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Happy Valentine’s Day: Ten Worst Married Couples of Horror

Gwendolyn Kiste

So Valentine’s Day is upon us, that overwrought occasion filled with far too many phony chocolates and more than a few wilting flowers. But not everyone is having a saccharine time. In fact, some couples are experiencing anything but wedded bliss. For your horror-loving pleasure, I give you the top ten worst married couples of horror.

This is the must-see list for any friend who’s planning to take that long walk down the aisle. Can’t say you didn’t warn them.

Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse in Rosemary’s Baby

Most women complain when their husbands leave the toilet seat up or forget their birthdays. I’d love to see the therapy circle if Rosemary Woodhouse attended the session. “So what’d your husband do?” “Oh, just sold my womb to Beelzebub for some cheap acting career.”

Maybe if Guy hadn’t been so busy hobnobbing with neighbors Roman and Minnie and their pentagrams-aplenty, he could have spent that time around the corner at the Actor’s Studio instead. That would have saved this couple a whole lot of trouble–and also spared him the greatest spit-in-your-face moment in horror movie history. But then who would have drank Minnie’s rank hippie-for-hire smoothies?

Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse

Jack and Wendy Torrance in The Shining

Arguably the humdinger of ball and chain gone awry, the Torrance family wasn’t doing too well before the Overlook got its hinges into Jack. And once winter set in and the brood was trapped, things certainly didn’t get better.

Note to newlyweds: if your spouse ever starts typing (or texting) endlessly and you see no fruits of that labor, take the kids and get out. Even if you need a snowcat to do it.

The Shining Jack Nicholson

Mark and Anna in Possession

It’s not always the husbands who ditch the marital vows in favor for horror hijinks. Wives can be just as insanely diabolical. Take Anna for instance. Sure, her big blue eyes might fool you into thinking she’s just another bored housewife in a Cold War-era Germany.

But don’t fall for that old gambit. This lovely lady is secretly lusting for mad tentacle sex and milk that spews from every orifice. She’s also got a fetish for doppelgangers in your image. Not exactly the kind of thing she’d probably include on her OK Cupid profile, huh? False advertising if ever we’ve seen it.

Possession couple

Henry and Billie Northup in Creepshow

George Romero movies have their fair share of dysfunctional couples (think the sniveling Cooper family in NotLD), but the pair in “The Crate” are among the worst. Sure, Leslie Nielson’s Richard Vickers in the earlier “Something to Tide You Over” is vindictive and bloodthirsty, but he’s got enough ambition to do the killing himself rather than enlisting a particularly “fluffy” beast to fulfill his homicidal tendencies.

And if you’re going to hire a snarling Yeti to kill your stereotypical harpy of a wife, at least have the decency not to toss him into the nearest body of water the moment he’s done the job. Give him a handshake and a cigar instead.

The Crate

Steven and Diane Freeling in Poltergeist

Okay, so these two probably don’t belong on the same list as the guy who sells his wife to the highest bidding devil or the other guy who tries to put an ax through his family or the girl who spews milk in the subway and then has mad tentacle sex.

And quite frankly, Steve and Di actually love one another quite a bit. It’s their devotion to their kids that’s a little questionable. While their baby girl knows that someone has arrived, they just blithely ask her, “Who’s here, honey?” And sure, when things get really rough, they try to make up for their lacking parental instincts by going through another dimension to retrieve their lost kid.

But they commit the ultimate sin when they listen to the lady who randomly declares their house “clean” for no particular reason except that all the children in the house are currently accounted for. Bravo, you two, for hanging around until the haunted abode comes back for round two. Bravo.

The Freelings

Frank and Nola Carveth in The Brood

When your wife feels like she has no choice but to turn to Oliver Reed for advice, you know your marriage is in trouble. Frank is a no-nonsense father who just wants the best for his daughter. Nola is an out-there hippie who goes to a psychotherapy commune when things start getting wonky.

Then, wouldn’t you know it, but she starts giving birth to a legion of creepy asexual children who harbor a penchant for killing. Needless to say, Nola and Frank disagree about a few items on the marriage agenda, including but not limited to the way to properly bathe newborns.

The Brood

Helen and Trevor Lyle in Candyman

Admittedly, I’ve been on a bit of a Candyman kick lately, seeing how it’s been featured on my last two Horror-Movies lists. But third time’s a charm with Helen and Trevor Lyle. She’s a grad student working on an urban legend-themed thesis. He’s a professor working on seducing more grad students.

Not exactly a match made in heaven. More like a match made in Chicago. Fortunately, all those infidelity antics aren’t in vain. Candyman has among the best denouements in horror movie history. A disemboweled husband never looked so good.

Trevor and Helen

Tiffany and Chucky in Bride of Chucky

At first blush, Tiffany and Chucky seem meant to be. After all, she waited for him after his crime spree and after his brutal death, and she even stood by her man after getting turned into a demonic doll thanks to him. But sadly, these two crazy kids just couldn’t keep the magic alive, not even with the birth of a little one. Still, a pair of inferior movies later, they keep on trying. Crazy in love indeed.

Bride of Chucky

Joanna and Walter Eberhart in The Stepford Wives

Taking feminist statements to a whole new level, The Stepford Wives is essentially horror’s own The Feminine Mystique. But you know, with more scares and killings. Based on the novel by Ira Levin (the guy who also gave us Rosemary and Guy), this movie is a Cassandra-esque warning for all women whose husbands want to relocate them to the suburbs.

The move is actually guy-code for “I want to replace you with a sex-loving flibbertigibbet robot.” But you’d think the men of Stepford could have at least picked out better clothes than those frumpy, prairie dresses. After all, “Sister Wives” chic wasn’t cool, not even in the seventies.

The Stepford WIves

Laura and John Baxter in Don’t Look Now

Here’s another pair who on paper look like a rock solid couple. Like the Freelings, Laura and John Baxter do indeed love one another. They even share one of the rawest–and let’s just admit it, weirdest–sex scenes in all of horror. As if we needed to see quite that much of Donald Sutherland.

But while the Baxters have the bedroom more than covered, they could certainly work on their communication skills. As in, they could have any communication skills at all. The whole film, Laura knows something is up. Again and again, she tries to tell John, but he just decides he’ll ignore her or put off thinking about it for awhile. Then along comes a murderous dwarf in a red slicker. Not quite what Laura predicted, but if John had bothered to listen, then maybe he wouldn’t have earned such a goofy, unceremonious demise. Maybe.

Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland

Honorable Mention: The Bride and Frankenstein’s Monster in Bride of Frankenstein

This unlikely duo never quite make it to the altar, but since nuptials are implied right there in the title, they’ve certainly earned a place on this list. Arranged marriage at its most hair-raising.

Bride of Frankenstein

Can’t get enough awful horror couples? Check out the companion piece to this post: 7 Horror Movie Couples That Make You Grateful to be Single. Valentine’s Day has never been so bloody.



1 Comment

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      1. Idle Primate February 16, 2015 at 4:00 pm

        honourable mention, “man” and “woman” from Wes Craven’s People Under The Stairs. and a special category for horror outside of horror award goes to George and Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?