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Terrifying Love: Special Guest Lucky McKee’s Five Valentine’s Films

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Valentine’s Day is almost here, dear readers, and as we all know, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of having someone’s heart in your hands… at least until it stops beating. But when roses, chocolates and wine fail to satisfy that special gorehound in your life, what’s a horror fan to do? Lucky for you, Fango wants to help make your Valentine’s a bloody perfect one, so cozy up to your demented darling, queue up these romantic fright films and re-animate your love life!

As we all know and have been told time and time again by various musical artists and filmmakers, love hurts, and in more ways than one. Sometimes, it’s figuratively painful, in between broken egos, divided friendships and massive monetary loss, and other times, its literal, such as body mutilation, sexual violation and sadistic mind games. But, horror hounds, who knows these pains better than one of the effective love-horror storytellers working today, Lucky McKee?

With MAY having become a classic in the annals of dark romance films, McKee has told numerous tales of tortured lovers both on the screen and on the page, solidifying himself as a master of horror in the process. In fact, it’s this understanding of love and horror that has gravitated McKee to controversial author Jack Ketchum, whom have become collaborators and told some seriously scary—and scarring—stories about the consequences of our own carnal desires, whether innocent or malevolent. So in our TERRIFYING LOVE series, FANGORIA called out to McKee to see if he could share his recommendations to fright fans, and Lucky was prompt, offering five fantastic films to chew on this Valentine’s Day.

MAD LOVE (1935, dir. Karl Freund)

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Peter Lorre’s first American film is a wonderful little fairy tale of obsessive love. “Each man kills the thing he loves” is one of my favorite lines in movie history.

THE UNKNOWN (1927, dir. Tod Browning)

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Lon Cheney delivers a classic performance as an armless knife thrower who falls in love with a woman who just so happens to have a very specific fear of men’s arms. Ingenious surprises and twists turn this into one of the great tragedies committed to film.

BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA (1992, dir. Francis Coppola)

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This film represents, to me, a final note on 20th century filmmaking. As the sun was rising on the digital age of filmmaking, Coppola gifted us with this; a film that’s as much about his love for filmed cinema as it is a tortured Count’s yearning to be reunited with his great lost love.

CUJO (1983, dir. Lewis Teague)

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Stephen King’s cautionary tale about marital infidelity is masterfully dramatized by the extremely underrated Lewis Teague. This story carries the weight of a Bible story, depicting a woman who pays dearly for the sins of betraying love and the family unit.

LA BELLE ET LA BETE aka BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1946, Jean Cocteau)

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This visual delight from Cocteau is a landmark in romantic fantasy film. It’s influence is still widely felt today. A masterful fairy tale on film. Required viewing for anyone who loves cinema.

Lucky McKee’s films MAY, THE WOODS, RED, SICK GIRL and THE WOMAN are currently available on home video. Lucky McKee also cowrote I’M NOT SAM with Jack Ketchum in 2013, which is still available in paperback. McKee and co-director Chris Sivertson’s ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE will be released later this year by Image Entertainment.

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Fangoria Staff
FANGORIA: The First in Fright Since 1979.
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