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Get Love Sick With Our Latest Collection

February 13, 2020

Roses are red, violets are blue, and this Valentine’s Day on Shudder, we’ve got terror for you. Celebrate this almighty holiday of chocolate and guilt love with something a little darker from our Love Sick collection. From Ganja & Hess to Dogs Don’t Wear Pants with Audition, Spring, and Return Of The Living Dead III in between, there’s something for every date night plan. But don’t take our word for it — here’s what this eclectic group of horror-loving fiends has to say about them. 

Ganja & Hess (1973)

In Bill Gunn’s 1973 experimental horror Ganja & Hess, Ganja (Marlene Clarke) falls in love with Dr. Hess Green (Doug Jones) while searching for her missing husband. Blood is life-giving and sacred, and for many so are love and lust. For Ganja and Hess, these three elements become intertwined in a twisted romance. This leads to a newfound sense of freedom and agency for Ganja, but confusion and separation for Hess. 

In the film, Gunn uses the thirst for blood as a metaphor for drug addiction, but it could also be applied to love and lust portrayed by his characters. It’s no coincidence that Gunn named his lead female character after the slang term – commonly used in the Caribbean – for Marijuana. Filled with disjointed visuals and discordant music, the film is a unique sensory overload that gives audiences just a taste of emotional chaos.

☠️ Carolyn Hinds is a freelance writer whose work has appeared on Atom Insider, Comics Beat, SyFy Wire, and many others. She’s the co-host of the podcast So Here’s What Happened.

Prom Night (1980)

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a slasher in want of an audience must be in possession of a three and a half-minute disco dance number. Enter Bunny Sloping from stage left: Prom Night. Along with fellow 1980 release Friday The 13th, the film heralded the arrival of the slasher as horror’s dominant sub-genre and Jamie Lee Curtis as its Scream Queen. It has all the hallmarks you want – teens, sex, drugs, an unresolved mystery, grisly murders, and a masked killer – with the addition of the aforementioned disco dance number. Its soap opera storyline and random inclusion of Leslie Nielsen just add to the campy quality that has made Prom Night a cult favorite in lieu of a classic.

☠️ Maria Lewis is an author, journalist, and screenwriter from Australia. Her fifth novel, The Wailing Woman, is currently out now.

Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987)

Thirty years after the promiscuous prom queen Mary Lou Maloney was murdered on stage by her jilted boyfriend, Mary Lou’s spirit returns to possess the body of the innocent Vicki Carpenter so that she may exact revenge on those responsible for her death and claim her crown. Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II is a story of bisexual awakening, a challenge to the conservative values of the 1980s, and the rare slasher film to feature a female spirit of vengeance. Prom is the time for romantic trysts and supernatural killing, and if you’re Mary Lou Maloney, you know how to get more than your fair share of both, as the term “locker room crush” takes on a double meaning.

☠️ Leigh Monson is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in multiple outlets including /Film and Birth.Movies.Death. where they have a monthly column, Queer Underworld.

Return Of The Living Dead III (1993)

Return of the Living Dead Part 3 trades in the humor of the previous two installments for a government-funded, bio-weapon romance centered around star-crossed lovers, Julie and Curt. Initially the kind of rebellious, motorcycle-riding love story that Meat Loaf’s “Bat Out of Hell” would be based on, ROTLD3 transitions into the horrific when an accident results in Julie’s death. Curt sneaks onto a military base and resurrects Julie with the same weaponized technology that nearly started a zombie outbreak just days before, forcing the reanimated Julie to gradually descend into something monstrous. Spreading the zombie infection to anyone they cross as they try to escape to their happily-ever-after in Seattle, it’s clear the couple is doomed as Julie happily pierces and lacerates herself to stave off her hunger. Despite it all, Curt still loves her and withstands the gruesome killing if it means one more moment with Julie.

Return Of The Living Dead III will hit Shudder on February 17th, 2020.

☠️ Harmony Moon is on a mission to dissect all facets of trans representation in media, be it earnest, outdated, or anywhere in between. You can find her work on Medium

Audition (1999) 

There are a lot of things love about Takashi Miike’s Audition, but love itself isn’t one of them. In a nightmare usually reserved for the object of unwanted affection, the casting couch is a barely-veiled tool for widower Aoyama’s attempt to find his next wife. Auditioning the mysterious Asami, Aoyama is immediately enthralled by his perception of her gentle nature and emotional depth.

