The Couple That Slays Together: 5 of Horror’s Unlikeliest Duos

The Couple That Slays Together: 5 of Horror’s Unlikeliest Duos

The Couple That Slays Together: 5 of Horror's Unlikeliest Duos - 61
Duane Jones & Judith O'Dea, Night of the Living Dead (1968)

In season one of Breaking Bad, Jesse Pinkman, a drug dealer and former high school student of the show’s protagonist, Walter White, was supposed to die. But the creative team behind the show was so impressed with Aaron Paul’s performance that they decided to keep him on, resulting in one of television’s oddest duos, a burnout drug dealer and his high school chemistry teacher, teaming up to make crystal meth.

It boggles my mind how Jesse was never part of Breaking Bad’s initial grand story arc, given his importance to Walter White, and the show’s direction essentially resting on whether Jesse lives or dies. I could dismiss it as industry mythmaking, except for the fact that there are so many examples, in television, film, books, of odd or unlikely duos coming together out of some form of necessity, whether through the creator’s need or external circumstances or pure luck. And for the fact that the same thing happened in my own work.

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When I started writing what would become my novel, This Thing Between Us, I knew a few things. I knew a young couple, Thiago and Vera, would be moving into a recently renovated condo they purchased, and that an Alexa-type smartspeaker would be at the center of supernatural occurrences taking place in their new home. I knew Vera would die in a tragic accident and Thiago would be grief-stricken for the entire novel, fleeing to the mountains in Colorado to be alone with his pain and away from anyone trying to comfort him, except for the supernatural entity relentlessly pursuing him. I knew a dog would pop up sooner or later. 

What I didn’t know, what I could have never planned for or guessed, was that another character would rise to the forefront and break up Thiago’s self-imposed banishment: his mother-in-law, Diane. 

Her importance to the novel was never supposed to move beyond the first act, but honestly, I just loved writing her. It felt important to move her beyond the tired trope of disapproving mother-in-law, which she was, but she was also just as grief-stricken as Thiago, and just as irascible, the kind of coarse personality you either love to be around or actively avoid. Thiago can push everyone away except her, and he’s ultimately happy for it, when she makes a surprise visit to his cabin just outside Estes Park as he’s running through a snowy field, dripping blood, something she can’t comprehend chasing behind him.

Odd pairings happen all the time in comedies, romances, and buddy cop films, because there’s an innate discomfort that usually gets played up for laughs or tension. The horror genre has its own taste for unlikely duos, but instead of being used as comedic relief, these team ups occur in the face of a great evil or supernatural force. Below are five examples of unlikely duos coming together to face a greater force neither could defeat or survive alone.


salems-lot

clarice-hannibal

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Jason Voorhees

Thing Between Us

Thing Between Us

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