As lovers everywhere gather their thoughts about what to buy their loved ones for Valentine’s Day, perhaps they would be better suited thinking about what horror films they could watch. Dr Steven Gerrard, a Reader in Film at Northern Film School at Leeds Beckett University, has recommended his top five films for couples to enjoy whilst curled up on the sofa together.

My name is Steven Gerrard – and, no I am not the ex-Liverpool and England footballer! I am a big fan of horror films.

It doesn’t matter if they are old, new, British, American, Japanese, Italian, or even stuff like monsters on the hill, ghost stories, slashers, hoodie horrors. Just give me horror.

Why? Well, we all like to be scared. It’s natural. And provided it’s from the comfort of my seat in the pictures, or at home whilst having a cup of tea and a biscuit, then I am always happy to watch monsters chasing the victims any time of day.

What are we to make of all these theories? Now that horror is a standard feature of the mainstream cultural menu, the genre has increasingly become like any other where craft and beauty are drawing cards. But what will always distinguish horror is its unique capacity to make us tremble. This is epitomised by how the genre takes centre stage at events such as Harrogate Film Festival which sees its horror screening sell out year on year. The love of horror has even led to subgenres such as folk horror and hits including Fiona Mozley’s Booker-shortlisted Elmet and Benjamin Myers’ The Gallows Pole, each set in rural Yorkshire.

My own personal love of horror has also never wavered. Which is why I was delighted to contribute a little bit about horror in this, the month of Valentine’s Day.

Here are my list of Top Five Hottest Valentine Day horror movies to watch…

  • My Bloody Valentine 3D – A mining community is brought to its knees when a murder spree happens in the local mine. Ten years later, the mine re-opens. And the murders begin again… If you like blood, gore, mayhem, people getting both stalked and slashed… in 3D!!!... then this one is for you. Great atmosphere, a good cast, fantastic use of 3D, and a really good murder mystery – all set in and around a clapped out town, where all the parents have guilty secrets hidden just below the surface – make this a treat…. Did I say it was in 3D?
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street – When the kids of suburban Elm Street fall asleep, the spirit of notorious murderer Freddie Krueger kills them in their dreams… before spilling out into the real world. The original dreamscape nightmare, with a terrific lead performance by Heather Langenkamp is given extra jolts by the idea that your dreams can kill you. Freddie is an out-and-out horror icon, and when Johnny Depp appears and gets killed in a blood-soaked sequence, you know you are in for a treat…
  • US – An American family go on holiday to a beautiful seaside community. Once there, they find their exact doubles staring at them from the end of their drive… A terrifically scary, brutal and frankly mind-bending horror film. The idea that you have a double, and that double is coming to kill you, is so bonkers and yet so perfectly done in a film full of underlying dread about today’s loss of identity, that it becomes utterly compelling. A terrific lead performance and an end sequence that is genuinely unsettling, makes this an unforgettable horror outing for today’s audiences.
  • American Psycho – Patrick Bateman…by day a banking executive, driven, motivated and successful… by night, a raving madman who may or may not be a psycho-killer… We love a Welsh Batman, and Christian Bale excelled as Bruce Wayne’s alter-ego. Here, in this terrific adaptation of Brett Easton Ellis’ satirical novel, his performance as Bateman ranks as one of the very best modern horror has to offer. When your killer is charming, confident, ruthless and violent – where mergers and acquisitions change to murder and aggression - then you know you’ll be changing bank no matter what hidden charges there are…
  • The Bride of Frankenstein – Henry Frankenstein returns to his ancestral seat and creates a Bride for his Monster. An oldie, but a goldie. Despite its age, this film is the perfect horror movie. It looks brilliant, the dialogue is terrifically funny, the characters are totally bonkers, the monsters sympathetic, and the sets have to be seen to be believed… This is the template for horror. You’ll love it.

Of course, horror films will never die. We love them. We will always love them.