Screen Crusades Daily Halloween Horror Picks - October 22nd 2021 - Knotfest

Screen Crusades Daily Halloween Horror Picks – October 22nd 2021

Posted by Nicolás Delgadillo in Culture on October 22, 2021

Today’s picks include a star-studded erotic vampire tale and a supernatural horror set in the 1600s that marked the debut of Anya Taylor-Joy.

October is here once again, which means all things spooky, creepy, and outright horrifying are currently making their way into the homes of millions of people – through their screens, of course. All Halloween aficionados know that this is the month where we attempt to watch as many horror movies as we can, marathoning as much blood and guts as anyone might be able to stand (or delight in). It may as well be a sacred tradition.

In that spirit, Knotfest has called on our very own Ryan J. Downey as well as resident film critic Nicolás Delgadillo to put together two individual lists of vital Halloween horror picks for every day of the month. The wide variety of macabre favorites range from classics to more obscure cult films and feature zombies, demons, serial killers, vampires, and monsters of all kinds from all different eras.

Today’s picks include a star-studded erotic vampire tale and a supernatural horror set in the 1600s that marked the debut of Anya Taylor-Joy.

Downey’s Choice:
‘The Hunger’ (1983) Directed by Tony Scott

Even the sparkly vampires in Twilight emanated tense sexuality, albeit chaste and restrained. The Hammer Films classics, Interview with the Vampire – heck, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff, Angel – no good vampire story escapes the allure of the erotic. 

The Hunger is among the sexiest of the bunch and even carries an air of prestige, having debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. While it sits with a “rotten” 55% critical average on Rotten Tomatoes, don’t be swayed. David Bowie (!) and Catherine Deneuve must be seen. 

A seductive love scene between Deneuve and Sarandon is one of the movie’s many hedonistic highlights. The third act isn’t as great as the first two, but the ending is sufficiently tragic and bleak. 

The Hunger explores themes of beauty, desire, and anxiety about aging and death, with gloss. Deneuve and Bowie play a vampire couple romantically entangled with mortal doctor Sarah Roberts (Susan Sarandon). 

Speaking to Rolling Stone writer (and future MTV News reporter) Kurt Loder around the film’s release, even the boundary-pushing Bowie worried wider mainstream audiences would recoil at the film, as “it’s just perversely bloody at some points.” 

The Hunger marked the directorial debut of the late Tony Scott, whose next movie was Top Gun. Absolute makeup legend Dick Smith handled the effects work, bringing with him a wealth of experience that already included The ExorcistThe Godfather (and its first sequel), Taxi Driver, and David Cronenberg’s Scanners. 

The great Bauhaus performs goth-rock classic “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” over the opening credits, with Peter Murphy suitably “vamping” it up, setting the tone for the mixture of dark romance, glamor, and sexualized violence within the film, now beloved by goth cinephiles. 

Costume designer Milena Canonero and Yves Saint Laurent were largely responsible for wardrobe, with Smith and frequent Italian Vogue contributor Antony Clavet doing makeup. In a contemporary review, the New York Times likened the movie’s “chic” music video look to high-fashion Fifth Ave store Henri Bendel. “If Bendel’s made movies, they’d look like this.” 

Bowie wasn’t wrong. The strange and sensual movie stalled commercially but took on new (eternal?) life in home video viewings and arthouse showings in later years. (It’s even played in at least one European museum.) 

Stevie Nicks once described The Hunger as “creepy” and “amazingly beautiful” and she’s rarely, if ever, wrong.

Nick’s Choice:
‘The Witch’ (2015) Directed by Robert Eggers

Robert Eggers’ directorial debut is an ominous and genuinely disturbing descent into the darkest crevices of religious hysteria. Inspired by various folktales, journals, diaries, and other written accounts of the time, the film is set in 1630’s New England, as a Puritan family attempts to live on their secluded farm on the edge of a deep and foreboding forest.

One of the children, Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy in her feature debut), is a young woman trapped in the grip of her parents’ repressive and patriarchal beliefs. When things start to go very wrong for the family and they’re anguished by seemingly supernatural forces, Thomasin falls under heavy suspicion and is accused of being a witch.

Just from its opening scenes, you can feel the true terror permeating throughout all of The Witch that makes it such a gripping and visceral experience. Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?

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