The 12 Best Valentine's Day Horror Movies

Valentine's Day means different things to different people. For some, it's a joyous celebration of the people in their lives. For others, it's a painful reminder of loves lost and broken hearts. Then, for the rest of us, it's a springboard for silly slashers about lovesick killers. Second only to Christmas, Valentine's Day might well be the most popular holiday in slasher flicks. The innate tension between treacly intimacy and gonzo gore is too good an opportunity to pass up, and for time immemorial, creatives have merged both love and fear in increasingly twisted ways.

Some recent editions to the horror canon, like "Bones and All" and "Spring," while not strictly speaking Valentine's Day-themed, are deeply romantic, reminding audiences of how perfectly the two disparate emotions can coalesce into something amazing. Here, we'll be looking at horror movies specifically about the most romantic day of the year. From old school slashers to creepy, slow burn zombie frighteners, there's something here to ignite a spark in everyone's heart.


There's something to be said for schlocky, SyFy Channel-esque CG creature features. "Ice Spiders" has, well, spiders in ice. "Crooked Man" arrived long before James Wan's still-gestating "The Conjuring" spinoff. And, of course, "Cupid" takes a holiday staple and corrupts a longstanding myth to ridiculous effect. After an animated introduction reveals how Cupid came to be a homicidal maniac, the audience is plunged into a high school drama that's about to become deadly.

Following a humiliating prank, Faye (Georgina Jan) vows to take revenge on her peers. Luckily, Faye just so happens to be a practicing witch — because why not? — and summons Cupid to target the girls who wronged her. While the effects are a combination of both practical and digital — par for the course with low-budget horror films — "Cupid" looks better than most of its ilk. Some of the deaths are grislily effective. "Cupid" is mostly in on the joke, too. While the pacing lags at times, there's always another death right around the bend. "Cupid" might not be a masterpiece, but in giving the titular god his due it merits a watch.


"Into the Dark," Hulu's series of feature-length horror films, might well be the televised adaptation of the underrated 2016 anthology "Holidays." It's covered Thanksgiving, it's covered Christmas, and it's rendered Valentine's Day anew not once, but twice. In "Down," the fifth episode of the show's first season, Guy (Matt Lauria) and Jennifer (Natalie Martinez) play the last two workers inside a high-rise office building on the night before Valentine's Day. As they take the elevator to the lobby before a long weekend, it abruptly stops, trapping them inside. They hit it off. Soon, their friendship gives way to intimacy. Then, the terror arrives.

With heaps of deception, claustrophobia, and a smattering of "P2"-esque corporate terror, "Down" is an exceptionally self-contained story, an early augur of just how fantastic "Into the Dark" could be when firing on all cylinders. It's tense, terrifying, and strangely nostalgic. Like the other films on this list, it takes a famous holiday and mixes it with an ingenious concept to create something both familiar and new.

My Valentine

As good as "Down" is, season 2's "My Valentine" is just a smidge better. While both installments of "Into the Dark" address toxic masculinity and the innate terror some men strike into the hearts of women, "My Valentine" does so with a smidge more pizazz, and a smattering of more stylistic embellishments. Britt Baron stars here as Valentine, a pop star embroiled in a controversy involving stolen songs, rival star Trezzure (Anna Lore), and shady music manager Royal (Benedict Samuel), who's likely responsible for the whole ordeal.

Inevitably, "My Valentine" arrives at violence. While its tone is unwieldy at times, the film has one of the better depictions of toxic masculinity in recent memory. By literalizing the idea that, to some men, women are exchangeable, blank visages onto which they can project their own desires, "My Valentine" has a sinister, all-too-relevant urgency. That it manages to balance its message with the expected thrills is a feat unto itself.


Barbi Benton was many things. A former Playboy model, a recording artist, and a co-star on the long-running series "Hee Haw," Benton finally made the shift into horror genre the 1982's "X-Ray," otherwise known as "Hospital Massacre." Benton stars as Susan, a divorcee who's now dating Jack (Jon Van Ness). After she purchases a new health insurance plan, Susan arrives at the local hospital for a routine physical exam, but her visit proves to be anything but ordinary.

See, years prior, Susan's friend was murdered by Harold (Billy Jayne), a lovesick young boy pushed over the edge by Susan's Valentine's Day rejection. Is there a chance that Harold, with a new identity, is stalking the hospital halls, doing anything he can to get close to Susan? There sure is. While I won't spoil Harold's feigned identity, "X-Ray" manages to target the best of the post-"Halloween" slashers. It's silly, ridiculously violent, and features contrivance upon contrivance. Thanks to clerical errors and other obstacles, Susan simply cannot leave the hospital, ambling about while doctors, custodians, and others are killed and stashed away until the final confrontation. While slashers like "X-Ray" only appeal to a particular style of horror fan, those who appreciate a good, bloody yarn will find a ton to love here.

