Romance isn’t easy to write. There are many, many factors that go into creating a successful romantic relationship in fiction, such as having likable characters, believable development, not making every sentence that comes out of their mouths an overblown purple mess and so on. But when romance goes bad, it goes really bad.
An innocent infatuation can become horrifying in the blink of an eye, so grab your pepper spray and lock your doors, because we’ve compiled a list of some of the ickiest cases of love gone creepy for your reading discomfort. (“Fifty Shades of Grey” and “Twilight” will not be on this list, because we figure those two are pretty obvious at this point.)
Mina Harker and Dracula, “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”
This one doesn’t seem too bad at first. Aww, the poor heartbroken vampire thinks this hot lady with a spotty British accent is the reincarnation of his dead wife. How ludicrous laughable romantic! And so their odd bond forms, with them watching films, petting wolves and wearing ridiculous costumes together. But then the hypnotizing and drinking blood from chests starts. Remember how in the novel, a vampire bite was seen as equivalent to rape? Apparently Francis Ford Coppola didn’t remember that choice tidbit. Yikes.
Kate McKay and Leopold, Duke of Albany, “Kate and Leopold”
Ah, Hugh Jackman. The women want him and the men want him. Er, want to be him, yeah. Anyways, his romance with Meg Ryan in this flick isn’t horrifying so much because of the massive contrivances required to pair up a nineteenth century duke with a modern-day career gal (although those are pretty scary), but rather because of how it turns out for them. At the end of the film, Meg gives up the job she’s always wanted to live in 1876 with her unrealistically perfect man. Think of all the “wonderful” stuff she’ll get to see firsthand: not having the right to vote, terrible sanitation and disease, World War I… Yeah, you sure that was a great idea, Meg? Well, at least you have Hugh Jackman… for now.
Belle and The Beast, “Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas” ONLY
Let’s get this straight. The accusations of Stockholm Syndrome against “Beauty and the Beast” don’t hold water if you look at the evidence (Belle only comes around to Beast once he stops being an ass, when he lets her go, she leaves and may not have come back except for his life being threatened, and so on). The lazy, sloppy direct-to-video midquel, however? In that version, Belle is now a Stepford-smiling personification of the “I can change him!” school of thought, perfectly content to try and cheer Beast up for the holidays, regardless of him still being a colossal emo prick to her due to horrid character derailment. It’s not really “Beauty and the Beast” so much as a gross abusive version of “The Odd Couple.” With an evil, ambiguously gay organ voiced by Tim Curry (don’t ask).
Clare and Henry DeTamble, “The Time Traveler’s Wife”
Here’s another one that doesn’t seem so bad at first glance. A guy and a girl are in love, but things are complicated because the guy travels through time at random and against his will, leaving his clothes behind when he does (‘cause, you know, fanservice). This provides some decent conflict for our protagonists and gives them a huge challenge to overcome. So what makes it a big no-no? The bit where Henry meets Clare as a little girl. Naked. Basically seducing her. After you watch it, you’ll need an adult. (This one may only apply to the film, we haven’t gotten around to checking out the book yet.)
Elizabeth Green and Logan Thibault, “The Lucky One”
Kinda figures that Nicholas Sparks, the king of trite, dull, badly written romances, would turn up here. In this clichéd travesty, Logan, a Marine serving in Iraq, finds a picture of a sexy lady (Elizabeth, who is –le gasp!– the wife of one of his dead comrades), which causes him to step slightly out of the blast range of a mortar. This leads to his delusional belief that the woman has saved his life, and he decides to find her. After looking her up on the Internet, he walks (not drives, not hitchhikes, walks) the long, arduous road from Colorado to Louisiana just to find this one woman he doesn’t even know. It’s at this point when one wonders if when he finds her, he’ll say something like “It falls in love with me or else it gets the hose again.” It’s been said before, and we’ll say it again: STALKING ISN’T ROMANTIC.
What disturbing romance gives you the shivers? Did we leave a big one out? Leave us a comment and let us know!