Be My Bloody Valentine: The Ten Worst Dates in Horror History

Dating can be stressful. Anyone who’s ever ventured out into the singles market knows that the search to find a soulmate, a hookup, or just someone with whom to share a quiet evening can feel like a perilous roll of the dice. You’re just as likely to wind up with a serial killer as you are Prince Charming. The horror genre is not immune from this unpredictability.

Though some cinematic dates turn out well, other times the hot woman sitting at the end of the bar is secretly planning to take would-be suitors back to her house and feed them to the creature living in her attic. In fact, some of the worst dates in history have happened in horror movies.

Sometimes the danger is lurking in the shadows just steps away from the happy couple and other times it’s sitting on the other side of a candlelit table. But regardless of where the threat originates, the following ten films prove that anything can happen in love and horror and sometimes we’re better off just staying home. 

Carrie (1976)

Brian De Palma’s classic Carrie has become nearly synonymous with prom night. Adapted from Stephen King’s debut novel, the story follows Carrie White (Sissy Spacek), a high school outcast who discovers she has a unique ability to move things with her mind. The popular Sue Snell (Amy Irving) attempts to make amends for a cruel prank by convincing her boyfriend to take Carrie to the prom in her place and after a hard fought battle with her ultra religious mother, Carrie arrives at the dance determined to have the time of her life.

De Palma films the evening as a serene dream with gentle music and a dizzying sequence on the dance floor, a sharp contrast to the hell that awaits. Unfortunately for Carrie, mean girl Chris Hargenson (Nancy Allen) has orchestrated a plot to humiliate Carrie by naming her Prom Queen then dumping a bucket of pig’s blood on her in front of the entire senior class. When the gym erupts with laughter, Carrie unleashes her rage in the form of telekinetic power that sets the gym and its occupants on fire. Covered in blood, she wanders out of the blazing school hellbent on revenge. The senior prom does indeed become a night to remember, but not in the way anyone anticipated. 

The Dead Zone (1983)

While Carrie may be King’s most overtly horrific date, another film from his early catalog is equally catastrophic. In The Dead Zone, teacher Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken) takes his girlfriend Sarah (Brooke Adams) on a date to the local carnival, but gets a headache while riding a rollercoaster. Declining to spend the night with Sarah, he decides to end the evening and tells her that “some things are worth waiting for.” Unfortunately the lovestruck teacher has a car accident while driving home and spends the next five years in a coma. He awakens to find that Sarah has reluctantly moved on with her life and married another man, though this is not the worst thing to happen while Johnny was sleeping.

While in the coma, he’s gained a psychic ability that allows him to see into the past, present, and future with just the touch of his hand. King’s novel gives Sarah and Johnny a chance to recapture their lost love with a beautiful afternoon picnic in which they make up for lost time. Cronenberg’s film sees the two rekindle their lost love as Johnny dies in her arms after saving the world from a malevolent politician. Regardless of the ending, both versions of the story stand as a horrifying example of lost love stemming from one catastrophically unlucky date. 

American Psycho (2000)

At first glance, Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) seems like the perfect boyfriend. The wealthy Investment Banker spends nearly all his time cultivating an outward image of perfection designed to make him the envy of everyone he encounters. It’s no wonder his secretary Jean (Chloë Sevigny) has fallen in love with him. After making countless reservations for Patrick’s dinners with other women, her dreams finally come true when he asks her to be his date for the evening. Unfortunately, she suggests they go to Dorsia, the one restaurant in New York where he can’t seem to secure a table. This slight blow to his ego triggers a murderous rage and Patrick begins to plot the death of his shy secretary.

As it turns out, Patrick’s perfect image hides a nightly bloodlust and a horrific habit of brutal murder, specifically targeting young women and his male rivals. Jean arrives at Patrick’s apartment excited for their date, but poised to become his next victim. While she muses about her hopes and dreams, he stands behind her and points a nail gun at her head. Luckily a voice message from Patrick’s fiancé breaks the spell and saves Jean’s life. She ends the evening never knowing how close she came to death and becomes one of the few women ever to leave Patrick’s apartment alive.  