Poetic Justice (Tales from the Crypt)

Freddie Francis' "Tales from the Crypt" is one of the greatest horror anthologies ever made. Like 1945's "Dead of Night" and 1971's "The House That Dripped Blood," it's one of the premier compendiums of horror, one that paved the way for every subsequent anthology. Its first entry, "...And All Through the House," features the inimitable Joan Collins murdering her husband while simultaneously evading a homicidal Santa Claus. "Blind Alleys" is a sensationally claustrophobic tale of medical malpractice and revenge. Then, of course, there's "Poetic Justice," a "Tales from the Crypt" spin on a Valentine's Day yarn.

Adapted from the 12th issue of the comic "The Haunt of Fear," "Poetic Justice" follows David Markham's and Robin Phillips' father and son, Edward and James, and their ongoing feud with their elderly neighbor, Arthur Edward Grimsdyke (Peter Cushing). Grimsdyke, a former waste collector, keeps several dogs and regularly entertains the neighborhood's children. James takes umbrage with Grimsdyke and embarks on a series of callous acts against him, including insinuating that Grimsdyke is a predator, having his dogs taken away, and sending him a series of abusive letters on Valentine's Day. Grimsdyke dies, but like "Cupid" hero Faye, he dabbles in the occult. So, a year later, he rises from the dead on Valentine's Day. It's all gorgeously gothic, and it's never anything but a delight to see Cushing in action. A cautionary tale of petty revenge gone awry," Poetic Justice" is the best of what "Tales from the Crypt" has to offer.

My Bloody Valentine (2009)

3D gimmick aside, longtime Wes Craven editor Patrick Lussier's "My Bloody Valentine" is a pitch-perfect example of how to do a horror remake correctly. Rather than kowtowing to shifting audience demands, 2009's "My Bloody Valentine" is a love letter — sometimes quite literally — to the gonzo gore and ludicrous plotting of the best '80s slashers. With heaps of gratuitous nudity and dismemberments, many of which are augmented by the in-your-face 3D element, lovesick slashers have never been quite as much fun as they are here.

Jensen Ackles, at the height of his "Supernatural" fame, stars in "My Bloody Valentine" as Tom Hanniger, the inheritor of rural Harmony's sole mine. Years prior, Harry Warden twice embarked on a Valentine's Day massacre, at one point nearly killing Tom. Tom intends to sell the mine and be done with Harmony for good, but after a decade away, someone else has taken up Harry Warden's mantle, slashing their way through dozens of people during the season of love. Lussier wisely changes not only the story's ending but also several key beats along the way, rendering his "My Bloody Valentine" less a redux and more of a contemporary update to one of the grisliest slashers around. It's not that scary, but unlike most remakes, it reeks of genuine adoration for its source material. That makes it worth falling in love with, severed heads and all.

Lover's Lane

Slasher fans finally have a chance to check out Jon Steven Ward's "Lover's Lane," a forgotten late-'90s slasher that's getting the Arrow Video treatment. Once relegated to a single DVD print and grainy online bootlegs, "Lover's Lane" doesn't necessarily do anything remarkable within the slasher template, with Jon Condit of Dread Central remarking that it's a throwback to "simpler times." However, alongside the likes of "Valentine," it shows just how fervent the last century was about subverting holiday expectations.

As is often the case, The Hook (Ed Bailey) murders several young teens at the titular lovers lane on Valentine's Day. He's incarcerated, but he escapes years later for a new series of killings, one that puts Chloe (Sarah Lancaster) and Mandy (Erin J. Dean) in his crosshairs. The real draw of "Lover's Lane," however, is an early performance by Anna Faris as Janelle, a cheerleader who'll almost certainly meet her end at the hands of The Hook. Like 2001's "The Pool," a German slasher bursting with future A-list talent, "Lover's Lane" is a straightforward, simple slasher. It eschews the post-modernity of "Scream" for a silly and fun tale of revenge. There's a purity to its modest aspirations; luckily, audiences everywhere can finally see why.

