When it comes to Halloween movies, there has always been one. The seminal Halloween film for most people is the original Halloween. A great, effective, scary film that gave birth to the slasher genre, and kept us at the edge of our seats. But what about other Halloween movies? I mean, outside of Halloweentown (hahaha) the pickings are slim. Yes, you can watch any horror movie around Halloween for the desired fear effect, but what about movies MADE to be watched on Halloween? Well, for me, there is no question what the perfect Halloween movie is.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the original Halloween, but, for me, I have just seen it too much at this point. In the last five years, Trick r’ Treat has taken the mantle of ultimate Halloween movie for me. Allow me to tell you why.
Trick r’ Treat is a classic anthology horror film that focuses on the theme of Halloween. Right there, it should have your attention. What I liked so much about this film is how it tells its four main stories by themselves, yet has small links connecting each vignette. These may be four individual stories, but make no mistakes about it, they all happen in the same town at the same time on the same night. I also personally think Halloween was long overdue for getting some cinema love. It is a holiday ripe for the picking, and Trick r’ Treat knows that, and knows how to use it to its advantage.
Okay, first I need to start with the film’s mascot. Yes, there is one character who connects all the stories, and is the focus of his own story as well. A character named Sam Hain. It looks to be a little child in a costume. He carries a little broken lollipop with him, and wraps his oddly massive head in a burlap sack with buttons for eyes. Truthfully. design wise, Sam Hain is one of my favorite horror characters in the last decade. He looks creepy. He is designed in such a way that he stays in your head, and making him child sized opened up a whole new can of scary. Like I said, Sam links the tales, like a sort of modern day crypt keeper. It works even more selling the very concept of Halloween.
Now, how about we focus on the story? Or should I say, stories?
First up, we have the opening. All I will say about this is, you need to follow the rules of Halloween. If you don’t follow the rules, Sam will be there to remind you. More of a introduction than a story, this is the vignette that shows us just how dangerous a broken lollipop can be, and sets the tone for the rest of the movie.
Next up, we have The Principal. A story that plays off the tropes of how well we, as children, trust the adults in our lives. They would never lead us astray, would they? Well, in this case, you obviously know something is in store, but what? This one is more funny than scary, but plays off quite a few great Halloween urban legends, like poisoned candy and razors in candy. Dark and funny, it sets the tone for what’s to come. It also alludes to some other stories that happen in the film, but more on that later.
Next up is my favorite story in the movie, and one of my favorite shorts in a horror anthology EVER. The School Bus Massacre, Revisited. The story about a bus of “special kids” who were driven into a quarry and killed on Halloween, many years ago, by their deranged bus driver. Truth is, some of them were deranged, too. Flash forward, there are some kids in town who want to get check out the quarry and see if it is really haunted by the ghosts of the slain children. Truth is, the whole thing was set up by some bullies to scare the weird girl at school, but the weird girl has an odd connection with these slain children that they did not account for.
Great story, superbly shot, and a great deal of creepy fun.
Surprise Party, which is next on the list, is about a young innocent girl having to contend with all the sluts on Halloween. I mean, there is MUCH more to it than that, but that is kind of the set up. We see an innocent girl going to a party with a bunch of less innocent girls, and we also see that these girls are getting stalked by a masked assailant, who seems intent on some rape and kill action.
Well, without saying too much, I can tell you, this party these girls are going to is quite unlike any party you have ever been to before, and perhaps this masked assailant may have chosen the wrong girls to mess with.
In the next vignette, we get a little more time with our new favorite Halloween mascot, Sam Hain. In this story, Brian Cox plays Kreeg. That old man who lives in every neighborhood and just hates Halloween and hates kids. He scares away trick or treaters, and does nothing to follow any of the rules of Halloween. This brings the attention of Sam Hain, who is not too pleased. Basically, this story is Sam Hain showing Kreeg that you better respect the rules of Halloween, or Halloween won’t respect you. We also learn something else about Kreeg here. I won’t ruin it, but he is more linked to the other stories than you think.
Also, this is the moment in the film when it becomes quite clear that every story interconnected. We see Kreeg in the window, yelling for help to his neighbor, but the neighbor ignores him. We figure out quite quickly that this neighbor is the principal from the first story, and this exact scene played out in his vignette, too. We just didn’t know who Kreeg was back then. Ah, well played. This is when we also see the face of Sam Hain. I like him better with the mask on, and we will leave it at that.
The movie concludes with a final short that shows us just HOW connected everything was in this film (Seinfeld levels of genius here, trust me) and we get ONE final twist as the movie ends.
Trick r’ Treat is a kickass movie celebrating a kickass holiday in the most absurd and bizarre way it could, and for that reason alone, is one of the best Halloween movies ever made, plain and simple. Now if you don’t mind, I need to go light my jack-o-lantern and get the candy ready. Wouldn’t want to piss Sam off.
Oh, and read about the Halloween party massacre here. Might be the creepiest thing this mind of mine has ever produced, which is saying something. Happy Halloween, kids.