We've all been there, that incredibly awkward, deeply painful moment when your beloved looks into your eyes and says: "We need to talk." That translates into: "It's over." / "I've found somebody else." / "I love you, but I'm not in love with you." / "I'm getting married. No, not to you." / "Actually, I'm straight."
No one likes to be spurned, and with Valentine's Day arriving this year the day after the new Friday the 13th will be released, the deadly combo of horror and romance made me think about movies in which someone goes nutty after being dropped or dismissed, or is left feeling unloved. Should we count our blessings that Jason Voorhees never got dumped by his girlfriend?
"I'm not going to be ignored, Dan!" The movie that was single-handedly responsible for scaring all married men away from cheating on their wives in 1987 features my top pick for a spurned psycho. Alex Forrest (Glenn Close) looks like a perfectly responsible, attractively mature lady, but she has a naughty side that flares up when Dan (Michael Douglas) dares to treat their one-night stand as, well, a one-night stand. Rabbit, anyone?
Poor Carrie (Sissy Spacek). She might have been fine if everyone had just left her alone. But, no, her mother berates her and the kids at school tease and ridicule her. Then Tommy (William Katt) insists on taking her to the prom and even kisses her! Maybe everything will be OK! Nope. When she's bathed in blood and everyone laughs, she knows she's been set up -- Tommy must be in on it too! -- and takes care of business as only a spurned telekinetic psycho can do.
Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates) is delighted to rescue and nurse romance novelist Paul Sheldon (James Caan) after he crashes his car in the snowy woods near her isolated home and breaks his leg. She is not so delighted when she discovers that Paul has killed off her favorite heroine in a not-yet published book, and tries to persuade him to change his mind. We can't blame her psycho behavior entirely on Paul -- there was certainly nothing romantic between them -- but it can't be denied that he broke Annie's heart with his actions, which might explain why she took a sledgehammer to him.
4. The Crush
Beware the teenybopper! Darian (Alicia Silverstone), 14, falls for Nick (Cary Elwes), a man twice her age. Too dumb to take her flirtatious advances seriously, Nick foolishly, if passively, encourages her crush, which reaches epic and dangerous proportions when Nick brings home a new lady friend (Jennifer Rubin). Darian may be an adolescent emotionally, but she's a very smart kid, and she's not about to give up Nick without a fight. Remember: flirt with someone underage, and you may end up under the ground.
In these troubled economic times, you might need to take on a roommate to help meet expenses. If so, watch this movie to check for warning signs. Is your dog missing? Are you missing telephone messages? Does your roommate dress exactly like you? Initially, Allie (Bridget Fonda) is incredibly pleased to find Hedy (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who seems like the perfect roommate. Hedy cooks and cleans and pays half the rent. But then Allie reconciles with her boyfriend, threatening the close relationship that Hedy thought she was developing with her, and the warning signs start flashing red.
In the 1981 original, Harry Warden doesn't like Valentine's Day very much, and with good reason. That's because he was the sole survivor of a coal mining accident caused because the security dudes flaked out and went to the town's Valentine's Day party. Harry's made it clear that the town should never have another V-Day party. Twenty years later, a new generation chooses to ignore his warnings, so Harry is forced to take up his pick-axe. Harry may be a spurned psycho, but he's got a damn good memory.
"I can't live without you. And I won't let you live without me." Millionaire Martin Burney (Patrick Bergin) might be the craziest, most unsympathetic psycho on this list. Despite having a beautiful, kind young wife (Julia Roberts), he can do nothing but find fault with her, abusing her psychologically and physically. After she fakes her own death and moves far away from him, he tracks her down with a single-minded purpose. If you thought he was obsessively nuts before, just wait until you see what he does in the kitchen after he finds her.