Under the Radar?: “Trick ‘r Treat”


“Trick ‘r Treat” is 2007 anthology style Horror movie, written and directed by Michael Dougherty.

Despite an extensive tour on the film festival circuit, it was never given a theatrical release. Exhibit W in the case that Hollywood doesn’t know what the hell they’re doing. Fortunately, the movie has been released on DVD and Blu Ray, so the general public wasn’t deprived of their opportunity to see this great movie.

It’s pretty much a perfect movie for the holiday.

“Trick ‘r Treat” is a horror movie, don’t get me wrong. But “scary” wouldn’t be the first word I’d choose to describe it. No… the first word I’d go with would be “fun”. In crafting this movie, Dougherty had his finger directly on the pulse of something that many, many filmmakers can’t locate at all. The ability to create a fun, entertaining movie.

The movie tells four different stories, with a connecting story of a little trick or treater wearing a burlap pumpkin head costume running through them all.

“The Principal” tells the story of how a high school principal (Dylan Baker) celebrates the holiday. Trust me, you don’t want your kids trick or treating at his house.

In “The School Bus Massacre Revisited”, a group of teens revisit the scene of a tragic bus accident where a bus full of special needs children died. They plan on using the urban legends surrounding the tragedy to scare a girl they brought with them. Only the urban legends proove to be true…

“Surprise Party” features a group of provocatively dressed girls who want to celebrate Halloween by helping one of their friends (Anna Paquin) find “her first time”.

Finally, in “Meet Sam”, the pumpkin masked trick or treater we’ve been seeing throughout the film knocks on the door of the Halloween equivalent of Ebenezer Scrooge. We all know what happens when the Ghosts of Christmas visit Scrooge… What happens when the spirit of Halloween comes to call on Mr. Kreeg (Brian Cox)?

This movie feels like a celebration of the holiday. Like a Halloween party, haunted house, horror movie marathon and big bag of candy all wrapped up into one big, costume clad package. It takes place on Halloween night, so there’s lots of decorated houses, kids in costumes out trick or treating, and people at home handing out candy. There’s plenty of horror movie conventions worked in – slasher flicks, ghost stories, monster movies, they all get nods here. There’s plenty of Halloween mythology worked in, too.

To me, this movie should become a part of everyone’s Halloween in the same way that a viewing of “A Christmas Story” should be part of everyone’s Christmas.

“Trick ‘r Treat” is out on DVD and Blu, and available currently on Netflix streaming.



12 thoughts on “Under the Radar?: “Trick ‘r Treat”

    • Don’t think that was this year. I know they did one TWO years ago in ’09, because they had a late night screening with the cast prior to the DVD release and I remember I naively had it penciled in on my “want to do” schedule, and then by 6:00 I was exhausted and the thought of staying through til midnight was ridiculous. LOL

      Wish I had now, I love the movie and I’d have loved to have that “Special Connection” with it.

      • That was it! There’s a reason I remember it being at SDCC… I was there in 2009! Were you there then too? Funny coincidence!

      • Get OUT! That’s awesome! Yeah, I’ve been twice, in 09 and then this summer. I bet we went to some of the same panels in 09…

        I hit a lot of Hall H that year:

        Alice in Wonderland all the way through Avatar (yes, I sat through twilight)

        District 9


        I caught the Dexter panel, True Blood, and Fringe in Ballroom 20…

        Some others, too. Did you hit any of those?

      • I spent most of my days in Ballroom 20! Think on the Thursday in ’09 I spent the whole day in there, but left just as the Dollhouse panel was starting because I was going to a Battlestar Galactica concert that night – so TOTALLY worth it.

        I didn’t dare try and get into Hall H. I wanted to, but omg… insaneness!

        I’d love to go again, but maybe in another couple of years.

  1. This is “It’s a Wonderful Life” for Halloween, easily one of the best movies to celebrate the spirit of the holiday if not the very best. I want to be surprised that this never found even minor mainstream success, but I can’t say that I am; it’s campy in that delightful, thoroughly entertaining and thoroughly rewarding sort of way, and I don’t think most people tend to respond well to that sort of thing.

    But it’s an awesome movie, one that deserves all the love directed toward it and one that even cursory horror fans should have in their DVD rotation throughout October.

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