Horror movies have a lot to teach us.
Okay, 90% of what horror movies have to teach us is “Don’t investigate that creaking noise in the garage, especially if you hear it immediately after losing your virginity.” But I believe that horror movies can offer guidance on a wider array of topics than just how to best avoid getting stabbed by a dude in a mask from Party City.
For you see, I believe that horror movies have a lot to teach us about…love. Yes, love—the one topic scarier than all the abandoned Girl Scout camps and suburban homes built on ancient burial grounds in the world combined! I’ve analyzed four horror classics, and was surprised by the amount of practical and relatable dating scenarios and advice that they contained. Absorb these lessons, and let this Halloween not just be a spooktacular for the mind, but a spooktacular for the heart.
1. Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Situation: All you want to do is be the most successful opera singer in Paris. But all your boyfriend wants you to do is quit being an opera singer and marry him and go be a countess in the countryside or some other place where they don’t have operas. And all your other boyfriend wants to do is murder people and act like he’s doing it for you–but don’t you think maybe he just likes murdering people? Like, maybe just a tiny bit? Anyway, they’re both really bossy.
Dating Lesson: The Phantom is such a classic Nice Guy™–he thinks that you owe him sexy-times, just because he murdered a bunch of strangers so that you could further your singing career. Don’t let anyone pressure you like that! Only have sex with murderers with whom you feel a real emotional connection–not just ones who try to persuade you that you “owe” them something. I mean, if you’re going to bang every single person who commits a chandelier-based massacre in your name, you’re never even gonna have enough free time to watch your Tivo backlog, let alone find someone truly special to share your life with.
2. The Shining (1980)
Situation: You move upstate to get some quality time away from the big city party and dating scenes, where you can finally work on your novel. But before you can say “all work and no play makes Jack start a secret fake OkCupid account,” you find that there are just as many opportunities to bend an elbow, bang a stranger, or antagonize an ancient immortal evil up here in this remote mountain hotel as there were in the urban life that you left behind.
Dating Lesson: Contrary to what you read in fashion magazines, a wide variety of clothing and make-up looks are appealing to most people–so when dressing for a date, you should pick a style that feels the most “you,” not just whatever is most trendy at the moment. But please, try to figure out the exact look you’re going with before you leave for a date. “Nude sexy lady mysteriously lounging around a hotel bathroom” OR “hideously grinning putrefied corpse” are each fine date night looks with a lot to recommend–but don’t change from one to the other in the middle of a make-out sesh with a new dude, or you’ll end up appearing “high maintenance” and scaring him off (most likely sending him back into the arms of his wife, who has a very consistent “denim-wearing adult toddler” look).
3. Evil Dead II (1987)
Situation: All you and your paramour want is a little alone time in the woods, away from your weird roommate and that burnt plastic smell that’s always in the hallway of your apartment building. But you forgot to bring your iPod speakers, so you play the only music you found in the cabin– an old recording of some guy reading aloud from an ancient book of necromancy. It’s not as good for setting a mood as your “Ultimate Robin Thicke MegaMix” playlist, but you give it a shot…and the weekend takes a downward turn from there.
Dating Lesson: Don’t spend a long weekend in the country with someone you don’t know very well. You may think the isolation sounds romantic, that it could create intimacy and speed a new relationship along into something more committed–but in reality, you need time-tested emotional bonds to keep the relationship together after your date accidentally turns you into an undead hell-demon. If you really know your companion, all this adversity could bring you closer together in the end—but it you don’t, the weekend could end in a flurry of arguments, beer-tears, angry Lulu reviews, and an awkwardly silent drive back to the train station.
4. The Thing (1982/ 2011)
Situation: You’re through with love. You’re so through with love that you take off for Antarctica with a bunch of pirate-y looking guys who are still apparently scientists. But even there, love finds you…well, love, or some alien parasite-monster, one or the other. The important part is, you’re finally forced to confront, head-on, whatever it is that you’re running from.
Dating Lesson: Changing location will never fix your dating problems–if you think your dating problem is “all the girls in New York just want to be with a guy who is rich” or “all the guys in Los Angeles want to be with a girl who is model-beautiful” or “all the crab-monsters in Antarctica just want to burrow into my body,” the problem is most likely with you. Hold onto that money you were going to use for a new apartment deposit, and spend it on a good therapist who will help you see yourself more clearly and stop running away from your problems–and finally, help you accept who you are. After all, you can’t just change yourself to please people. Even if you are an alien crab-monster who is literally able to change yourself to please people.