Screen Crusades Daily Halloween Horror Picks - October 29th - Knotfest

Screen Crusades Daily Halloween Horror Picks – October 29th

Posted by Nicolás Delgadillo in Culture on October 29, 2021

A cult classic from Robert Rodriguez and Dew Goddard’s directorial debut anchor today’s Halloween-themed selections.

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 both incorporate science fiction into their gruesome and wickedly smart horror stories.

Downey’s Choice:
‘The Faculty’ (1998) Directed by Robert Rodriguez

Brisk, slick, and featuring a young ensemble cast, The Faculty blends sci-fi and horror with one of those Invasion of the Body Snatchers “the town is turning against me” kind of vibes. 

The behind-the-scenes talent couldn’t be more potent: written by Kevin Williamson (ScreamI Know What You Did Last Summer), directed by Robert Rodriguez (From Dusk till Dawn), and scored by Marco Beltrami, a frequent collaborator with Guillermo del Toro and the late Wes Craven. The cast was similarly impressive at that moment: future Fast & Furious franchise costar Jordana Brewster (in her big-screen debut), Clea DuVall (Can’t Hardly Wait), Rodriguez pal Salma Hayek, Famke Janssen (the X-Men movies), Carrie legend Piper Laurie, comedian Jon Stewart (as a character named “Edward Furlong,” no less!) and Terminator 2’s menacing villain, the great Robert Patrick.

Josh Hartnett steals many scenes as a moody high school drug dealer. The Faculty was his first real movie, released the same year as Halloween H2O, catapulting him into the late 90s/early 2000s stardom that saw some in the press dub him “Josh Hotnet.” The Virgin SuicidesBlack Hawk Down, and Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor followed, with Hollywood trade paper talk about Hartnett becoming Warner Bros. next Superman. 

David Wechter and Bruce Kimel sold the story to Miramax, who brought Williamson in for rewrites, thanks to the success of Scream and its stellar dialog in particular. Williamson considered directing but opted to oversee his own Teaching Mrs. Tingle (originally titled Killing Mrs. Tingle) instead.

The Faculty wasn’t a big hit, but it’s since earned a cult following. 

Small, parasitic aliens invade a small Ohio town, possessing the minds and bodies of Herrington High School’s staff (the “faculty” of the film’s title) one by one, led by their mysterious alien queen. It’s up to the small band of misfits, outsiders, and teens who otherwise wouldn’t give each other the time of day to uncover the conspiracy and save the day. Pairing Rodriguez’s unashamed enthusiasm for action and gore with a reliably smart and self-aware script from Williamson was a stroke of brilliance.

The Faculty looks good, it feels good, moves along nicely, with some genuine jump scares, cool creature work, and a dose of ‘90s style. 

Nick’s Choice:
‘The Cabin in the Woods’ (2011) Directed by Drew Goddard

Drew Goddard began making a name for himself by writing for series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alias, and Lost, before creating Netflix’s Daredevil as well as writing big movies like Cloverfield, The Martian, and World War Z.

This horror movie to top all horror movies marked Goddard’s directorial debut, and it was quite a way to do it. The film follows a group of college kids who go on vacation in a secluded cabin in the woods, where typical horror movie events start to play out. But as the night goes on and gruesome killings occur, the truth behind everything that’s happening is both transcendingly scary and darkly funny all at once.

The Cabin in the Woods plays on horror cliches, tropes, and familiar imagery to spoof and pay homage to the genre in all its bloody glory. The film helped usher in a new age of storytelling in the 2010s where things became increasingly meta, self-aware, and thus had to prove themselves to be smarter than most. Goddard knocks it out of the park with this.

Knotfest 2021 Halloween Horror Coverage:

Screen Crusades Daily Picks: 27th 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