Raising Cain

The domestic thrillers of the 1990s were something else. This was a decade when "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle," "The Good Son," and, yes, "Hush" were released to a wide audience, ably recouping their budget thanks to big name stars and outrageous terrors. Brian De Palma, perhaps the master of New Hollywood subversion, stamped one the decade's very best, "Raising Cain," with his inimitable style. John Lithgow stars as Dr. Carter Nix, a child psychologist plagued by multiple personalities, including the titular Cain, a young kid with a propensity for murder. As is often the case in De Palma's films, "Raising Cain" is a maelstrom of sexuality, violence, and obsession. Better still, it's set around Valentine's Day.

However, there's nothing all that romantic about "Raising Cain." A conspicuous Hitchcock homage, "Raising Cain" is preeminently interested in generating tension, not adhering to logic. Still, it's a remarkably accomplished feature, one that further solidifies De Palma's status as a master of psychological terror.


It's hard to argue that "Valentine" is a good movie. Jamie Blanks' slasher isn't the subversive, distinctly millennial treat that his own "Urban Legend" was three years before. However, "Valentine" has the distinct honor of being one of the last true slasher films released following the metatextual post-"Scream" boom. Sure, "Valentine" is exactly the kind of slasher movie "Scream" worked so hard to detangle, but in the years since its release our feelings about it have only grown fuzzier. With a stacked cast that includes Marley Shelton, Denise Richards, and future "Grey's Anatomy" alum Jessica Capshaw, "Valentine" is a violent tale of unrequited love and brutal murder.

Shelton stars as Kate Davies, the ringleader of a group of old middle school friends, now navigating the Los Angeles dating scene. Years before, they tormented Jeremy Melton at a school dance, though none of them have thought about him since — at least not until they get a series of strange, bloody Valentine's Day cards bearing the initials "JM." To its credit, "Valentine" tries to be more than just a body count movie. There's genuine pathos at play as "Valentine" explores the roots of body insecurity, bullying, and the shifting gender dynamics at the turn of the century. Also, it features Richards' Paige Prescott in a standout hot tub set piece. That alone makes "Valentine" worth viewing.

Picnic at Hanging Rock

Certain movies linger in the mind long after they've finished, entrenching themselves into the viewer's psyche and haunting them days, weeks, or months later. They're impossible to shake. Peter Weir's "Picnic at Hanging Rock" is one such film, a haunting exploration of missing young women, burgeoning sexuality, and an ever-changing Australian landscape. Arguably one of the most famous Australian movies ever made, "Picnic at Hanging Rock" is an enigma wrapped in enigma. It's a masterpiece.

In it, several young schoolgirls and their teachers take a jaunt to Hanging Rock, a geological formation at the site of a former volcano, for a Valentine's Day picnic. They never return. The local community grapples with the inexplicable disappearances, including Dominic Guard's Michael, a young man obsessed with finding out what happened. However, Weir (as well as author Joan Lindsay, who wrote the original novel) never reveals the truth. While the lack of concrete answers might frustrate some viewers, this choice makes for a chilling ending, cementing the film's legacy as one of the eeriest films of all time.


"Pontypool" is incidentally set on Valentine's Day, but it's still the second-best horror movie set on the day of love. More than that, though, it's arguably one of the best zombie movies of all time, a slick, lean, and mean indie that's aware of its own constraints and uses them to elevate the tension and claustrophobia to masterclass levels. 

In "Pontypool," a group of people are trapped in a soundproof radio booth after a virus breaks out in the world outside. This isn't a conventional disease, though. Instead, like a kind of zombified "Arrival," its power comes from language: Certain words — terms of endearment, for instance — have the capacity to infect others. Different terms infect different people, so to stay alive, the survivors must mitigate their dire straits by any means necessary without talking. On the surface, this sounds like it shouldn't work. However, as a metaphor for the power of language and its capacity to convey love, pain, and violence, it's a phenomenal achievement.

My Bloody Valentine (1981)

As great as Patrick Lussier's remake is, there's no topping the original. George Mihalka's "My Bloody Valentine" is infamously violent. It was so violent, in fact, that the MPAA demanded extensive cuts, with editors ultimately severing nearly nine minutes of footage from the final product. Over the years, efforts have been made to restore "My Bloody Valentine" to its original state. While Scream Factory's 2020 release is the closest the film has come to feeling complete, it's still obvious that the once-removed footage has been stitched into the theatrical cut.

Whether the censored gore is there or not, however, "My Bloody Valentine" remains a revelation. It's unusually tender, genuinely well-acted, and, like its most obvious inspirations, scary where it counts. Where the remake trades in camp, the original is an unforgiving and brutal slasher. The deaths come fast and hard, especially with the restored footage, and the climactic chase through a mine is unlike anything the horror genre has seen since. "My Bloody Valentine" stands tall as the premier Valentine's Day slasher.