14 Unconventional Romance Films for Valentine’s Day

Drew Dietsch
Movies
Movies

It’s always heartwarming to watch a really great romance unfold on the big screen. However, some people aren’t crazy about cookie cutter love stories. They’re certainly a dime a dozen, and often they can be repetitious and unoriginal. We here at Fandom have decided to pull together fourteen films that depict some of the most unconventional romances ever put on screen. It just goes to show that there’s love out there for even the weirdest of us.

King Kong (1933)

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One of the big screen’s most classic romances is also one of its most bizarre. In 1933, the film world changed forever with the release of the blockbuster King Kong. An epic tale in every sense, the titular character’s motivations were actually much more small scale: he just loved Ann Darrow (Fay Wray). Kong viciously protected her from the other deadly inhabitants of Skull Island, and it was his unbridled love for Darrow that ultimately doomed him. As filmmaker Carl Denham famously says, “It was Beauty killled the Beast.” A tragic love story that also has dinosaurs and giant apes, King Kong is as romantic as it is thrilling. Ignore the reamkes and go straight to the original. [Drew Dietsch]

Harold and Maude (1971)

harold and maude

Love is an inherently weird thing. That’s why Harold and Maude manages to feel completely honest while still coming off as delightfully wacky. Our lovebirds in this film are a suicide-obsessed youth (Bud Cort) and an elderly miscreant (Ruth Gordon) who come together at a funeral. Not only is there the extreme age difference between the characters, but there’s also Maude’s predilection for stealing cars and Harold’s love of staging fake suicides during dates his mother sets up. It’s twisted and off-kilter, but in the end it’s one of the most life-affirming and sweetest movies ever made. [Drew Dietsch]

Possession (1981)

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He loves her, she loves a terrifying and disgusting tentacle monster. This notorious cult classic stars Sam Neill (Jurassic Park) and acclaimed French actress Isabelle Adjani in a morbid love triangle. Andrzej Zulawski’s disturbing film deals with a husband and wife torn apart by a supernatural entity that begins to grow and control them. Sam Neil delivers a strong performance as a man fighting to save his family, while Isabelle Adjani unleashes her inner demons and bears all. Possession is twisted, horrifying, deeply unsettling and quite possibly the darkest film you could see on Valentine’s Day. [Andrew Hawkins]

Ladyhawke (1985)

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Ladyhawke is a tale of lovers cursed. Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner) and Michelle Pfeiffer (Scarface) are a Medieval couple who have been cursed to be “always together… eternally apart.” An evil and jealous Bishop calls upon the powers of darkness and separates the pair as long the sun continues to rise and fall. During the day, the warrior Navarre must live while the maiden Isabeau takes the form of a hawk. When night falls he turns into a wolf and she becomes human again. When a young escape artist played by Matthew Broderick gets involved in their plight, events unfold to reunite the two and defeat the curse. [Andrew Hawkins]

The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)

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New Jersey waitress Cecilia (Mia Farrow) just can’t get her head out of the clouds. She’s married to an oaf (Danny Aiello), she can’t seem to carry a dish without dropping it, it’s the Great Depression, and she’s about to lose her job. Always daydreaming about movies, Cecilia is in for the shock of her life when Tom Baxter (Jeff Daniels), a minor character in a movie she can’t stop watching, walks off the screen and into her life. Farrow and Daniels make a warm, lovely screen couple, and writer/director Woody Allen mines a ton of great jokes from the film’s magical premise. [Travis Newton]

The Fly (1986)

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David Cronenberg‘s groundbreaking remake of the seminal 50’s monster film isn’t just a goopy creature effects masterpiece. It’s an operatic love story, rich with metaphors about whirlwind romance, drug use, and illness. Jeff Goldblum plays the arrogant and brilliant Seth Brundle, a scientist who’s figured out the secret to teleportation in his warehouse apartment. When journalist Ronnie (Geena Davis) takes an interest in the project, the two begin a strong relationship. Then, in a drunken haze, Brundle teleports himself… but fails to see the common housefly that snuck into the telepod with him. Horrible and amazing things ensue. [Travis Newton]

Cherry 2000 (1987)

cherry 2000

In a future world where robot companions are the norm, a businessman with a top of the line robowife looses his beloved property when she shorts out during a make out session. Distraught and desperate to replace the broken model, Sam must travel into the dangerous wasteland known as The Zone to find another one of the discontinued Cherry 2000 fembots. With the help of a scrappy tracker played by Melanie Griffith, Sam must square off against a rogues gallery of bad guys played by 80s b-movie notables like Tim Thomerson, Brion James and Robert Z’Dar. As the search for Cherry turns deadly, Sam begins to realize that he just might be falling in love with his new sidekick instead. It’s a dumb, fun Mad Max ripoff and totally worth checking out. [Andrew Hawkins]

