“The best horror anthology in years.” – Fangoria.com
A creepy, darkly comic celebration of the scariest night of the year from writer-director Michael Dougherty (Krampus, Godzilla: King Of The Monsters), Trick ‘r Treat takes the Creepshow/Tales From The Crypt approach to nefarious new depths with four interwoven tales set on Halloween night. A high school principal (Dylan Baker) moonlights as a vicious serial killer; the quest of a young virgin (Anna Paquin) for that special someone takes a gruesome turn; a group of teens carries out a cruel prank with disastrous consequences; and a cantankerous old man (Brian Cox) battles a mischievous trick-or-treating demon.
Trick ‘r Treat is a 2007 horror anthology written and directed by Michael Dougherty.THe film takes place on Halloween night. The story is nonlinear, with characters from the film crossing paths in the segments. The “cryptkeeper” character, though he plays a bigger role than that, is Sam, the spirit of Halloween, intent on enforcing its rules. Trick ‘r Treat had a troubled release. It was delayed for two years, and seemingly disappeared until it was finally released on DVD in 2009. I read that there were some troublesome test screenings, but after the critical and cult success of the film, it’s really hard to imagine. Perhaps 2007 audiences weren’t quite prepared for the experience that is Trick ‘r Treat yet.
Trick ‘r Treat features four vignettes with a wraparound, all of which are connected in at least minor ways. The first story features a man and a woman at the end of their Halloween night. The woman makes the fatal mistake of extinguishing their pumpkin before the night is over. Also, who in the hell takes their Halloween decorations down before the night is even over? Also, I’m not going to worry about spoilers, here. This movie has been available for ten years, if you haven’t watched, stop reading this review and go take care of that. Anyway, the rules of Halloween were violated, therefor she has to die in a horrific way. Shortly after the pumpkin goes out, her mangled body is found propped up like a Halloween decoration.
While smashing pumpkins, Charlie runs into his principal, Steven Wilkins, who then lectures him on the rules and traditions of Halloween, while sharing a few pieces of Halloween candy. Shortly thereafter, Charlie begins to vomit. Apparently Charlie’s principal is a sociopath, and has laced his candy with cyanide. This segment of the movie isn’t the most memorable, but for certain reasons, it may be the most disturbing. While Steven is trying to bury the corpses of two children he has murdered, his young child is screaming at him out the window to help him carve the pumpkin, he needs help with the eyes, he says. Later we come to find out, after a brief uncomfortable moment where we are led to believe that Steven is going to murder his own son, that his son is actually in on the joke, and they are about to carve Charlie’s severed head like a pumpkin.
A group of trick-or-treaters are meeting up with a Halloween enthusiast, Rhonda, who also happens to be a savant. They travel to a local rock quarry where they relay an urban legend called the “Halloween School Bus Massacre”, about a short bus full of special needs children, all of which the parents have paid the bus driver to kill. This is the most memorable story of the movie, and possibly the creepiest, and it’s sort of the gift that keeps on giving, because it ties together the entire story, while working as a self contained story at the same time. The imagery is haunting, and everything about it screams HALLOWEEN! I honestly think this story could have been turned into a feature film, but maybe it’s best confined right where it is, as the center piece for this highly effective holiday themed anthology.
The next story features a group of girls trying to find dates for a party. Laurie, Danielle, Maria and janet, are searching for the perfect date for Laurie’s “first time.” This is a clever little story here, because it tricks the audience into thinking that Laurie is about to be the victim of a hooded sexual predator dressed as a vampire, but it flips the script and shows us that Laurie and her friends are the real monsters, as they tear their naked flesh off to reveal that they are starving werewolves, and they’re about to devour their dates. Even the werewolf effects were pretty great here, and the usage of Marilyn Manson’s Sweet Dreams is perfect. Hey, we just talked about that the other day while discussing House on Haunted Hill, didn’t we?
Lastly, the one that closes it out, and ties it all together. Kreeg is a crotchety old man who hates Halloween. He spends his night using his dog to scare trick-or-treaters out of their candy, thus violating the rules of Halloween. By law, Sam has to pay him a visit and teach him the lessons of All Hallows Eve. But is something else going on here? After some back and forth with Sam, ultimately being taught a lesson, Kreeg opens the door to trick-or-treateres to serve them candy, and it turns out to be the zombie children from the rock quarry. Kreeg is the bus driver who drove them to their death. It’s a great tie up, and it leaves a lasting impression to close out this anthology on a strong note. Overall, this is a strong Holiday anthology, and there needs to be more like it. It holds up well enough on repeat viewings to make this is a yearly October treat.
Trick ‘r Treat is a title which was previously available on Blu-ray, so it has to be really good to justify its existence, and collectors’ double dip. Thankfully Scream Factory usually delivers the goods, as they very much did here. Their Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of Trick ‘r Treat is highly recommended, even if you already have the previous release. For the purpose of this release, a new 2K scan was performed, and it was supervised and approved by Writer/Director Michael Dougherty. The audio and video quality are both excellent, featuring an AVC-encoded 1080p transfer presented in 2.35:1, and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. You can find a complete listing of extras below, but they consist of the usual, really well-produced retrospective documentaries, featuring interviews with cast and crew, as well as some galleries, an animated short, several pieces of content ported over from the previous release, and an audio commentary with Michael Dougherty. To purchase a copy of your own, please visit the Shout! Factory website.
- NEW 2K Scan Of The Original Film Elements Supervised And Approved By Director Michael Dougherty
- NEW Tales Of Folklore & Fright: Creating Trick ‘r Treat – Including Interviews With Writer/Director Michael Dougherty, Conceptual Artist Breehn Burns, And Storyboard Artist Simeon Wilkins
- NEW Tales Of Mischief & Mayhem: Filming Trick ‘r Treat – In-depth Interview With Michael Dougherty On The Making Of The Film
- NEW Sounds Of Shock & Superstition: Scoring Trick ‘r Treat – Including Interviews With Michael Dougherty And Composer Douglas Pipes
- NEW Tales Of Dread And Despair: Releasing Trick ‘r Treat – A Look At The Release And Fandom With Michael Dougherty And Writer Rob Galluzzo
- NEW 2K Scan Of The Original 16mm Elements of Season’s Greetings – A Short Film By Michael Dougherty With Optional Commentary By Dougherty
- NEW Storyboard And Conceptual Artwork Gallery
- NEW Behind The Scenes Still Gallery
- NEW Monster Mash – A Story From The Trick ‘r Treat Graphic Novel
- NEW FEARnet.com Shorts
- Audio Commentary With Director Michael Dougherty
- Trick ‘r Treat: The Lore And Legends Of Halloween Featurette
- Deleted And Alternate Scenes With Optional Commentary By Director Michael Dougherty
- School Bus FX Comparison
- Theatrical Trailer