It Follows (2014)

It Follows: TWC Weinstein Radius

The 214 film It Follows begins with the date from hell and explores the horrific consequences of love gone wrong. Jay (Maika Monroe) is excited for her first date with Hugh (Jake Weary), a dreamy guy from a neighboring suburb. The evening gets off to an ominous start when Hugh sees something that spooks him at an old fashioned movie theater and insists they leave before the show begins. After a romantic dinner, he drives her to an abandoned building where they have sex in his car. While Jay lazily daydreams in the afterglow, he drugs her and later explains that she’s become the new target of a shapeshifting monster and the next link in a deadly chain. The mysterious It will follow her wherever she goes, never relenting in its quest to rip her apart. The only way to save herself is to have sex with someone else and pass the curse along to them.

The powerful film is a haunting parable about the dangers of casual sex and the horror of STIs, but a deeper reading reveals a devastating exploration of trauma stemming from sexual assault. Regardless of the interpretation, It Follows begins with one of the most horrific dates of all time and doesn’t let up until we’ve all felt Jay’s pain in its aftermath. 

Scream 2 (1997)

Another horrific date kicks off Scream 2, one of the best sequels in horror history. Maureen (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Phil (Omar Epps) are heading to the theater and discussing the troubling state of Black cinema when they inadvertently wander into the clutches of a copycat murderer. Though Maureen suggests going to see a Sandra Bullock movie, Phil convinces her to go to the premier of Stab, the film adaptation of The Woodsboro Murders, a true crime retelling of the events of the original Scream. With an audience filled with Ghostface masks handed out by the studio, Maureen and Phil enter a confusing hellscape of chaotic energy.

Phil goes to the bathroom where he is unceremoniously killed by the new Ghostface who dons his jacket and returns to his seat next to Maureen. During the film’s opening scene, the mysterious killer stabs her in the stomach, beginning a new cycle of ritualistic murders. Maureen wanders through the aisles pleading for help only to be ignored by an audience convinced her death is a publicity stunt. She dies in front of the screen as the horrific truth slowly dawns on the stunned crowd and her killer quietly slips out of the theater, lost in the confusion. 

Fresh (2022)

The most recent film on this list, Fresh, explores the horrors of modern dating. Fed up with the guys she’s meeting on dating apps, Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones) takes a chance and goes out for drinks with a cute guy she meets in the grocery store. Steve (Sebastian Stan) is a funny and down to earth doctor who seems too good to be true. Their romance quickly escalates and the new couple plan a romantic weekend away. Upon arriving at Steve’s luxurious bachelor pad, he pours Noa a drugged cocktail and she passes out on the floor. Noa wakes up chained to the wall of a fancy cell with Steve waiting to tell her the horrifying truth: he belongs to a secret society of uber wealthy cannibals. He plans to keep her captive, slowly cutting off pieces of her body to sell as high-priced meat through underground channels.

Though Noa is understandably horrified, she keeps her cool and decides to play the limited cards in her hand. Nurturing Steve’s lingering affection for her, she convinces him to take her on a “date” in the dining room so that she can try some of his product for herself. She seduces Steve and preys on his vulnerabilities before taking a vicious bite of her own. This act of defiance explodes into a hellish climax that pits Noa against the man she once believed might be her perfect match. 

Dracula (1992)

The story of history’s most famous vampire is surprisingly romantic. Francis Ford Coppola’s lavish retelling of Bram Stoker’s classic tale is practically bursting with gothic imagery and raging lust. Mina Murray (Winona Ryder) is anxiously awaiting the return of her financé when she meets a fascinating man, a young Count Dracula (Gary Oldman), on a busy London Street. The dark and dashing man takes her to see a cinematograph where she begins to fall for his seductive spell. Their impromptu date is interrupted when a wolf who seems to have a connection with her mysterious escort bursts into the theater. As it turns out, Mina is the reincarnation of Dracula’s beloved wife Elisabeta who centuries earlier threw herself into the river when a messenger mistakenly reported that her husband had died in battle. It was her death that caused the Transylvanian king to renounce God and become an unholy creature of the night.

