Nicholas Hoult play the hottest zombie in cinematic history in Jonathan Levine's horror rom-com Warm Bodies? Looking like the fifth member of My Chemical Romance with a love of record collecting, Hoult's R wanders a post-apocalyptic landscape with the rest of the Corpses and one day encounters a group of humans on a supply raid in zombie territory and falls in love with one of the women, Julie (Teresa Palmer). He sort of kidnaps her and works to prove to her, with limited communication, that he's not out to eat her brains—unlike her boyfriend (Dave Franco), which gives R a glimpse of his memories. It's less Shaun of the Dead slapstick than it is a sometimes funny and mostly sweet twist on Romeo & Juliet about emotional connection and the ways people can change—even if they're seemingly doomed to brainlessly roam the earth thirsting for human blood for eternity.

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