More Romantic Horror Movies For Valentine’s Day

I was checking in on my previous list of horror movies to watch for Valentine’s Day, for inspiration this V-Day since it’s minus 25 Celsius here in Toronto aka a the perfect weather to be anti-social and avoid others. To my shock I seem to had left off some of the most romantical horror films! So I figured now was a good time to list some more great romantic horror films for everyone to watch while eating cheesecake alone.

It is worth noting this is a list of romantic horror films, rather than Valentine’s themed ones. There aren’t any slashers like Valentine’s Day, My Bloody Valentine. I also avoided movies like The Voices or Maniac where the protagonist can’t discern the difference between romance and chopping up the girls he likes.

So without further ranting I humbly present the follow up list-sequel (hasn’t the internet come up with a portmanteau for that yet?)

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Candyman: How could I have left this film off my previous list? Tony Todd’s flawless baritone purr calling out to beautiful grad student Helen Lyle from across a parking garage, his voice some how a whisper in her mind! A movie whose romance is only rivalled by it’s scares.

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Hellraiser: If you think about it, Hellraiser’s plot is essentially a Lifetime movie on acid. A woman in a loveless marriage reconnects with her brother in law, with whom she had a torrid affair with years previously. Only in order for them to be together she must bring him men to consume. How I managed to leave this off my list is beyond me. I mean seriously, who doesn’t want someone to want them as much as Julia wants Frank? Even after Frank ends up a skinless cannibalistic attic dweller.

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The Fly: A large percentage of Cronenberg’s Oeuvre would work for V-Day. I mean Crash, Videodrome, A Dangerous Method, M. Butterfly, Map to the Stars or Dead Ringers would be great viewing for the weird on V-Day. But The Fly is Cronenberg at his most gooey and romantic. Brundle-Butt aside, the sheer glamour of Geena Davis and the top notch practical effects should have you sold.

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Interview with the Vampire: Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt as immortal boyfriends? Yes please. While director Neil Jordan definitely subdued the gayness of the original text, the movie comes out hella gay none the less.A beautiful and sumptuous film with some of the last great practical effects of the 90s.  As romantic as it is bloody.

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Byzantium: A spiritual sequel to Interview with the Vampire, Neil Jordan stuns with a more subtle vampire story. Set in modern times with flashbacks to centuries previous, two vampires on the run hide in a small seaside town. But when the younger attends classes at a local school, she puts not only herself and her companion at risk, but also a haemophiliac boy she has feelings for. Truly stunning both visually and in terms of the way it reinvents the vampire mythos, it makes the perfect double feature with Interview.

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Bride of Frankenstein: “We belong dead.” The movie that brought Tiffany Charles, noted murderess and voodoo dabbler to tears is a V-Day must. Glorious black and white horror that lept over the bar set by James Whale’s first instalment.

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Honourable Mention Hannibal: The Red Dragon: While it isn’t a film, Hannibal is one of the best/goriest/most romantic things to be put on screen in the last decade. A particular stand out in the romance department is the final run of episodes which were essentially a 6 episode miniseries was a highlight of the series run and arguably the epitome of the homoromantic subtext turning text that drew so many to the critically acclaimed series. Episodes 8 to 13 of the third season tell a complete story that while enhanced by the preceding episodes would still make for a great V-Day watch and certainly play better after repeated viewings compared to Manhunter and Red Dragon the two previous attempts at adapting the Thomas Harris novel.

 

 

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Hannibal Season 1 & 2 [NETFLIX]

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Anyone who has read this blog likely knows I am absolutely OBSESSED with Bryan Fuller’s darkly gorgeous and brilliant series Hannibal. I mean I am always yacking about it. I badger co-workers into watching it and may have shouted at a stranger in a super market to give it a try. And now I am here to shout at you, people of the interwebs. For those of you in the terrible land of America, Amazon Prime has the exclusive rights to stream Hannibal. BUT if you are among the lucky Canadians (and possibly other countries? I’m not tight with any Swedes but if you’re reading this let me know in the comments if it’s streaming in your country).

Canadian Netflix is currently streaming both seasons. Both seasons? You ask! But wasn’t the finale like a month ago? Yes my dear it was! Netflix Canada seems to have had it almost as soon as it was done broadcasting. And now that it has been renewed for a third season, why not give it a go? The second season is even better than the first. The twists! The cinematography! The cannibal puns! It’s everything you ever wanted from a television show. And it trumps critical darlings like True Detective in just about every single aspect. It’s better than American Horror Story: Pick a Season. It is possibly one of the best shows ever.

So go on, fork over your 8 dollars and get to streaming! And for my non-Canadian readers, I’m not sure how to get Canadian Netflix? I don’t think it’s a thing per say since most content is American-exclusive. But our Netflix also has such delights as the 90s X-Men cartoon! So maybe it’s worthy trying? I dunno, or go fork over mad money to Amazon. It’s your body money, do what you want with it.

