Zombies, vampires, and werewolves are scary, but theyre also make-believe, and only frightening within their respective movies and stories. But the act of falling in love? Now thats truly and unavoidably scary. Terrifying, even. Will it end up in yet another heartbreak this time? Is the object of your desires hiding something? Will the spark die within months, if not weeks or days? Falling hard for someone brings with it an overpowering vulnerability, and its more unnerving than any horror movie.
Which is why, when executed by filmmakers who arent afraid to give terror some softness, movies that combine horror and romance can be massively powerful. One such film opens this weekend, via FilmBuff and Drafthouse Films: Spring, the sophomore effort from indie breakouts Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, who came out of nowhere in 2013 with Resolution, an amazing, genre-mashing debut.
With the singular Spring, Benson and Moorhead have remarkably elevated themselves. Its about a young ruffian named Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci), who flees to Italy after his mother dies, tries to start a new life, and meets the beautiful but enigmatic Louise (Nadia Hilker). Hes all about her, yet she becomes resistant once she catches feelings of her own. The reason why: without spoiling anything here, lets just say that Spring reveals itself to be unique kind of monster movie.
Spelling Springs horror elements out wouldnt be detrimental to the film, however, because Benson and Moorhead are more interested in Evans courtship of Louise, and letting them talk and get to know each other on a human level. When Springs horror moments hit, they hit hard, but theyre really just bonuses for whats closer to a heartwarming indie date movie than your traditional midnighter.
Although Spring feels wholly unique, the ways in which it matches love with horror arent entirely new. The genre has been using romance to generate primal fears since the dawn of Universal Monsters. To see how exactly fright cinema has tugged at heartstrings over the years, and in honor of Spring, heres a list of 15 Horror Movies for Hopeless Romantics.
Matt Barone is a film-obsessed writer who, when hes not contributing to outlets like Complex, The Dissolve, and Badass Digest, endlessly weighs in on all things horroron Twitter.