Rapturous admissions of love – with all their rose-colored dressings and happiest endings – are not strictly reserved for the purest hearts. Even those most wicked, villainous souls can experience companionship in any form required (human, demigod, demonic ruler, etc). Society doesn’t normally classify these “nightmare” stories as “romantic,” but cinema operates to argue otherwise. Love stories come in all moods, genres, and methods of display – or, at the very least, double as a facade for even more unspeakable damnation than previously believed.
With St. Valentine’s influence in the February air, I thought it might be fun to ruin the mood once again with something dark and twisted. An ode to anyone who’d steal Cupid’s bow as a way of extending their ongoing murder spree. To honor those we dub our partners in crime, I’ve compiled a list of *literal* partners in crime who’ve tallied relationship goals and body counts in tandem. The most dangerous cinematic couples that prove “those who slay together, stay together” – in a matter of words. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
Chucky And Tiffany (Bride Of Chucky/Seed Of Chucky/Curse Of Chucky/Cult Of Chucky)
“My mother always said love was supposed set you free. But that’s not true, Chucky. I’ve been a prisoner of my love for you for a very long time. Now it’s payback time.” – Tiffany
I, for one, will always ship the voodoo union of Charles Lee Ray and Tiffany Valentine – better known to horror audiences as “Chucky” and “Tiffany.” Pre-transformation, they were immoral troublemakers who pushed one another deeper into heartache and madness. In doll form, their slasher rampage (with the help of Jade and Jesse) includes Las Vegas grifters, John Ritter, Hollywood effects gurus, Redman – literally *no one* is safe. Their danger level is through the roof, assuring certain death for anyone who might trip over these knee-high nasties.
The volatility between Chucky and Tiffany makes these two infinitely more dangerous than stable lovers who kill because mood swings provoke slasher tendencies. One minute Tiffany dons her best “Martha Stewart” impersonation in the kitchen, the next she’s hurling fresh baked cookies at Chucky’s head. Like short-fuses and serial aspirations weren’t enough? Dash in unpredictability and I’d argue Bride Of Chucky introduces *the* banner relationship for horror coupling. Proposal and all.
Bonnie And Clyde (Bonnie And Clyde)
“You know, you’re like me. You want different things. You got somethin’ better than bein’ a waitress. You and me travelin’ together, we could cut a path clean across this state and Kansas and Missouri and Oklahoma and everybody’d know about it. You listen to me, Miss Bonnie Parker. You listen to me.” – Clyde Barrow
Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow blazed a trail for themselves as lovebird public enemies during the Great Depression era, but it took until 1967 for Arthur Penn to immortalize their renown lawlessness on film. Warren Beatty as the pretty-boy vagrant, Faye Dunaway as his “bored” waitress sweetie who chooses a life of crime over bussing restaurant tables. They rob, flee and kill their way across the US until an ambush riddles ‘em full of bullet holes; their historic travels now household whenever romantic renegades are discussed. Like you need further analysis from me? Bonnie and Clyde belong on *any* list that involves the words “dangerous” and “couples.”
Mickey And Mallory Knox (Natural Born Killers)
“It’s just murder. All God’s creatures do it. You look in the forests and you see species killing other species, our species killing all species including the forests, and we just call it industry, not murder.” – Mickey Knox
Natural Born Killers – a no-brainer. Woody Harrelson as Mickey Knox, Juliette Lewis his better, equally trigger-happy half Mallory. A relationship bonded by traumatic childhoods, responsible for the deaths of too many “innocents” worth counting. Oliver Stone’s satirical black humor lends to a skewering of American media exposure and family archetypes, with all-time performances by Harrelson and Lewis taking center stage. Psychedelic lensing objectifies the Knoxs’ overly-violent, rabid lust for gruesomeness, always juxtaposed against (intentional) sitcom romantics that continually frame Mickey and Mallory as an All-American couple – countless confirmed kills and all.
It’s a blood-drenched road trip only Quentin Tarantino could dream up – which Stone’s team *heavily* edited after Warner Brothers purchased Tarantino’s original script. Even with just a “Story” credit to QT’s name, this still explains the placement of Mr. and Mrs. Knox on any list about slaying together forever.