10 Reasons Hannibal Is The Best Show You Aren’t Watching [TELEVISION]

Hannibal_Title_CardFor those unaware, NBC’s Hannibal is one of if not the best shows on broadcast Television. Bryan Fuller’s Adaptation/Prequel/Re-Imaging/Fever Dream TV show about the titular cannibal Doctor Hannibal Lecter and FBI profiler Will Graham. The show is currently airing it’s second season. It continues to draw critical praise and has a devoted fanbase. However it has continued to struggle with ratings after coming close to being cancelled after it finished it’s first season. So without further adieu I give you 10 reasons why Hannibal is the best show you aren’t watching.

It’s By Bryan Fuller!

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 Fuller is essentially Joss Whedon on a fabulous acid trip. He’s had a long history of creating hilarious, poignant and morbid fair. He also happens to be perpetually cancelled after short runs on critically acclaimed shows that struggle with ratings. Where as Joss has Firefly, Bryan is behind cult classics Wonderfalls, Dead Like Me and Pushing Daisies. He also gave us everyone’s favourite cross-dresser Eddie Izzard and Ellen’s wife Portia in the lush but doomed Munsters re-imagining Mockingbird Lane. He has one of the best eyes presenting lush technicolor with a heavy helping of death. Dead Like Me follows a dead girl who must spend time as a Grimm Reaper after a toilet falls from the sky and kills her. Pushing Daisies tells the story of a pie-maker who can bring the dead back with a touch, and features musical icons Ellen Greene (Little Shop Of Horrors) and Kristen Chenoweth (Wicked). Fuller creates bizarre and beautiful television, the kind that often thrives on cable and dies on the major networks.

The Cinematography Is Mind Blowing

tumblr_mlttxeDhHa1rvs9wso2_500The entire show is so meticulously crafted in every aspect. The clothing each character wears, the set design, effects, and everything within the shot is pretty much flawless. But more then anything it’s the cinematography that truly allows everything to look so lush and detailed. It speaks to the dedication and love the production puts into the show. It looks nothing like TV thriller and more like a lush art film.

The Dream Sequences

tumblr_inline_n2obx0xhVl1rxatc4In addition to it’s flawless waking world, Hannibal utilizes a fair amount of dream sequences, fantasies, and hallucinations. A big part of the plot if Will Graham’s ability to inhabit the mind of serial killers and how his work with the FBI may be affecting his sanity. Throughout the series, we see some truly mind blowing fantasy sequences, such as Will laying in bed and the room flooding with crashing waves (a nod to Julianne Moore’s suicide fantasy in The Hours). And I would be remiss to omit what is often referred to as The Stag/Raven-Stag/Wendigo. Introduced late in the first season, it is a naked humanoid with massive antlers, night black skin and the face of Hannibal Lecter. It is a testament to the quality of the show that such a bizarre vision can be incorporated into the series. In fact it makes The Rubberman on American Horror Story seem absolutely pedestrian.

THE GORE!

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Horror fans are often accused of liking gore to a point of vulgarity. And it’s true that it is not often that gore can exist as both truly disturbing and utterly beautiful. Shows like American Horror, Walking Dead and Game of Thrones have shown us plenty of gore on cable TV but I can’t recall a show on broadcast TV featuring so much gore. Each episode will usually involve at least one dead body at a crime scene. We are treated to women mounted on stag heads, people turned into bee-hives, people are flaying to resemble angels, cut open and turned into cellos, and even a mural made of corpses and a totem pole. But it isn’t the crime scenes that will truly gross you out. It’s Hannibal preparing various cannibalistic entrees to feed his guest that are truly gruesome. Very early on we see Hannibal as he prepares a pair of human lungs, pressing the air out, dissecting meat from ventricles. We see him make brain, tongue. He braises a piece of calf muscle and makes a people sausage scramble. It’s truly a horror fans delight!

 The Cannibal Puns

tumblr_mndqmsTCF91qe4ixoo1_500The only real moments of levity come from Hannibal’s various cannibal puns and double entendres. When everyone finally clues in that he’s been eating people this whole time they are going to feel mighty stupid. Hannibal is portrayed as the ultimate foodie and that provides plenty of moments of dramatic irony. Such as when Freddy Loundes talks about how horrible it is they are all eating meat.  It provides the perfect kind of dark humor required to keep the story from being too bleak while also not ruining the mood of the show.

The Gay SubText of it All!

tumblr_mo2z4v1DCj1qcxymno3_500In the Hannibal books by Thomas Harris, Clarice Starling ends up becoming Hannibal’s lover at the end of the third book (also titled Hannibal). Throughout their interactions, there is an obviously fascination which seems at times sexual in nature. Hannibal sends her perfume, buys her Prada etc. On the show, Hannibal’s obsession with Will Graham is at first presented as purely one of scientific interest. But what becomes clear is that the writers are subtle blurring the line between fascination and lust. Hannibal’s need to control Will is one thing. But he often goes above and beyond when it comes to screwing with Will’s love interest Dr. Alana Bloom. At one point he sends a serial killer to her home and they constantly fight about what is best for Will. It’s the stuff ships are made of! But whatever you do don’t read the fanfiction.

Hugh Dancy! Because!

