Screen Crusades Daily Halloween Horror Picks - October 27th 2021 - Knotfest

Screen Crusades Daily Halloween Horror Picks – October 27th 2021

Posted by Nicolás Delgadillo in Culture on October 27, 2021

Today’s picks are all about zombies, the kind you find in Haiti and the kind you wake up to in London

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 are both zombie movies, but ones that offer very different but equally as terrifying depictions of the flesh-craving drones.

Downey’s Choice:
‘The Serpent and the Rainbow’ (1988) Directed by Wes Craven

A Nightmare on Elm Street is my favorite horror movie of all time, but in the filmography of the late Wes Craven, The Serpent and the Rainbow easily takes the silver medal.  

And that’s really saying something. After all, Craven was the gifted and trailblazing horror auteur who gave us The Last House on the Left (1972), The Hills Have Eyes (1977), and, together with Kevin Williamson, Scream (1997). His body of work is far from perfect, but each of those films is a stone-cold classic, no matter how varied the quality of the respective sequels and reboots. 

The best Freddy sequel, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), written and executive produced by Craven but famously not directed by him, arrived the year after Deadly Friend, the first movie Craven ever directed from someone else’s screenplay. The Serpent and the Rainbow was the second. Richard Maxwell and Adam Rodman loosely adapted the allegedly true story chronicled by ethnobotanist Wade Davis in his book of the same name. 

Bill Pullman (just a year after sci-fi spoof Spaceballs) plays Dennis Alan, a Harvard anthropologist researching the medicinal potential of various herbal remedies used by shamans. A big pharma company enlists Alan to investigate a Haitian drug allegedly responsible for the creation of zombies. 

Filming took place in Boston and Haiti, where real-life civil strife (similar to the revolution in the air depicted in the movie) forced the production to finish in the Dominican Republic. 

Alan is the classic “stranger in a strange land,” menaced by local Police Chief Dargent Peytraud (the late Zakes Mokae, equal parts mesmerizing and terrifying in the role), who just so happens to be a Vodou witch. Peytraud is in the habit of stealing the souls of his enemies, condemning them to return from the grave as killer zombies. 

The cast includes English actress Cathy Tyson, Oscar nominee Paul Winfield (Sounder), and Hammer Films veteran Michael Gough, who played Alfred Pennyworth in four Batman films. 

The Serpent and the Rainbow features a particularly grisly torture scene, but Alan is nonetheless undeterred in his mission to figure out the secret to the proverbial zombie sauce. 

The secret society conspiracy vibes abound, as suspense and tension mount. There are hallucinations, premonitions, and a premature burial, complete with a tarantula in the coffin. 

Overall, The Serpent and the Rainbow is an at times trippy and surreal thriller, with a reasonable dosage of blood, a killer cast, and key scenes I’ll always remember.

Nick’s Choice:
’28 Days Later’ (2002) Directed by Danny Boyle

Danny Boyle almost single-handedly transformed what zombies could be with 28 Days Later at the start of the new century. The film, which stars Cillian Murphy as a hospital patient awakening in the aftermath of an apocalypse, introduced the world to the concept of zombies that could run, and run fast. That’s a big nope right off the bat.

While the George A. Romero version of the walking dead would eventually return to the forefront of zombie pop culture, 28 Days Later wiped the slate clean not only in the way its zombies behaved, but in the way that they’re not technically dead at all. Instead, Boyle’s film envisions the virus as something that induces pure and unbridled aggression, turning its victims into enraged and mindless savages.

The iconic imagery of Murphy wandering around a deserted London in his hospital gown still remains a massive inspiration for post-apocalyptic stories of all kinds today. Because as much as the film frightens with its fast and manic monsters, it absolutely terrifies with its focus on the breakdown of civilization and how such a drastic and sudden change to the world effects the few survivors. It’s one of the most essential zombie films there is.

Knotfest 2021 Halloween Horror Coverage:

Screen Crusades Daily Picks: Oct 26th, 25th, 24th, 23rd, 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