“Mum” And “Dad” (Mum And Dad)
“I’m Mum. He’s Dad. You live with us now.” – Mum
No, not Brian Taylor’s Mom And Dad – a recently released parents-hunt-kin midnight sendup. We’re talking about Steven Sheil’s Mum & Dad, a reasonably straightforward survival flick about two crazed parental units who kidnap new children to increase family ranks. Their newest addition, a Polish immigrant being taught the household rules, opens our eyes to the malformed horrors that await. Cannibalism, toolshed tortures, sexual assault – this is a mature couple who prey on the underage with cruel intent. Think The Loved Ones but from a flipped generational perspective – a sick slice of innocent endangerment that’d take more than marriage counseling to right.
“Mommy” And “Daddy” Robeson (The People Under The Stairs)
“It is time to clean house! Total… spring… cleaning.” – Mommy
Evil parents and cannibalism – a fitting segue into Wes Craven’s The People Under The Stairs. “Mommy” (Wendy Robie) and “Daddy” Robeson (Everett McGill) are believed to be a landlord couple who oversee Los Angeles real estate plots, but Poindexter “Fool” (Brandon Quintin Adams) exposes them for the kiddie-snatching, brother-sister-inbreds they are. Turns out the pale-faced kids under the titular stairs are all “naughty” prisoners who didn’t abide by household rules. If that doesn’t scream “power couple” as far as danger goes, I’m not sure what other evil deeds might be needed to bolster one’s cred.
John And Evelyn White (Hounds Of Love)
“I’ll tell you what. How about you and I go in there right now and show her who’s running the show? Come on, Evie. That’s why she’s here. Let’s make the most of her. Together. Like we always do…” – John
John White (Stephen Curry) is the charismatic guy-next-door whose secret hobby is a ticket-punch straight to Hell, but even worse is wife Evelyn (Emma Booth). She dreams of the “normal” life that John continually promises and helps tidy up his messes *despite* knowing her husband seeks sexual pleasures from these tied-up houseguests (even if she ignores the notion or convinces herself otherwise). Together, these two will pluck a family to shreds all in the name of “love” – a dangerous ingredient dashed into an already boiling pot. Serviced monstrously by both actor’s downright unspeakable performances (yay!).
Harley Quinn And Joker (Suicide Squad)
“Oh, you know I’d do anything for you. By the way, I’ve got some grape soda on ice and a bear skin rug waiting.” – Joker
“SUICIDE SQUAD?” Listen – I’m just as upset as you are to see Jared Leto’s Joker on this list, but in context with Quinn, he’s all I got. I refuse to deny Margot Robbie’s pin-up punisher her rightful spot because Leto’s Hot Topic misfit was a dud. The fact is, these two are diabolical together because – like with Hounds Of Love – feelings lead to manipulation. Harley Quinn will do anything for “Mr. J” and he acknowledges/weaponizes these emotions in terroristic ways. Together, these two clowns are smokin’ wildcards who’d burn the world given proper access. Joker will never let this relationship die for that very reason, even if the hugs and kisses aren’t mutually enjoyed (they most certainly are re: goopy industrial tank plunge).
Buddy And Darling (Baby Driver)
“Is she a good girl? You love her? That’s too bad.” – Buddy
In Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver we’re introduced to a pair of crushin’ thugs who accompany Baby on Doc’s jobs – Jon Hamm’s Buddy and Eiza González’s Darling. Even without the constant action choreography timed to a beat-perfect soundtrack, these two lovey-dovey badasses are cooler than a cucumber grown in Antarctica. Buddy alone is this mad-crazy criminal who probably shouldn’t ever see your backside, but with Darling around, he’s tempered. Together – especially during that “Tequila” warehouse gunfight – they’re a couple with enough ammo and chutzpah themselves to rob NYC blind. Of course, that’s before Darling bites the dust and we learn the true extent of Buddy’s non-existent “chill.”
Brandon And Phillip (Rope)
“I’ve always wished for more artistic talent. Well, murder can be an art, too. The power to kill can be just as satisfying as the power to create.” – Brandon
If you trace back the inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope, you’ll find it based on the actual convictions of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb – two lovers who killed a 14-year-old out of intellectual hubris. This scenario serves as a similar setup for Brandon (John Dall) and Phillip (Farley Granger), who murder an “inferior” Harvard classmate right before a dinner party they’re hosting. Why? To prove superiority by committing the “perfect” crime (permitting they get away squeaky-clean).
It’s not *explicitly* noted that the two penthouse inhabitants are an item, but there are few lines to read between. This is a story of enamored partners who channel superiority and end a life because it’s justified by ego. Is this not one of the most dangerous attributes of any couple? To hide behind academic reasoning while prematurely ending lives?
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