love in horror movies

Given my thematic body of work here on /Film thus far, I’m sure you’re expecting a February essay that analyzes Valentine’s rosiness through a horror lens. Have I already become that predictable? Yeah. Let’s absolutely talk about why love and horror create the most exquisite, developmentally rich bond(age)s in all the genre world. Why? Simple: there’s no scarier plot device in horror than “love.”

Love is often described as many things – a battlefield (Pat Benatar), the answer (John Lennon), a motherf*#@er (Old School) – but cinema audiences largely attribute love’s on-screen representation to Gerard Butler rom-coms or Hallmark tear-jerkers. Guy meets girl unexpectedly, they fall in love, happily ever afters all around. If it’s December, said man is probably also Santa in disguise. Picture perfect, just as in reality. Right?

For all its butterflies and “You complete me” sentiments, love can also be a savage monstrosity that tears at our gushy insides. This is where, amidst a sea of overtly-saccharine lifestyle pornography pics, the horror genre keeps us in check – unafraid of love’s flip-side intimidation. Call me a cynic, emotionless, or unsalvageable if you must, but to me, we rob ourselves of crucial understanding by not facing our fears and exploring the shadows light doth create.

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The Monster trailer

Bryan Bertino made a memorable debut with his 2008 horror film, The Strangers. There are some genuinely unsettling sequences in that notable box office hit. Then it took six years for us to see another movie from Bertino. His sophomore effort was 2014’s Mockingbird, a found-footage horror movie released on VOD. Unlike his feature debut, Mockingbird didn’t find a large audience, but it also looked like a far less commercial movie. Bertino’s next horror film is The Monster, which stars Zoe Kazan (What If), Ella Ballentine, and The Strangers‘ Scott Speedman.

Below, watch The Monster trailer.

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