Will You Be My Anti-Valentine? An Alternative Valentine's Day Celebration

Posted: February 14, 2020 9:00:00 AM CST

On this day of love and romance, I offer an alternative means of celebrating. Don’t misunderstand, I respect the concept of love and those deep connections (why some need a special day to make a big deal out of these things, I’m not altogether sure - not cynical); but a number of years ago, I was introduced to a new way of celebrating Valentine’s Day.

A friend of mine, who despite being in a stable and loving relationship, felt a similar resistance to this often overly commercialized holiday. Her solution? Spend the evening watching a marathon of good old fashioned horror movies.

Much like the concept of Zombie Prom, this form of celebration takes a “norm” and aims to find some sort of opposite or counter. While others are exchanging flowers and saturating themselves in hearts and amore, you could instead be watching a sweater-wearing, burnt janitor terrorizing teens in their dreams.

Not your cup of tea? What about a boy who travels among the departed and demons when he dreams? Or a zombie fest - starting with the black and white Romero classic? How about a revisit to the found-footage genre mixed with a bit of sci-fi? The options are endless!!

Needless to say, tonight you will find me Lady and Tramping it up - i.e. eating spaghetti and meatballs - while I watch one horror film after another.

Now, brace yourself for this next part. The library’s streaming video database, Kanopy, actually has a number of horror films that you can access and watch for free!! Yep, F-R-E-E!!

Here’s a list of a few (and when I say a few, I mean it, the list goes on):

Night of the Living Dead Movie PosterNight of the Living Dead (1968)

Shot outside Pittsburgh on a shoestring budget, by a band of filmmakers determined to make their mark, Night of the Living Dead, directed by horror master George A. Romero, is a great story of independent cinema: a midnight hit turned box-office smash that became one of the most influential films of all time. A deceptively simple tale of a group of strangers trapped in a farmhouse who find themselves fending off a horde of recently dead, flesh-eating ghouls, Romero's claustrophobic vision of a late-1960s America literally tearing itself apart rewrote the rules of the horror genre, combined gruesome gore with acute social commentary, and quietly broke ground by casting a black actor (Duane Jones) in its lead role.

Hereditary Movie PosterHereditary (2018)

When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter Annie (Toni Collette) begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more she discovers, the more her family finds themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited. Making his feature debut, writer-director Ari Aster unleashes a nightmare vision of a domestic breakdown that exhibits the craft and precision of a nascent auteur, transforming a familial tragedy into something ominous and deeply disquieting, and pushing the horror movie into chilling new terrain with its shattering portrait of heritage gone to hell. Nominated for Best Female Lead and Best First Feature at the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Official Selection at the Sundance Film Festival.

Green Room Movie PosterGreen Room (2016)

After witnessing a shocking crime, a young rock band is unexpectedly thrust into a life-or-death battle to escape the clutches of a diabolical club owner and his ruthless henchmen in this white-knuckle thriller. Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival. "An exquisitely crafted love letter to John Carpenter, and the rare horror ensemble that gives as much care to the villains as to the victims." - Jeffrey Bloomer, Slate/"An impeccably crafted cinematic torture machine - in the best possible way." - Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice 

The Awakening Movie PosterThe Awakening (2012)

This haunting thriller is set in 1921, in a post-war England where many of the bereaved seek solace in spiritualism. Haunted by the death of her fiance, Florence Cathcart (Rebecca Hall) is committed to debunking supernatural claims. When she is asked to visit a boarding school in the countryside to investigate the alleged sightings of a ghostly young boy, she feels compelled to take the job. She sets to work, laying traps and gathering scientific evidence. Gradually secrets begin to unravel and the mystery surrounding the ghost appears nothing more than a prank. As Florence is set to leave, however, she experiences a chilling encounter that defies all reason. Official Selection at the Toronto International Film Festival and the London Film Festival. "An enjoyably old-fashioned ghost story in the vein of "The Others" and "The Orphanage." - Sara Stewart, The New York Post

