Thursday, October 30, 2014

The MONTH of HORROR - Day 30: Trick 'r Treat

I had a bit of a debate with myself over whether or not to include 'Trick 'r Treat' for yet another instalment of The Month of Horror, and my ultimate decision is that I can't think of another film that encapsulates everything that Halloween really is quite like this now classic fright flick does. Even more so than John Carpenter's 'Halloween', Michael Dougherty's jack o' lantern filled anthology of terror is, in my mind, the seminal movie to watch leading up to October 31st.

The horror anthology is something that when done right (Creepshow) can be incredibly effective, and entertaining--when done wrong though (Creepshow 2) it can be a slog to get through, so thankfully 'Trick 'r Treat' falls much more firmly into the former category. Comprised of four main segments, complete with bookends to tie it all together, we get stories ranging from why it's always important to carefully check your candy before eating it, pretty girls trying to find dates for a keg party out in the woods, adolescent pranks gone wrong, and why you should never be that one house to not turn your lights on for trick or treaters. These are all tales that, in some form or another, perfectly sum up what Halloween is all about--not that I condone pranks, or bullying but it is something that does happen on that night. Without going into too much detail regarding each of these stories, none are especially weak however my favourite is the first one dealing with the local grade school principal who takes sick pleasure in poisoning his students, and with the aid of his equally demented son, carve their heads into hollowed out jack o' lanterns! Hilariously sick stuff.

It's not full on scary or anything, it's more about the things we love about Halloween being transformed into a movie, as smiles creep across our faces when we see yet another spooky, and familiar trope turned up to 11 in front of our eyes. You also can't help but grin about being swept up in the atmosphere of this flick, as no other movie out there has so wonderfully captured the true essence of Halloween, and what it really means, as we do actually get a little bit of a history lesson regarding the origins of All Hallows Eve which is quite nice. Doughtery, along with his super talented team of art directors, and cinematographers have done an excellent job of filling each frame with all kinds of goodies that'll transport you back to those days of slipping on a costume, grabbing a pillow case, and hitting the streets in search of candy--you'd swear you can smell the lit pumpkins through your screen.

It's taken a little while for 'Trick 'r Treat' to leave its mark but I'm noticing that more, and more over the years, people are starting to find it, and adding it to their regular rotation of Halloween horror movies which is exactly where it ought to be. It's great to see it catching on now, as it's no longer that little movie that arrived with minimal fanfare, and only attracted a cult audience of film geeks--the mainstream audience is becoming aware of it now, and I hope it only continues to gain in popularity! Sam is also a terrific little villain who, if the sequel does in fact go ahead, could go on to becoming one of the legendary movie monsters in the annals of film history, he's just that cool. So grab some candy (check for razor blades though), dim the lights, and give 'Trick 'r Treat' a spin if you want to watch one of the most enjoyable movies out there for the big day--it's almost here!

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