Audition presents itself as the story of a man’s successful exploitation of his power that slowly bleeds into the frightening tale of a scorned femme fatale. A warning for the age of online dating? Maybe. A message to exploitative, powerful men romanticizing the mysterious women forced to seek their affection? Definitely. Audition isn’t simply the story of a woman who feeds her own vomit to the remaining living body parts of her old boss. It’s something … deeper.  

☠️ Lindsay Traves is a Toronto-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in Daily Dead, StarTrek.com, Nightmarish Conjurings, and Bloody Disgusting.

My Bloody Valentine (2009)

The My Bloody Valentine remake isn’t specifically a stalker film, though it plays like one with its plot involving a young man driven insane by both witnessing a horrible murder and realizing his high school sweetheart has married someone else. It takes the elements of Valentine’s Day, from hearts and candy, and interprets them literally. This is a feature that perverts the nature of love, both from the angle of a horror movie but also that of a small town harboring secrets. It isn’t just that there’s a killer wandering around; half the town is engaged in illicit relationships to fill their tiny lives. It’s like if a melodrama wandered into a slasher film in the best way possible.

The original My Bloody Valentine is available now on Shudder.

☠️ Kristen Lopez is a freelance pop culture essayist whose work has appeared in Forbes, MTV, and The Hollywood Reporter. She is now the TV Editor for IndieWire and also runs the classic film podcast, Ticklish Business

Little Deaths (2011) 

Little Deaths is an anthology that blends the lines between sex and death in a way that showcases sensual moments between couples that mutate into something horrid. With three vignettes from Sean Hogan, Andrew Parkinson, and Simon Rumley, the film embodies revenge, hopelessness, and the darkness that can lay in a coupling. Each vignette brings twists that keep you engaged and distorts every relationship they touch as they use desire as a tool to unsettle you. This anthology isn’t for the faint of heart, but it embodies sexual horror at its darkest.

☠️ Kate Sánchez is the editor-in-chief of But Why Tho? and co-host of their podcast. Read her most recent editorial on her connection to horror through her Mexican-American heritage.

Kiss Of The Damned (2012)

Vampires outlive humans by centuries, but they can want love like the rest of us. Djuna (Joséphine de La Baume), a solitary, sophisticated vampire, catches the eye of writer Paolo (Milo Ventimiglia), and their desire for each other is all-consuming. Despite her hesitation, Djuna shows her true vampire nature while making love to him, and Paolo fearlessly succumbs to her bite. In the face of a dangerous, modern world and old-world rules, Djuna makes Paolo a vampire because she loves him. When Djuna’s troubled sister, Mimi (Roxane Mesquida), comes to stay and scoffs at Djuna’s newly-made lover, she puts the couple’s bliss in jeopardy, using a vampire’s carnal nature to snub Djuna’s strict moral code for life among humans. Rivalry and jealousy reign in this sensual, gothic story, and Djuna will let nothing stand in her way of finding love. 

☠️ Carolyn Mauricette is a film programmer for the Blood in the Snow Film Festival and a contributing author to the first edition of the Women in Horror Annual, The Encyclopedia of Japanese Horror Films, and The Encyclopedia of Racism in American Films. She will be conducting a lecture on The Omega Man on February 29 at the Royal Cinema in Toronto.

Honeymoon (2014) 

Leigh Janiak’s Honeymoon (2014) chronicles the swift downfall of a seemingly perfect romantic relationship infected by suspicion, deceit, and jealousy. Bea (Rose Leslie) and Paul (Harry Treadaway) arrive at an idyllic lakeside cottage to enjoy their honeymoon, but a chance encounter with Bea’s childhood friend and a disturbing bout of somnambulism trigger Paul’s paranoia, which only increases as Bea’s behavior grows more unfamiliar and bizarre. Honeymoon explores the disorienting, creeping terror of realizing that you may not truly know those whom you hold most dear. “Who are you?” Paul wonders aloud about his new wife, even before their honeymoon takes its dark turn. In the age of online dating, this fear can feel especially urgent.

Blending its gripping relationship drama with high-concept sci-fi frights, Honeymoon is a deceptively simple tale pregnant with intrigue and expertly played — a deliciously unsettling selection for Valentine’s Day movie night.

Honeymoon is available on Shudder until February 10th, 2020.   

☠️ Valeska Griffiths is the founder of Anatomy Of A Scream and Grim Magazine, a biannual journal that examines horror through an inclusive feminist lens.

Spring (2014)

Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead are known for their emotional stories set to the tune of cosmic horror. Their second feature film, Spring, is no exception as they tackle love through the lens of monstrosity. The film is set in an idyllic town on the coast of Italy where Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) has fled to in an effort to escape his life back in the U.S. There he meets Louise (Nadia Hilker), a beautiful woman who has a strange and violent secret. As Evan discovers her curse, he wants nothing more than to navigate it with her, not disgusted but intrigued. It is a unique love story that marries emotional storytelling with body horror in a way that disgusts and enthralls. Come for the romance, stay for the Lovecraftian horror.