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Hugh Dancy stars as Will Graham and he is pretty much the most adorable of all the various gifted crime solvers on TV. That’s right Sherlockians, he’s cuter then Bumblebatch Cumbersnatch. He’s also a stand out in a top notch cast. He will literally break your heart with his vulnerability and win your mind with his flawless portrayal of a man loosing his mind.

All The Guest Stars!

tumblr_mosi1oEjr81qgqr0ho1_500That is right! That’s Agent Dana Scully! The show features Gillian Anderson as Hannibal’s shrink. Anderson stands out as giving one of the best performances of her career. But that isn’t all. Over the course of a season and change we have gotten guest roles from Gina Torres (Firefly), Molly Shannon(SNL, Superstar), Cynthia Nixon(Sex and the City), Eddie Izzard (The Riches, Mockingbird Lane), Amanda Plummer (Pulp Fiction)  and Ellen Greene(Little Shop of Horrors). Add to that Katherine Isabelle(American Mary, Ginger Snaps), Michael Pitt(Funny Games, Hedwig and the Angry Inch) and a rumor that David Bowie might make a cameo. And I would go to gay Canadian hell if I didn’t mention Scott Thompson (Kids in The Hall) who recurs as one of the three FBI lab techs. In short it is chock full of amazingly talented stars, often turning out deranged performances.

It’s On-Par Better Than Any Horror Show On Cable

hannibal-i-love-your-workHorror shows are all the rage right now. It started with genre shows in the vein of Buffy with shows like True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, Being Human, Teen Wolf etc. Then it got to be about darker fare like The Walking Dead. Then American Horror Story took the world by storm and everyone was clamoring to see it. And most recently HBO’s True Detective (which seems to be strongly influenced by Hannibal) has become a smash hit and much watch TV. But here is the thing, Hannibal is better. It takes the dark violent beauty of American Horror Story, the fascinating crime solving of True Detective and the no one is safe mentality of The Walking Dead, and prepares a 13 course meal of it. It has a quality not present in the various other horror movies turned TV shows that we are getting of late and it often surpasses the source material and other adaptations in terms of it’s brilliance.

You’ll Regret Not Watching It

giphy (1)Every nerd has one. The show that got cancelled too soon. For many it’s Firefly, or Twin Peaks.  These shows obtain cult status and are often trotted out by fellow nerds as a way to establish cred. “What do you mean you’ve never seen Firefly?” is a phrase I’ve heard leaving my lips before and countless other’s mouths as well. Hannibal has been ratings challenged with a rabid fanbase (Fannibals) and it has long been feared that despite it’s widespread acclaim it would be cancelled. Many fans are turned off by the idea of someone other then Anthony Hopkins playing Hannibal. Or they have been put off by the decreasing quality of each film installment. But mark my words, this show will be appearing on top 10 lists and lists of under-rated shows for years to come. So what are you waiting for?

Hannibal airs Fridays at 10PM EST on NBC in the US and CityTV in Canada. 

One Month Until Hannibal Season Two [TELEVISION]

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The second season of Bryan Fuller’s re-imagining of Thomas Harris’ characters from his books which have inspired 5 motion pictures including the horror thriller classic Silence Of The Lambs. I have been a life long devotee to the franchise that garnered Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster both Oscars. As a spooky kid, the original film had everything. It was terrifying, gory, cerebral, well acted and kinda gay. Going into this series last year I was ready to be offended. I’d really liked Ridley Scott’s take on Clarice and the Cannibal in Hannibal, and Red Dragon didn’t completely shit the bed thanks to Ralph Fiennes. Hannibal Rising on the other hand just left me asking why?

But after the first episode I was completely hooked. Hannibal takes the standard police procedural archetype of the odd/possibly touched/insane criminal investigator with some sort of magic insight (Medium, Criminal Minds, The Following, Twin Peaks etc) and turns it on his head. While the characters exist within the narrative of trying to find a killer with the help of highly empathetic FBI instructor Will Graham, the actual plot of the show revolves around the lengths to which Dr. Hannibal Lecter will go not only to kill and consume his victims, but also to avoid being caught.

The show is full of shots of intense gore which within the mise en scene of Fuller’s world becomes mixed beautifully with the shows otherwise high end aesthetic. Hannibal is seen butchering human lungs but between his manner of dress, the immaculate kitchen and stylish cinematography make it all appear like a commercial for high end knives then a tawdry exploitation film. Not to mention Fuller’s use of hallucinations and dream sequences to further explore surreal images such as the dark stag/wendigo monster pictured at the top of this post.

With Season 1 concluding with SPOILER: Will Graham arrested for the murder of Abigail Hobbs and the titular cannibal walking free the second season promises to leave us on the edge of our seats. And joining the cast which includes Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy, along with Laurence Fisbourne, Gillian Anderson, Scott Thompson, Caroline Dhavernas and Hettienne Park will be Sex and the City’s Cynthia Nixon and Katherine Isabelle who will be playing Margot Verger (the lesbian sister of Mason Verger played by Gary Oldman in the film Hannibal). Check out the trailer for the new season below. Hannibal returns for it’s second season 10PM on Friday February 28th on NBC in the US and CityTV in Canada.