Saturday, October 10, 2015

Octoberfest Five: 5 Favorite Couples In Horror

While cute isn't a word one hears very often in horror, caring and affectionate couples do abound in the genre, because what is more horrific than a loving couple being torn apart or facing unthinkable strife?  It makes us more connected to the characters and certainly makes us emote more sympathy.  Here...five of my favorite couples in horror.

Martin and Ellen Brody.  Jaws. One of my favorite couples because of their carefree banter and obvious genuine affection for one another, evident in simple scenes when the two (Roy Scheider, Lorraine Gary) are on the beach together, waking up in morning, Ellen looking on lovingly as her husband and son have a moment at the dining table, and when the two are trying to relax after a long and arduous day with a bit of scotch and Ellen suggests "Wanna get drunk and fool around?" To which Brody answers quickly "Ohhh yeah'.  But their love is never more palpable than in the scene when they are together at the dock before Martin is about to "go fishing" with Quint and Hooper.  It's obvious they are both terribly worried about the fate of what's to come, and both seem to be rambling - her about him taking Dramamine and having extra socks and zinc oxide for his nose, he about not using the fireplace in the den because the flue isn't fixed.  They hug and Ellen runs off, unable to think about it any further as Quint rambles in the background.  Just a perfect, perfect scene.

Burt and Vicky. Children of the Corn.  Traveling together can sometimes be a couple's worst nightmare. And back in 1984 there were no GPS's to speak of, so maybe Burt and Vicky (Peter Horton, Linda Hamilton) wouldn't have gotten so damn lost in Gatlin if they'd be traveling in this day and age.  A new job as a Seattle physician brings the couple through Nebraska only to get caught up in a bizarre child-cult that follows "He Who Walks Behind The Rows".  After hitting a(n already dead) child who wanders onto the road, they are forced to stop in Gatlin to try and find help. The split up and look for the nearest phone.  Instead they find Issac, the young leader of the cult, and his lackey Malachai- the muscle with the sharp scythe. Intending to sacrifice Vicky to the mysterious supernatural force sends Burt into super-hero mode as he tries to rescue his love.  Best outward expression of their affection is at the very beginning of the film, when Vicky serenades Burt in bed with her best American Idol her underwear.

John and Laura Baxter. Don't Look Now.  This highly influential thriller is famous for the "did they or didn't they?" love scene between stars Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. Perhaps because every scene they are in together just reeks sexuality and love, it was easy to assume the duo had something going on behind the scenes, and whether they actually did or not remains to be seen.  But within the confines of this movie, the characters of John and Laura seem every bit the loving married couple. It's a beautifully shot film and besides the over-analyzed sex scene, there are little moments of affection everywhere....when they are having dinner together, dressing for a night out, walking the streets of Venice...even though the couple has come to Venice to try and overcome the death of their daughter in an accidental drowning, they are able to push through their grief together and still be the number one priority in each others lives.  Whereas some relationships buckle under the weight of such a tragedy, John and Laura's only seems to be stronger.

Oskar and Eli.  Let the Right One In.  Sure, they haven't been a couple all that long, but they are in it for the (very) long haul.  When they first meet, Eli (Lina Leandersson) warns Oskar ( Kåre Hedebrant) that they cannot be friends. But sometimes these things just have to run the course they are meant to, and the two become very close.  When Eli finds out Oskar is being bullied at school, she encourages him to stand up for himself and in turn inspires him to fend for himself.  Even after finding out that Eli is not your average girl, Oskar is still not put off and has every intention of helping Eli with her strange nocturnal activities and inhuman predilections. Eli returns his loyalty tenfold when the bullying becomes unbearable, inevitably making it impossible to stay in town.  The film closes with Oskar traveling by train with a large chest and finds him tapping morse code words to Eli, hiding inside from the darkness.  True love knows no boundaries.

Steven and Diane Freehling
Poltergeist.  While this film really isn't one of my favorites, there's no denying that Steven (Craig T. Nelson) and Diane (JoBeth Williams) are a match made in heaven, or hell for that matter.  After all, nothing says I love you like pulling you out of the dark side. They think they are living in the perfect suburban paradise when things start to happen....crazy things...and soon the next thing you know this perfect couple is in perfect hell, fighting to get their daughter out of a paranormal portal to hell.  The lengths they go to to save their kids and each other is pretty legendary as far as marriages go. And just when they think it's safe to get back in the water (bath water, in Diane's case) - the two discover they have awakened something even more horrifying, and it will take all their strength as a couple to make it through alive.  This certainly makes them the most hard-luck duo on this list, but whether they're smoking weed in bed or fighting off the titular spirits, they are in it together.


ShellHawk said...

I agree with every single one of these! Really great essay on love in horror!

William Malmborg said...

I'm really glad the movie JAWS didn't follow the book when portraying Martin and Ellen. In the book Ellen was having an affair with Hooper, which just felt really off.

Christine Hadden said...

Shellhawk: Thanks for stopping by! It was hard to choose just five couples, there are a lot of good ones!!

Bill: Completely agree with you. That was an ill-placed and pointless affair in the book and would have partially ruined the film by putting unnecessary emphasis on their indiscretion instead of on the shark - which is what we all came for, right?
The film is far superior to the book, IMHO. :)

Justin Wong said...

Cool list! I love the scene in Let The Right One In where Eli is trying to subtly say that she's not human by saying she's not a girl and Oskar, with little reason to jump to the vampire conclusion, probably thought she was saying that she was a boy and he still just didn't care. In the book, the reveal of Eli being a castrated boy prior to her vampire transformation is followed by an actual change in what pronouns are used for him/her. Not quite sure how I feel about that but it was a very interesting choice.

I just finished watching Jaws again and I really loved the two of them together. Especially the part where Martin is trying to get his kids out of a boat tied to the dock and Ellen thinks he's overreacting before she sees the picture of a shark crashing through the side of a boat and flips out herself.

Christine Hadden said...

Thanks Justin!
I loved the book version of LTROI as well - it really translated well to film.
And yes - The Brodys are such a great couple - that scene you mentioned is one of my favorites as well - so funny!!
Thanks so much for reading!!