I love horror movies. Eat. Sleep. Breathe them.
Lately, it’s not easy to justify my love of horror films as I find myself wading through a sea of unworthy remakes and characterless gore-fests. However, there are still a few new horror movies that remind me of why I loved the genre in the first place. One of these being the recent DVD release of Michael Dougherty’s Trick R Treat.
Trick R Treat is a Halloween-themed anthology film that gives the audience four-count 'em, four-different horror stories for the price of one. Each follows someone or some group that fails to abide by Sam’s (Quinn Lord) rules for Halloween. Unfortunately for them, Sam is a childlike trick-or-treater with a creatively homicidal streak, so these transgressions tend to lead to deadly results.
Setting this film apart from other horror anthologies like Creepshow, Bodybags, or Twilight Zone: the Movie, is the inter-connectivity of the four stories. Well, that and no one died during the making of the film (poor, poor Vic Morrow). Anyway, the ease and timing with which Dougherty weaves the characters in the different short stories reminds me more of Pulp Fiction than the above-referenced horror films. The re-appearances of characters add not only to their individual stories, but also, strengthens the larger film, creating a more satisfying larger story of Halloween night in this small town.
But, let’s get down to brass tacks: is it scary?
Answer: You bet your ass it is.
Though the nature of the film requires any suspenseful moments be brief, they’re quite effective. Starting when Leslie Bibb blows out a Jack-O-Lantern despite her husband’s warnings to Brian Cox’s desperate fight with a certain home intruder. (By the by, Dylan Baker is also featured prominently; bringing our Kings cast member count to three. Shame on you for not watching that wonderful show!) There are also more than enough gory and visceral moments for those of us demented weirdos who appreciate such things. More disturbing and fun (yes, fun) is Dougherty’s complete willingness to do horrible, horrible things to little children. You just don’t see that as often these days. Well, at least not outside of a Disney film.
Also memorable is Sam, our mascot for the picture. Dressed in orange “footie” pajamas and a burlap sack that you’ll wish he never took off, Sam (as in “Samhain”) appears to be the embodiment of the spirit of Halloween and its chief enforcer. His character hearkens back to the more solid horror movies of the 80s, when we could count on some visually appealing (or disgusting) figure to root for. At the very least, he makes a great little action figure, which you should go out and buy.
Seriously, we need to encourage more movies like this and the best way to say “I love you” to a movie is with cash. So if you find yourself looking for that perfect Halloween horror flick, I cannot recommend Trick R Treat enough. As long as you don’t watch on Halloween, as you should be out trick-r-treating.
Or else Sam will get you. Have you not been paying attention?