by Eric Brown
When you step into my office here at TriAd, it becomes readily apparent that I love scary movies. It could be the giant Hellraiser poster next to my desk or the Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Creature from the Black Lagoon posters on the opposite walls, the Nightmare on Elm Street toys, or the various Halloween decorations that Dave graciously allows me to leave up year round.
Now that October and Halloween are in full swing, my little world has become consumed with watching scary movies. There are numerous movies that I keep in very heavy rotation during this most awesome of months; however my go-to Halloween movie is Trick ‘r Treat. For such a fantastic little flick, it had quite a rough upbringing. It was delayed by the studio for over two years and had an extremely limited theatrical release. But Trick ‘r Treat became the “little scary movie that could” when it hit DVD and Blu-Ray, and has since become a cult classic in the horror genre.
Set in Warren Valley, Ohio, 5 completely separate story lines occur on Halloween night. A young suburban couple learns a bloody lesson in tradition when the young wife blows out a jack-o-lantern before midnight. Stalking through the crowds, an everyday high school principal moonlights as a serial killer. While on the way to a party in the woods, a college virgin finds just the right guy to share a secret with. Taking things too far, as teenagers tend to do, a prank uncovers a town legend to be horrifyingly true. And lastly, a cantankerous old recluse and his dog are visited by a mischievous and mysterious trick-or-treater that wants more than candy. All these stories are “stitched” together by “Sam”, a pint-sized trick-or-treater in shabby orange pajamas and burlap sack over his head, who appears briefly in each segment and takes his rightful place center stage for the final story.
While there are 5 story lines, all with their own characters, they are interwoven with each other, seeing characters in the background or in light interaction with each other, so it doesn’t feel like 5 walled-in episodes similar to how Creepshow was set up back in the 80s. Richly steeped in the traditions of the ancient holiday, it reminds the audience of why we celebrate Halloween and the rules that should be abided by. Everything in this movie looks fantastic. From the finer details of costume, characters and set design, the entire film is marvelously framed and composed. Not a gore-fest like Hostel or Hatchet, and not as cerebral as The Shining or Jacobs Ladder, Trick ‘r Treat goes back to when scary movies were fun. So, coming from someone who has loved Halloween and scary movies for as long as I can remember, give Trick ‘r Treat a watch, in the dark of course, because that is how you’re supposed to watch scary movies!
Attention: This is a scary flick! Don’t come running to me if you let your kids watch it and they end up sleeping with the lights on for the next few months. That is now your problem.
If anyone has any other recommendations for good Halloween flicks, please send them my way!