☠️ Mary Beth McAndrews is a freelance writer with a column at Bloody Disgusting, Through Her Eyes, that explores the complicated subgenre of rape-revenge horror. Read her most recent piece on the challenging approach to Revenge.

The Love Witch (2016)

Written and directed by Anna Biller, The Love Witch paints the story of Elaine, our colorful protagonist who finds comfort and power in her beauty and spellwork following a terminated marriage. A tragedy at its root, the film’s narrative embraces female sexuality from the female gaze, despite Elaine being consumed by her desire to obtain love by any means necessary. We witness the conflict between the patriarchal inclinations Elaine adopts from her delusions of domestic relationships and her Wiccan community as they go up against her confidence in puppeteering the men she charms into her life. Packaged in delightfully kitschy aesthetics — a nod to Technicolor cinema — The Love Witch acts as a solid reminder that we can cause more damage to ourselves than others if we succumb to being dominated by our pain and the narcissistic motives that stem from them.

☠️ Christal VanEtten is a writer, digital marketing specialist and content creator who founded TheSuperghoul.com out of her love for all things horror.

Night Of The Living Deb (2016)

Night of the Living Deb doesn’t reinvent the zombie film, as you might have guessed from its riff-on-Romero title. But what it does do is breathe new life into the sadly-underused horror-rom-com subgenre. After all, if we can find love among the ruins or in a galaxy far, far away, why not during a zombie apocalypse? 

Night of the Living Deb puts a bloody spin on a relatable situation: the morning after a regrettable drunken hookup. Dorky Deb (a very charming Maria Thayer) and prettyboy bro Ryan (Michael Cassidy) have nothing in common and don’t even like each other in the light of day. Deb’s understanding of relationships seems entirely cribbed from romantic comedy clichés (one of the reasons why it’s so fun to see the film subvert them), and Ryan’s attitude suggests he sees women as status symbols rather than people. But there’s one thing scarier than zombies, and it’s being vulnerable enough to place your trust in someone you’ve seen naked after too many White Russians. And what else requires more trust than teaming up to carve a gory swathe through the undead? 

☠️ Laura Di Girolamo is a writer, film journalist, and the co-director of The Bloody Mary Film Festival, a yearly screening series that spotlights horror, sci-fi and fantasy films directed by female-identifying Canadian filmmakers.

Double Lover (2017)

Double Lover is a delightfully horny movie that, for a certain kind of a horror fan, is the perfect naughty Valentine’s Day treat. The movie follows Chloe, who has the very French problem of being both a model AND sad, as she starts therapy with the hot Dr. Peter. Naturally, they start an affair, which causes Chloe further ennui — until she discovers he’s hiding an equally hot twin, also a therapist, named Louis. Cue a trigger-warning heavy montage of role-play sex therapy, fantasy threesomes, and pegging that is hot, upsetting, and … hilarious? If you have a lover, this is where you’ll want to take a break, because the movie takes a hard left turn into graphic body horror in the third act. It had me cheering but definitely killed the mood. Quality execution of gleeful trash, Double Lover is like eating an entire box of chocolates: an indulgent, sticky treat that will definitely leave you feeling queasy. 

☠️ Megan Rosati is a writer, director, and actor whose web series 52 Ways To Breakup was praised by LA Weekly. She’s a founding member of the female filmmaking group The Fatale Collective, and her work has appeared in Fangoria magazine. 

Are We Not Cats (2018)

Are We Not Cats plays like a quirky and stylish yet endearing indie romance movie, but the shocking (and surprisingly gruesome) last act nestles this film safely at home in the horror genre. Eli loses his job, his home, and his girlfriend all on one day, but finds solace and a new love when he meets Anya. The peculiar pastel-wigged Anya immediately entrances Eli, and it is soon uncovered that the two both live in spite of a psychiatric disorder called trichophagia, or a compulsion to eat their own hair. Love is bizarre, unpredictable, and sometimes incredibly disgusting. Attacking the senses from every angle and leaving the audience to sit in their own discomfort, Are We Not Cats leans heavily into the arduous. Surrounded by the destructive results of two lovers bonded together by shared existential trauma, we can’t help but hope they find happiness in their own horrors. 