Nekromantik (1987)

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This is the only film on this list that we here at Fandom have to slap with a big fat WARNING. If the title didn’t give it away, Nekromantik involves that most taboo of romances: necrophilia. It also contains numerous animal deaths, playful use of dead body parts, and the most disturbing use of a steel pipe in film history. The movie itself tells the story of Rob (Bernd Daktari Lorenz) and his girlfriend Betty (Beatrice Manowski) and their mutual love of corpses. Nekromantik is like a John Waters film directed by Rob Zombie. It’s by no means for everyone — it’s hardly for anyone — but if you enjoy shock cinema, it’s a necessary watch. And if you can find someone who enjoys Nekromantik with you, then it’s likely you’ve found true love. [Drew Dietsch]

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

edward scissorhands

This Tim Burton classic still holds up today as a tale of tragic love doomed from the start. Edward is the creation of a brilliant and kind hearted inventor played by Vincent Price. When he is discovered and exposed to the outside world, Edward becomes the talk of the neighborhood. He is given a place to stay and soon encounters a beautiful young woman played by Winona Ryder. She at first rejects him, but soon discovers that she loves him deeply and saves him from a Frankenstein-like fate. Edward Scissorhands is sad and emotional, but also very touching when the elderly Kim finishes the bedtime story for her granddaughter. [Andrew Hawkins]

Sleepwalkers (1992)

sleepwalkers

Stephen King and director Mick Garris really did a number on this one. Sleepwalkers is based on an original screenplay by the master of horror and has been panned as arguably one of the worst Stephen King movies ever made. The plot deals with a mother and son who prey on the blood of virgins to stay alive. It sounds like a fairly straightforward vampire tale, until you realize that the pair are in fact shapeshifting creatures that constantly have sex with each other. Yep, this is a very uncomfortable story of incest, and man is it hard to watch. It’s crazy to see how many cameos there are in the film, to include Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill. It’s an unforgettable movie, and you’ll never hear Enya’s Boadicea the same way again. [Andrew Hawkins]

May (2002)

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Lucky McKee’s May is something of a secret gem. The story involves the monstrously shy May (Angela Bettis) trying to find her version of true love, but there’s always something imperfect with the men and women she’s attracted to. Determined to fix this problem, she begins collecting the most attractive parts of the people she’s in love with. Her goal: stitch them all together to make the perfect companion. It’s a brutal tale about the impossibility of finding “the perfect mate” and how looking for love highlights our own insecurities. May also has a phenomenal ending that is eerie, sad, touching, and beautiful all at the same time. This is one worth hunting down. [Drew Dietsch]

Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

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In one of Ryan Gosling’s best performances, we see Lars: a handsome, mustachioed midwestern guy who lives in the shed on his brother’s property. Lars’ brother (Paul Schneider) and sister-in-law (Emily Mortimer) want only the best for lonely, socially awkward Lars, but the poor guy seems intent on turning down dates and staying home. But one day, Lars receives a mysterious human-sized parcel. His family and neighbors are soon shocked to find that Lars has ordered a life-size erotic doll, named her Bianca, and is now introducing her as his girlfriend. Yes, it’s strange, but the result is as heartwarming and funny as any A-grade romcom. [Travis Newton]

Her (2013)

HER

This is one for the books. Not only is Spike Jonze’s Her a dizzying romance built on two award-worthy performances, it’s also a scalpel-sharp commentary on how we use and depend on technology. Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) is trying to enjoy the single life after a devastating divorce, but his dates are going nowhere. When he buys an artificially intelligent upgrade (the voice of Scarlett Johansson) to his home operating system, the two grow closer until they begin a very sweet romance. If you haven’t seen it already, get on it. Just be sure to bring your cryin’ tissues. [Travis Newton]

Ex Machina (2015)

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It’s tough not to fall in love with Ava, the startlingly beautiful mesh-skinned robot played to perfection by Alicia Vikander. But software developer Caleb (Domnhall Gleeson) is experiencing that exact problem. Whisked away to a remote mountain laboratory by his boss (Oscar Isaac), Caleb is assigned the task of testing Ava’s intelligence. Can she pass for human? Caleb’s certainly starting to think so. Alex Garland makes a debut that puts much of the decade’s sci-fi films to shame. It’s darkly comic, it’s sexy, and so smart it’s scary. Consider it the dark yang to Her‘s yin. [Travis Newton]

No matter how unconventional your love may be, we here at Fandom hope you have a happy Valentine’s Day!


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Drew Dietsch
Drew Dietsch has written for CHUD.com, the News-Press, WhatCulture, and releases a weekly film review podcast, The Drew Reviews Podcast. He'll yak your ear off about horror movies, Jaws, RoboCop, and/or Batman if you let him.
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