Recently I was lamenting the lost art of the horror anthology movie. I'm a fan of The House That Dripped Blood, Tales From The Crypt, Monster Club, and Creepshow. Unfortunately no one makes good ones anymore. The ones that are made are cheap direct to video crap that was made by people who just don't care about making a good horror movie, much less a good movie. Oh, if only there was a good horror anthology, made by someone who loves horror movies. But alas those days are done.
So I rented Trick 'r Treat (directed by Michael Dougherty) from Netflix without much hope. I had heard of it from sites like Ain't It Cool News and so forth, and they all raved about it. Still, having been burnt before I didn't have much hope. It sat on my table for a week before I decided to watch it so I could dump it back in the mail. So what did I think of it?
Thank you Michael Dougherty, thank you so very much.
This is one of the best horror movies of all time, and I don't say that sort of thing lightly. Michael Dougherty crafted a love letter to every fan out there who has been dying for a film like this. And he does it by building suspense, mood and letting the audience use their imagination (do you hear that Rob Zombie, that's what good directors do).
The usual formula for a horror anthology is there's a wrap around story that ties the different tales together. Each tales plays out one at a time. In Trick 'r Treat the tales zig and zap in and out of one another as we follow people during a Halloween night. The only constant is Sam, a creepy little trick or treater in red pajamas wearing a burlap sack for a mask.
Dougherty, who wrote X2 and Superman Returns for Bryan Singer (who produced this film), shows himself to be a gifted director. Other directors would have killed the movie by letting us see kill in graphic detail and over doing the computer effects. What I liked about this movie is Dougherty held back and let us see just enough for so we can fill in the blanks, which is creepier. Plus, where a lesser director would throw in a lot of digital effects Dougherty uses creative editing for a much better end product.
The other thing that I liked, and this is from a jaded horror fan, was that he didn't go for the easy scare. He'd set shots up so you sit there saying, “Oh, I know what's going to happen,” only to go in a totally new direction.
It's a true shame Warner Bros. sat on this film, not releasing it to theaters and sending it directly to DVD. It deserved a wide release at Halloween, I'm sure it would have been a hit. I hope people find it on DVD, there isn't a lot of quality horror movies like this and it deserves to be seen.
The DVD has the short Season's Greetings that Dougherty did in 1996 and introduced little Sam, which is hand drawn and took him 9 months to do. Other than that, there are no real extras on the disc. I was craving a director's commentary of the film (the short has one) so I looked it up and found out there is one on the Blu-ray, which I will be buying tomorrow.
Until Next Time,