Sunday, July 3, 2011

Trick 'r Treat - This Should be the Next Horror Franchise!

For a time of fireworks and barbecue, I guess it's an odd time to watch a movie about costumes and candy. But when you're craving for something in the realm of horror, it's okay to splurge on a movie even if it's not the right holiday season. Luckily I had the perfect movie sitting in my Netflix Queue for the last couple of months: Trick 'r Treat

Written and directed by Michael Dougherty, Trick 'r Treat (2009) is an anthology of 4 short stories taking place in a single town one Halloween night:
  1. The Principal: Is this man a father figure or a child serial killer?
  2. The School Bus Massacre: Local legend says a group of troubled children drowned on a school bus. But what happens when some kids try to pull a prank based on this old wise tale?
  3. Surprise Party: Sometimes girls just wanna have fun...
  4. Meet Sam: A grumpy old man with a haunted past gets visited by an evil Trick or Treater...
For me, the most disturbing tale was The Principal starring Dylan Baker. However, if you took any one of these stories and separated them from each other, they would make great episodes for Tales from the Crypt. Each story presents a frightening plot resulting in a twisted ending. For instance, in Surprise Party (featuring True Blood's Anna Paquin), this story appears to be the murdering exploits of some beautiful girls looking to party. But once we see the princess costumes come off, you no longer fear for the girls, but worry about the males who are tied and lit up under the Full Moon sky...

So yes, Trick 'r Treat presents some fun single stories. However, taking storytelling one step further, this anthology is presented in Pulp Fiction style. Characters that we see in one story are seen in the background of another. And to give the viewer re-watch value, each sequence is like a jig saw puzzle put together in a non-linear fashion. For example, this movie begins where the story ends. The movie opens with a small vignette featuring a husband and wife being terrorized (staring Dollhouse's Tahmoh Penikett) and ends with them being stalked by Sam...

So who is Sam? He is the living embodiment of Halloween who upholds it's traditions. Dressed up like a cute sack boy from Little Big Planet, this force of terror is armed with razor blade chocolate bars and serrated lollipops. As another link between each story, he comes out of the background and into the foreground in the fourth tale. We root for this character as he becomes the slasher we are jonesing to see. As we associate Jigsaw with the Saw movies, we'll associate Sam with Trick 'r Treat.

Overall, I really enjoyed this movie. As recommended by one of my favorite podcasts, Double Feature (, this would be an awesome franchise for horror films since it has the perfect formula: You can tell 4 different witty tales and link them together using Sam. Between merchandise and comics printed through Wildstorm (and written by the awesome Marc Andreyko), I'm surprised Warner Brothers hasn't already banked out on some Direct-to-DVD's. But until they wise up, just as I have It's a Wonderful Life on December 25th, at least I found a new movie to satisfy my holiday craving on October 31st.

So on Death List Five, Trick 'r Treat ranks #4.

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