Here are 5 films that cleverly mix horror and romance

It’s quite a challenge to successfully merge opposing polar film genres; Horror and romance are two of the hardest to mix together, but when done effectively they can yield remarkable results. Some of cinema’s most exciting and memorable images feature the combination of conflicting styles, with movie studios capitalizing on fanbases who adore each method. When filmmakers merge passion for the romance genre with fear of horror, magic can really happen. There’s something about the two storytelling styles that really complement each other, proving that a film can indeed be both horrifying and dreamy. The 19th century may have seen great romantic horror, but cinema is catching up.

For decades, the silver screen has hosted countless crossover genre films, with some attempts proving more successful than others. From modern tales of classic movie monsters to adaptations of beloved gothic stories, cinema is no stranger to multi-genre imagery. Here are 5 films that cleverly mix horror and romance.

5 sleepy hollow


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Paramount Pictures

Loosely based on the famous short story by Washington Irving, 1999 sleepy hollow follows the eccentric but kind Ichabod Crane, a police officer who is sent to the small village of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a series of gruesome murders that many fear may have been committed by the mysterious Headless Horseman. Johnny Depp stars as the oddball Crane, who finds himself smitten with the charming Katrina Van Tassel during his investigation, played by Christina Ricci. In the stunning Gothic setting and spooky atmosphere of Depp’s frequent collaborator Tim Burton, sleepy hollow is a bizarre supernatural thriller that also features a delicately blossoming love story amidst all the murder and mayhem. The scenes of Ichabod and Katrina together are tender and timid, perfectly capturing the electrifying feelings of a new romance. The popular horror film received critical acclaim, with Time Out New York writing, “Like the best of Burton’s films, sleepy hollow takes place in a world so richly imagined that, despite its abundant terrors, one can’t help but want to cross the screen.

Related: 10 Best Folk Horror Movies Of The Last Decade

4 Warm bodies


The Warm Bodies TV Show Comes From Original Director Jonathan Levine

Jonathan Levine’s Romantic Horror Comedy Warm bodies is an offbeat tale that centers on a zombie falling in love with a human, seamlessly blending rom-com and zombie genres. Nicholas Hoult and Theresa Palmer portray the cursed couple, despite being on opposite sides of the ongoing zombie apocalypse (one breathes and the other doesn’t). When R (Hoult) saves Julie (Palmer) from an undead attack, he begins to feel human again and his heart beats for the first time. As the two spend time together and bond, R slowly begins to revert to his human form. The charming film is a unique take on the horror and romance genres and features plenty of gore and tender craze. Warm bodies Principal Theresa Palmer beautifully explained the essence of the film, saying, “For me, the heart of the story is that love brings people back to life. This human connection saves us. People who have had these dimmed lights inside of them, when they fall in love, they become brighter.


3 Bram Stoker’s Dracula


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Pictures of Colombia

Undeniably the sexiest retelling of Dracula’s history, Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 gothic horror Bram Stoker’s Dracula features the exceptional talent of Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins and Keanu Reeves. The lavish production details the classic monster’s crusade to seduce Jonathan Harker’s fiancée, Mina Murray, whom he believes to be the reincarnation of his late wife. When Dracula lands in London, mayhem and mayhem descend on the foreign land as the iconic vampire will stop at nothing to reclaim his lost love. The sultry, lyrical adaptation beautifully narrates the jaw-dropping classic tale, and Oldman and Ryder shine on screen with their captivating chemistry. Bram Stoker’s Dracula is one of the best cinematic examples of the effective fusion of horror and romance. Film critic Richard Corliss praised the film, saying, “Coppola brings the scary old story to life… Everyone knows Dracula has a heart; Coppola knows that it’s more than an organ in which to drive a stake… This luscious film restores the creature’s letters of nobility and gives it peace.

Related: Nicolas Cage Is Dracula at Renfield

2 Crimson Peak


Universal Pictures Fall 2015 Film Preview With New Photos

From the visionary mind of Guillermo del Toro comes the 2015 horror romance film Crimson Peak, which is set in Edwardian England and follows young aspiring writer Edith as she moves to a secluded Gothic mansion in the English hills with her new husband and sister. Once there, Edith discovers a mystery surrounding the estate and is visited by ghostly apparitions that leave her questioning not just her surroundings but reality itself. Featuring a premier cast including Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain, Crimson Peak is a gorgeous romantic gothic horror (similar to Jane Eyre and The Wuthering Heights) full of spooky spirits and ghastly secrets that drive her heroine to the limit. Edith’s new husband, Thomas, stirs longing and love in her heart, as the two attempt to deepen their relationship despite the dark and menacing mansion. del Toro called the film a “ghost story and gothic romance” which he described as “a very setting-oriented, classic yet modern take on the ghost story.”


1 The Mummy


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Stephen Sommers remake of the 1932 horror classic of the same name, 1999 The Mummy is a fantasy film that centers on American adventurer Rick O’Connell as he travels to Hamunaptra, the City of the Dead, with the stubborn librarian Evelyn and her comedic brother Jonathan. The trio accidentally awaken the cursed high priest Imhotep, who is wreaking havoc in Egypt as he seeks the reincarnation of his long-lost love: Evelyn. With a dynamite duo of Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, The Mummy is an energetic and thrilling adaptation that really has it all: a relentless monster seeking revenge, a charming and bickering romantic pair full of sizzling chemistry, and a gorgeous Egyptian backdrop. The smash hit has its fair share of gruesome horror, hilarious humor and heaps of action, but it’s Rick and Evelyn’s budding romance that really makes The Mummy the ultimate crowd pleaser (and the crowds want more). On the horror adventure’s twentieth anniversary, writer Maria Lewis noted that its cinematic triumph is due to its successful blend of “heart, humor, [heroics]and horror.


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