A Tale of Two Sisters Movie PosterA Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

After spending time in a mental institution two sisters return to the home of their father and cruel stepmother. While dealing with their stepmother's obsessive and unbalanced ways, a mysterious ghost keeps them up at night, interfering with their fragile sanity. Both the highest grossing Korean horror film ever and the first Korean horror film to be screened in the United States, A Tale of Two Sisters is a classic of contemporary horror cinema. Nominated for Best Film at Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival. "A somber reflection on memory, adolescence and mourning.." - Dana Stevens, New York Times/"The film succeeds again and again at pulling you to the edge of your seat and keeping you there." - Ernest Hardy, L.A. Weekly

House on Haunted Hill Movie PosterHouse on Haunted Hill (1959)

A true classic of suspense, this spooky, campy tale tells the story of five strangers who are offered $10,000 each by an eccentric millionaire to spend the night in a haunted house. As the night develops, it becomes clear that these strangers' selection was no accident--and a few have some diabolical schemes of their own! Starring horror legend Vincent Price, House on Haunted Hill is sure to thrill hard-core horror and classic film fans of all ages. "If one had to pick the best of the campy horror films that made [Castle's] reputation, [House on Haunted Hill] would probably be it." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader/"There is some good humor in the dialog which not only pays off well against the ghostly elements, but provides a release for laughter so it does not explode in the suspense sequences." - Variety

What We Do In the Shadows Movie PosterWhat We Do In the Shadows (2014)

Housemates Viago, Deacon, and Vladislav (Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, & Jonathan Brugh) are three vampires who are trying to get by in modern society; from paying rent and doing housework to trying to get invited into nightclubs. They are just like anyone else - except they're immortal and must feast on human blood. When their 8000 year-old roommate Petyr, turns 20-something human hipster Nick, into a vampire, the guys must guide him through his newfound eternal life. Nominated for Best Horror Film at the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films. Nominated for Best Film in the Generation 14plus Competition at the Berlin International Film Festival. Winner of the People's Choice Award in the Midnight Madness Program at the Toronto International Film Festival. "Here it is at long last: a truly great vampire comedy. And also the funniest horror film to come out of New Zealand since Braindead." - Dan Jolin, Empire

Dial M for Murder Movie PosterDial M for Murder (1954)

Ex-tennis pro Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) wants to have his wealthy wife, Margot (Grace Kelly), murdered so he can get his hands on her inheritance. When he discovers her affair with Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings), he comes up with the perfect plan to kill her. He blackmails an old acquaintance into carrying out the murder, but the carefully-orchestrated set-up goes awry. Now Wendice must frantically scheme to outwit the police and avoid having his plot detected. Nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress (Grace Kelly). "The depth of focus, framing of characters and objects and use of the claustrophobic sets add extra pleasure to what was already a thoroughly enjoyable "perfect crime" nail-biter." - Allan Hunter, Daily Express (UK)

Black Christmas Movie PosterBlack Christmas (1974)

The college town of Bedford is receiving an unwelcome guest this Christmas. As the residents of sorority house Pi Kappa Sigma prepare for the festive season, a stranger begins to stalk the house. One of the earliest examples of a slasher film, this creepy holiday classic is sure to terrify and delight classic horror lovers everywhere. Winner of Best Performance by a Lead Actress and Best Editing at the Canadian Film Awards. Nominated for Best Horror Film from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films. Nominated for Best Motion Picture at the Edgar Allan Poe Awards. "The film still manages a good slice of old-fashioned suspense." - Time Out/"Generally heralded as the first of its kind, Black Christmas may actually be one of a kind." - Bill Chambers, Film Freak Central


So, for those of you without plans tonight who also enjoy catching a horror flick or two, consider adopting a new tradition, use your Island ID and password, log into Kanopy, and enjoy!!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!




By: Trisha Hernandez

Category: Today’s Special, Services for You, Things to Do