Halloween is a time for candy, spoopy decor, and other things that go bump in the night. But one of my favorite aspects of the holiday is the movies you can enjoy – and they aren’t just the horror variety. Oh dear reader, trust me – there are plenty of other kinds of Halloween appropriate flicks to watch, and among my favorites are the ones that produce the feely feels in that special spooky way. So with that in mind, let’s crack open the door to that local – rose covered – haunted house, and look at what (in my opinion) are the top 10 Halloween Approved Romantic Movies for your upcoming Hallo-Season!
10. Ridley Scott’s Legend
Nothing gets that creepy fairy tale charm quite like Ridley Scott’s Legend. Why? Well, you’ve got the cute lovey-dovey elements with Jack (Tom Cruise) and Lili (Mia Sara), but on the other hand, there’s the ultimate Halloween-friendly ship of Dark Lili and Darkness (AKA Tim Curry playing The Devil). This Beauty and the Beast meets every Metal-album-cover-of-the-last-30-years-looking couple has inspired countless fan fictions, cosplays, and just overall fandom interest. But when you look at them from a film perspective, their short courtship allows for some of the most haunting and gorgeous images to ever come about on the silver screen. It’s a shame that Scott never got the true respect he deserved for this film, especially considering how many edits and overall effort he put into every frame. So if you’re looking for a true spoopy filled fairy tale in its purest form – Legend is where it’s at!
9. Only Lovers Left Alive
If you’re looking for something a bit more modern, Only Lovers Left Alive has that spooky edge lacking from your typical indie drama. This recent Jim Jarmusch creation tells the story of a centuries-long love affair between Tilda Swinton’s Eve and Tim Hiddleston’s Adam – they suck on blood popsicles together, ramble about their love of the White Stripes, and also just happen to be vampires. Sure, they aren’t the typical human hunting creatures you might be used to, nor are they the kind of individuals that’d hang around the Twilight crew – they’re their own brand of uniqueness that is one part sexy and otherwise confusing. But it is hard to not acknowledge the love between the two – even when they fall to their lowest of lows as a couple. With spoopy romance in every corner, Only Lovers Left Alive is a new cult favorite for a reason.
8. Portrait of Jennie
Considered a unknown classic to many fans, Portrait of Jennie is one of those little movies you find throughout your life that sticks with you. I was lucky enough to have my grandmother show me this hidden gem one stormy night, and it has certainly stayed as a perfect example of spooky storytelling with all the unfiltered romance of films from that era. Yes, at times it can come off a little bit like a Lifetime movie, but that’s only to those that choose to view it in that light. But if you’re willing to get soaked into a honest to goodness ghost romance, then you’ve got yourself a classic with this one.
7. Crimson Peak
2015 brought the latest Del Toro cinematic creation, Crimson Peak, to the screen. It was an ode to the romantic gothic genre, with family drama, ridiculous Hammer Horror hijinks and beautiful imagery rolled into one interesting, risk-taking, movie. Was it perfect? Not in everyone’s eyes – but for those who are a fan of similar tales of young maidens in creepy houses, it was its own masterpiece. But the aspect many viewers adored about this Del Toro gem was the romance in it. Sure, it was spooky, and a bit one note at times – but it still got many of us in the feels, and that bedroom scene wasn’t too bad either. Dripping with spoopy romance at every turn, it’s hard to not appreciate Crimson Peak in some odd way.
6. Beauty and the Beast (1946)
If you’re a frequent DG reader, I’m sure you’ll know my love for Beauty and the Beast adaptations, and the 1946 French version is among the greatest to ever be created. Unlike another entry on this list that takes a bit of a different turn, this is the classic story beat for beat – but more beautiful than any other adaptation has ever been. Why? Because this is the one that inspired all the rest – including the Disney one. And unlike the more kid-friendly renditions (with the exception of the other version on this list) Cocteau’s re-imagining of the famous fairy tale is the perfect mix of creepy, surrealist, and romantic. So if you’re willing to take the plunge into the subtitle world (or just want something a bit spooky playing in the background), the 1946 Beauty and the Beast has got you covered.
5. Edward Scissorhands
A classic that never loses its quirky feels, Edward Scissorhands will always remain my personal favorite Burton movie for many reasons, but mostly because it hits that perfect romantic sweet spot that makes you cry for sadness and joy. Edward’s journey to (in some ways) become more human leads him to meet Kim, the girl that both mends and breaks his imaginary heart. With the haunting imagery, stunning Elfman score, and near-perfect screenplay, it’s obvious why this needs to be on the list.
4. Wuthering Heights (1992)
Though many of you will look at this choice slightly puzzled, I will always cheer on that Wuthering Heights is a perfect movie for the spooky time of year. Why? Um, firstly, anything with Ralph Fiennes is instantly haunting (especially with those eyes of his), and with all the bits of ghosts (both metaphorical and literal), there’s lots to keep within the Halloween theme with this creepy family tale. Though some consider other versions better than the 1992 one, I tend to keep this one the closest to my nerdy heart.
3. Dracula (1992)
Not sure what was in the water in 1992, but it definitely was something that gave us quite a bit of incredible romantic movie experiences – especially of the spoopy kind. Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula is among one of those cult loved Halloween classics that might not be perfect to every viewer, but to those that can enjoy its beauty and hyper glamorous appeal, it stands the test of time. And the element most people cherish about this adaptation of the famous story is the romance. Winona Ryder and Gary Oldman do a perfect job of being overly dramatic while still capturing the tension between Min and Dracula. Sexy, stunning, and overall a cinematic oil painting of haunts and romance, 1992’s Dracula still remains among the best almost 25 years later.
2. Death Takes A Holiday (1934)
As a kid, I had a huge interest in creepy films from the 30’s and 40’s – anything with ghosts or monsters peaked my interest. At the same time, I discovered my love for the work of Fredric March, an under-appreciated actor of his generation that portrayed famous authors to even more famous creatures of American literature. So when my grandparents threw this little movie into our VCR (seriously, it’s only about 70 minutes long) I was instantly smitten. Sure, the script is a tad underdeveloped and the side characters are one note, but what makes this a classic March performance, along with the more notable players, is his love interest. It tells the “what if” story of the spirit of Death taking a break to experience human life, and in the process he falls in love with a human girl. Intrigued? You won’t regret it.
1. Panna a Netvor (1978)
As I mentioned, I couldn’t just put one Beauty and the Beast adaptation on this list, and in my opinion this will always remain my favorite version. I’m sure almost none of you have heard of this Czech Republic rendition of the classic tale, but you should. The Beast is a bird instead of a lion/bear hybrid, he’s controlled by evil demonic fairies (who act as the true villains of the tale), and there are multiple sequences of him hunting for food. If you can get past the truly gruesome nature of the first act, you have a movie that in many regards should be considered a classic. The scenes between our two leads are among the most beautiful in the romantic drama genre, and rather than the typical dinner scenes you might be used to in BatB, Panna chooses to show them having simple conversations, with little to no eye contact. Brilliant and creepy in every frame, this is a little known masterpiece that should be loved by all if you ask me.
So those are my picks for the best romantic cinematic discoveries for your Halloween season. What would be on your list? Comment below and tell us all your thoughts. Also if you have suggestions for an update to the list (though this one is more of a personal one) we’d love to hear your thoughts.