☠️ BJ Colangelo is a freelance writer whose piece celebrating the life of horror enthusiast Kreepazoid Kelly will be in Fangoria no.7. Read her piece on the queer and trans women taking over professional wrestling over at Autostraddle. 

Beast (2018) 

Moll is a picture of midcentury romance in her pale-yellow party dress — hardly a match for the mysterious outsider, Pascal, a loner with thick, dirty blonde hair and the general affectation of a guy who might build his own furniture. Life with her family is so oppressive that, despite a growing anxiety that she could meet the same fate as the poached rabbits in her new beau’s backseat, the unexpected bond between the pair awakens a lust and independence in Moll that might be worth the risk. As she breaks out of her claustrophobic life and learns to take up space, deadly potential shifts between the two characters so effortlessly, we never know who to trust. Beast is a compelling whodunnit, but that’s hardly the most delicious thing here. It’s an altogether elegant but feral love story — a rare hybrid of sexy romance, quiet thriller, and crime chiller.

☠️ Rachel Wilson is the director of brand relations for Fangoria and a short filmmaker. Check out her comedy short Baby Shower.

Lizzie (2018)

If you like both your romance and your horror to be of the slow-burn variety, then Lizzie is the right film for you to check out this Valentines Day. Tensions rise as Lizzie Borden (Chloe Sevigny) and Bridget Sullivan (Kristen Stewart) explore their relationship amidst abuse from the Borden family. When the fated day arrives, the two must decide what’s best for their respective futures while Lizzie faces trial for the murder of her family. Do be aware of a couple of triggers, but if you can get passed those you’ve got a nice, chill, family-murdering, forbidden love story in your future.

☠️ Amelia Emberwing is a film and television critic whose work can be found at Birth.Movies.Death., /Film, Atom Tickets, and more. Be sure to check out her latest piece in Collider on the Birds Of Prey’s unapologetic feminism.

November (2018)

As a bad-ass TV vampire said, “Love isn’t brains, children, it’s blood” — though of course, other bodily fluids could apply. But love is indeed primal, stamped in our DNA to seek out and coursing through our veins when it does, setting fire to our skin and our minds. What would you do if you found out that the person you love in this terrifying way, was themselves terrifying? An immortal monster that feeds off the living, a would-be murderess who would destroy her family, or a serial killer that stalks the men who prey on vulnerable women? What would you do if your lover wanted to cut off their body parts, or possibly eat them? But as this collection shows, love is terrifying: when we want someone so much we would tear ourselves, and possibly the world, to pieces.

☠️ Shelagh Rowan-Legg is a filmmaker, writer, critic, festival programmer, and consultant. Visit Thirteenth Tiger Films to see her work.

A Discovery Of Witches (2019 – )

A villanelle by Alisha Grauso

 A trickle of power and a book with a spell
Led the old vampire to the young witch
And in magic and blood they fell

He circled her hoping to sell  
She was key to it all, save one hitch:
A trickle of power and a book with a spell

Her gifts terrified, raw magic to quell 
But his desire soon flipped her switch
And in magic and blood they fell

Mad love knotted them up well
Like stubborn death clings to a lich
And in magic and blood they fell

Their passion kept at bay hell,
Enemies aware of the magical glitch:
A trickle of power and a book with a spell

The warp and weft of tales yet to tell
Of their love drunk dangerously rich; 
A trickle of power and a book with a spell
And in magic and blood they fell

☠️Alisha Grauso is the editorial lead for Atom Insider and has been helping to lead the charge for AB5 reform for freelance writers in California. 

Dogs Don’t Wear Pants (2019)

The kinky nexus of love and terror is control — the willingness to wield it responsibly, and the willingness to relinquish it in safety. We all practice it within our romantic relationships, to varying degrees. Some are a bit more visceral than others. J.-P. Valkeapää comes out swinging with his 2019 feature DOGS DON’T WEAR PANTS, an alternative look at desire and regret, pain and release, with a healthy amount of latex and leather thrown in for good measure. Following a tragic accident, Juha (Pekka Strang) is a widower and a single father grappling with grief– until he stumbles upon a dominatrix, Mona (Krista Kosonen), who just might provide the sort of counseling he needs. The catch– there’s no therapy couch, and their sessions may leave scars (not the emotional kind). Amid a gorgeous oscillating palette of reds and blues, Juha’s transformational journey is both strange and beautiful. DOGS DON’T WEAR PANTS is not your grandma’s romance movie; all are welcome to watch, but you might be surprised at what it awakens in you.

☠️ Anya Stanley is a freelance film critic, Fangoria columnist, and Halloween 6 apologist whose sole focus is on the horror genre. You can find more of her work on her website. 

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