Now seeing a chance to reunite with his long lost love, he reminds her of their past together and attempts to turn her into a vampire as well. This ignites a bizarre love affair causing Mina to choose between her future with Jonathan or the great love from her past. Having followed Dracula to his Transylvanian castle, Mina finally frees him from his eternal curse and the two lovers, separated by oceans of time, are finally reunited in the sweet release of death. 

Teeth (2007)

Dawn (Jess Weixler) doesn’t have much experience with dating. As a teenage representative of an abstinence program called The Promise, she has made a sacred vow to save herself for marriage symbolized by a ring she hopes to one day replace with a wedding band. Her belief in chastity is so strong that she avoids any type of physical contact, even refusing to see movies that might include kissing scenes. Fortunately Tobey (Hale Appleman), the cute new guy in town, seems to share her beliefs. They go on an innocent date to a local swimming hole and begin making out in one of the hidden caves. As it turns out, Tobey’s religious beliefs are not as strong as he claims and he rapes her after she hits her head on a slippery rock.

Fortunately, Tobey is not the only one hiding a secret. Dawn has been born with a rare adaptation known as “vagina dentata,” a set of sharp teeth inside her vagina. With one quick “chomp” her body defends itself against the invading penis and a stunned Tobey falls into the water and bleeds to death, crabs eventually devouring the severed flesh. Desperate to understand what is happening to her body, Dawn begins to reevaluate everything she’s been brought up to believe. Though it leads to the discovery of her sexual power, there’s no doubt, Dawn’s romantic trip to the lake will go down in history as one of the most bizarre and horrifying dates of all time. 

Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Nearly fifteen years after hitting theaters, Jennifer’s Body is finally regarded as the feminist masterpiece it truly is. The story of a popular high school girl transformed into a succubus was unfairly maligned upon its initial release, but has emerged from a recent reevaluation as one of the seminal horror texts on modern sexuality. Jennifer Check (Megan Fox) is a gorgeous cheerleader who becomes a human sacrifice for a small-time band casting a spell for fame and fortune. When their ritual goes wrong, Jennifer emerges from the woods with a powerful new body and a hunger for human flesh. Fortunately her conventional attractiveness gives her all the tools she needs to lure in the boys.

She agrees to go out with Colin (Kyle Gallner), a nerdy goth who’s been harboring a crush on the popular girl. Rather than a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Jennifer takes Colin to a remote house still under construction. Leading him to a partially finished bedroom filled with candles, she begins to seduce him before transforming into a terrifying creature and devouring his body. Having finally won a date with the girl of his dreams, the unfortunate Colin winds up just another link in Jennifer’s food chain, giving her the energy to survive for another few weeks. 

Zodiac (2007)

Few dates have escalated so quickly and horrifically as the lakeside murder in David Fincher’s Zodiac. Bryan (Patrick Scott Lewis) and Cecilia (Pell James) are enjoying a romantic afternoon on the sunny shores of Lake Berryessa near Napa, California, when a masked man approaches them pointing a gun. Hoping he’s just there to rob them, the couple try to appease him with offers of money and assistance, only to realize his true intent is much darker. He binds the couple then begins to viciously stab them as they stare at each other in horror. Bryan survives the deadly encounter by playing dead, but his girlfriend Cecilia is not so lucky.

The terrifying scene was based on true events and Fincher’s intimate style captures the horrific reality playing out in broad daylight. Even more disturbing, the Zodiac Killer who targeted young lovers remains unknown to this day and no one has ever been brought to justice for his brutal crimes. 

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