Screen Crusades Daily Halloween Horror Picks - October 21st 2021 - Knotfest

Screen Crusades Daily Halloween Horror Picks – October 21st 2021

Posted by Nicolás Delgadillo in Screen Crusades on October 21, 2021

Continuing the daily recommendations leading up to Halloween, today’s picks include a fan favorite entry in the Halloween franchise as well as a newer horror movie filmed under COVID-19 restrictions entirely over Zoom.

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 fan favorite entry in the Halloween franchise as well as a newer horror movie filmed under COVID-19 restrictions entirely over Zoom.

Downey’s Choice:
‘Halloween III: Season of the Witch’ (1982) Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace

Best known for decades as a critical and commercial disappointment and “the one without Michael Myers,” Halloween III: Season of the Witch summoned several second looks and renewed love in recent years, with good reason. 

Halloween franchise creators John Carpenter and Debra Hill envisioned a series of standalone films, in anthology fashion, rather than the endless sequels, reboots, and soft reboots of the saga of “The Shape” produced instead. Halloween III was produced by Carpenter and Hill but written and directed by their longtime collaborator Tommy Lee Wallace, who performed various behind-the-scenes roles on Dark StarAssault on Precinct 13The Fog, and the original Halloween (including some work as Michael Myers). 

Season of the Witch is set in a different universe (Halloween even plays on a television in one scene), abandoning the slasher genre for a smoldering mystery involving the occult, androids, secret societies, Stonehenge (!), and the Celtic origins of Samhain. The movie’s greatest contribution to horror culture was arguably the three iconic masks – a lime green witch, a glow-in-the-dark skull, and a jack-o-lantern – which figure prominently in the movie’s plot. 

Tom Atkins (The Fog, Escape From New York, Creepshow) plays Dr. Dan Challis, who helps young Ellie Grimbridge (Stacey Nelkin) investigate her father’s murder. That investigation leads them to a small town supported by the Silver Shamrock Novelties factory and its mysterious leader, Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy).

Silver Shamrock promotes their Halloween masks with a series of omnipresent and monotonously infectious earworm commercials, encouraging children to tune in on Halloween night for a special program. 

While the movie plods along in spots, there are a series of great visual moments, and the mystery itself is captivating. The inevitable conclusion is bold, certainly by 1982 standards. The whole “secret society hiding in plain sight” vibe is magically menacing. The late O’Herlihy is both charming and sinister.

As an Irish American, perhaps I should bristle at the portrayal of my people in Halloween III: Season of the Witch, but instead, this increasingly revisited and re-reviewed horror classic fills me with a special kind of wonder and pride. Even this year’s Michael Myers movie, Halloween Kills (a sequel to the third Halloween II?), offers a supportive nod, with a quick but cool look at the iconic masks, in a film that’s otherwise dull, brutal, and uninspired by comparison.

Long live Silver Shamrock Novelties!  

Nick’s Choice:
‘Host’ (2020) Directed by Rob Savage

In what should honestly be considered a game changer, last year played host (pun intended) to an inspired film called Host from filmmaker Rob Savage. Released exclusively on Shudder, the film takes place entirely on computer screens. While that’s not a new concept, Savage’s film takes the modern subgenre (or is it a medium? or a style? or all of it?) and takes it to new and terrifying heights. It follows six friends who are still adjusting to the new normal of lockdowns and decide to hire a medium to lead them in a seance via Zoom. Things go horribly wrong and an evil spirit begins wreaking havoc.

Made at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, quarantine restrictions led to Savage having to direct the actors remotely while they had to set up their own cameras, lighting, stunts, and practical effects. The entire film was shot on Zoom. Seeing how exactly the movie is pulled off might be enough to draw you in initially, but it also proves itself to be downright genius in its social themes and legitimate scares that are likely to keep you up all night. Add some brilliant performances on top of it all and you’ve got a (very) modern horror classic on your hands.

Knotfest 2021 Halloween Horror Coverage:

Screen Crusades Daily Picks: Oct 20th, 19th, 18th, 15th, 14th, 13th, 12th

The 10 Best Horror Movies You Can Stream Right Now

The Best of Blumhouse: 10 essential flicks from one of cinema’s most forward-thinking specialists

The fifth ‘Scream’ film gets terrifying new trailer

‘V/H/S/94’ Has Some of the Best Found Footage Horrors of the Franchise

The 10 Best ‘V/H/S’ Short Films

Paranormal Activity Returns With The First Trailer for ‘Next of Kin’

The First Terrifying Trailer for Scott Derrickson’s ‘The Black Phone’ Has Arrived

Cult Horror Film ‘Arrebato’ Receives First Ever U.S. Release

‘Midnight Mass’ is the Perfect Halloween Binge Watch

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