Trick 'r Treat

The best Halloween movie you've never seen!

A true love story to Halloween, Trick 'r Treat weaves four interrelated stories together that occur over the course of a Halloween night in a small Ohio town. These tales involve Halloween from the viewpoint of several ages, from preteens up through young 20s and 30s to middle-age and beyond. Throughout the movie, great attention to detail is obvious in the treatment of the holiday, and an impressive amount of Halloween lore is squeezed into Trick 'r Treat. It successfully mixes dark humor, foreboding scenes, hints of sexuality, and the occasional good scare as the viewer progresses through the film.  

Trick 'r Treat begins late in the Halloween night, as a young couple cleans up decorations in the yard. The ensuing scene features references to each of the other tales, and sets the tone for the rest of the movie by combining dark humor (a severed arm hanging in the tree with fake severed arms), a slight touch of raciness (the "nature program" playing in the background in the bedroom), and grisly horror that results from not respecting the traditions of Halloween (in this case extinguishing the jack-o'-lantern before midnight). Each of the additional stories occurs from one of the houses on the same street. References to other stories are visible in the background of each one. The tales go on to include a school principal unleashing his frustrations on problem kids, college-age vixens enticing random men to a party with an unexpected ending, pre-teens springing a Halloween prank on an unpopular girl only to have it go awry, and finally the neighborhood codger being revisited by demons from his past. Throughout the movie little details will jump out to horror fans like finding the premium candy among a bag of cheap smarties. One such interesting touch involves the character of Mr. Kreeger, an ornery shut-in, who has been costumed to intentionally evoke thoughts of horror director John Carpenter.  

Written and directed by Michael Dougherty, Trick 'r Treat released direct to video in October of 2009. However, design and work on the movie began several years earlier. As he discusses in Rue Morgue #94 (October 2009), Dougherty developed the idea that would become Trick 'r Treat in the 1990s while working as an animator. Its original incarnation took the form of an animated short called Season's Greetings. Transitioning into screenwriting, Dougherty cowrote on both X-Men 2 and Superman Returns (try not to hold that last bit against him), and through this effort met several people who facilitated the production of Trick 'r Treat. X-Men star Anna Paquin even appears in the movie, and X-Men director Bryan Singer is its producer.

Originally slated to be released in October 2007, Trick 'r Treat languished in the studio vault throughout 2008 and early 2009. During this time it was screened intermittently, and garnered high reviews and several awards including the Audience Choice Award at the Los Angeles Screamfest (2008) and the Silver Audience Award at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival (2009). After its release in October of 2009 it continued to receive critical acclaim, including Best Feature Film for 2009 by Rue Morgue (Rue Morgue #97) as well as Best New Killer for the character of Sam and Best Feature As Voted by the Members of the Rue Morgue Forum.

Anyone who loves horror films, Halloween, or dark humor should definitely give this a viewing!

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