Cheap Thrills organiser Christopher Brown explains why Trick ‘r Treat is the horror film you need to kickstart your Halloween celebrations.
Trick ‘r Treat was a victim of some very unfortunate timing.
A passion project from writer/ director Michael Dougherty, the film took years to come together. Originally it was planned to be an anthology of stories that had no direct connections, tales that he thought would be directed by different horror filmmakers. When put to Development executives though, they weren’t so keen on the idea, which prompted Dougherty to repackage the concept – deciding to connect all of the individual stories into one narrative. After years of working on the story, he felt he was too connected to the concept and wanted to direct.
Dougherty had worked with director Bryan Singer on two superhero movies, X-Men 2 and Superman Returns. With him on board as producer they were able to raise the, fairly substantial for a horror film, budget of $12m.
The film itself is a romp through a number of short, inter-connected Halloween tales, on the night itself, in one town. One common element that ties the stories together is the presence of Sam, a mysterious child trick-or-treater wearing shabby orange pajamas with a burlap sack over his head, that makes an appearance in all the stories whenever someone breaks Halloween traditions.
The film provides the right amount of comedy, chills and jump scares. As a party movie celebrating Halloween, there aren’t many that can come close to it and, sure enough, the film got praise as it toured film festivals. Then, sadly, it got shelved for two years before being dumped on direct to video.
Almost certainly the competition was a problem, although the film does feature a few non-family friendly moments, despite its 15 certificate. The move has to be released at Halloween to make any sense. But in 2007 the Saw franchise was still dominating the box office. As that faded in popularity Paranormal Activity, itself delayed waiting for a release date, took over the slot as the main pull for seasonal scares.
Despite this, and in the form of a lot of films that become horror classics, such as The Thing, The film found its audience on home video. Now you can get cuddly Sam dolls, comic books and the soundtrack on record. There is even talk of a sequel now Dougherty has finished his Christmas horror movie Krampus.
As for Trick ‘r Treat, Bloody Disgusting ranked the film ninth in their list of the “Top 20 Horror Films of the Decade”, calling it “so good that its lack of a theatrical release borders on the criminal.” Dread Central gave it 5 out of 5 stars, stating, “Trick ‘r Treat ranks alongside John Carpenter’s Halloween as traditional October viewing and I can’t imagine a single horror fan that won’t fall head over heels in love with it.”
So, for one night only, Cheap Thrills will be bringing the film in HD to the big screen. Bring your pumpkins, and be sure to follow all the Halloween traditions. We’re starting the weekend early at Liverpool Small Cinema.