Screen Crusades Daily Halloween Horror Picks - October 24th 2021 - Knotfest
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Screen Crusades Daily Halloween Horror Picks – October 24th 2021

Posted by Nicolás Delgadillo in Culture on October 24, 2021

Today’s picks include a true horror comedy classic that’s held a lasting legacy and a brilliantly bloody high-speed zombie flick from Korea

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 true horror comedy classic that’s held a lasting legacy and a brilliantly bloody high-speed zombie flick from Korea.

Downey’s Choice:
‘Fright Night’ (1985) Directed by Tom Holland

I grew up watching Sammy Terry, the local horror host in my hometown of Indianapolis. Vampires were my favorite monsters and I’ve long enjoyed stories where evil lurks in suburbia. All of these elements made me a prime target for Fright Night, a true ‘80s gem. 

I wasn’t old enough to see this movie in the theater, but I caught it at home not long after it was released. For the uninitiated, Fright Night follows teenaged Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale), who suspects his new next-door neighbor, Jerry Danrige (a magnetic Chris Sarandon), is a vampire. Even worse, in the grand vampire movie tradition, it just so happens that Charley’s girlfriend, Amy (Amanda Bearse, best known as Marcy D’Arcy from TV’s Married With Children), bears a striking resemblance to the bad guy’s long-lost love. 

Given that his buddy “Evil” Ed Thompson (Stephen Geoffreys) is practically a frenemy, Brewster doesn’t know where to turn. A big fan of the fictitious show Fright Night, hosted by aging actor Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall), Charley enlists the reluctant b-horror star, in hopes that his years of playing vampire hunters onscreen may come in handy. 

Fright Night is responsible for classic lines like, “You’re so cool, Brewster!” Sarandon chews scenery the way Jerry chews on apples. Jonathan Stark is suitably sinister, in a charismatic way, as Jerry’s daytime bodyguard / “vampire familiar,” Billy Cole. Ragsdale is great, with a mixture of exasperation and fear in every scene, and McDowall is magnificent as a coward who summons courage. 

I’d be remiss writing about Fright Night without giving a shoutout to Geoffreys as “Evil Ed,” whose performance is so enthusiastic, unique, and specific, it stays burned in my memory like a crucifix burned into a vampire’s forehead. 

Screenwriter Tom Holland (no, not Spider-Man) made his directorial debut with Fright Night, from his own script, striking one of my favorite types of balance between comedy and genuine stakes (pardon the pun). A few years later, Holland worked within similar parameters as writer/director of the first Child’s Play, from a story by Chucky creator Don Mancini. 

The Holland-less sequel is a snooze and the remake, starring the late Anton Yelchin as Charley and Colin Farrell as Jerry, was good, but not great. Fright Night remains one of my favorite vampire movies of the ‘80s, up there with The Lost Boys and the stylishly chic The Hunger.

Nick’s Choice:
‘Train to Busan’ (2016) Directed by Yeon Sang-ho

The zombie subgenre feels like it slowly but surely petered out after the massive rise and fall of The Walking Dead and the slew of undead-themed movies that were released around it. But South Korea’s Train to Busan proved that there were still plenty of thrills, gruesome kills, and heartfelt emotions left to mine from a zombie story, thanks to a simple but ingenious premise: Set the flesh-eating ghouls loose on a high-speed train.

Packed with horror, exciting action, and surprising heart, the film kicked off its own franchise that now includes the animated prequel Seoul Station and a sequel entitled Peninsula. An English-language remake is also currently in the works. But Yeon’s 2016 original is a modern gold standard for zombies that hits all of the right beats; he’s not reinventing the wheel here, but rather takes everything that’s come before and injects it with a newfound sense of energy and exhilaration.

Filmmaker Edgar Wright, who himself changed things for the zombie genre with the brilliant Shaun of the Dead, called it “the best zombie I’ve seen in forever.” High praise, and definitely deserving.

Knotfest 2021 Halloween Horror Coverage:

Screen Crusades Daily Picks: Oct 22nd, 21st, 20th, 19th, 18th, 15th, 14th, 13th, 12th

The 10 Best Horror Films of 2021 So Far and Where To Watch Them

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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