Trick 'r Treat
|Trick 'r Treat|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Dougherty|
|Produced by||Bryan Singer|
|Written by||Michael Dougherty|
|Music by||Douglas Pipes|
|Edited by||Robert Ivison|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
Trick 'r Treat is a 2007 American anthology horror film written and directed by Michael Dougherty and produced by Bryan Singer. The film stars Dylan Baker, Rochelle Aytes, Anna Paquin and Brian Cox. It relates four Halloween horror stories with a common element in them, Sam; a mysterious child trick-or-treater wearing shabby orange footie pajamas with a burlap sack over his head. The character makes an appearance in each of the stories whenever a character breaks Halloween traditions.
Despite being delayed for two years and having a small number of public screenings, the film received much critical acclaim and has since garnered a strong cult following. In October 2013, the filmmakers announced that a sequel, Trick 'r Treat 2, is in the works. In 2016, Michael Dougherty and Legendary Pictures teamed up with AtmosFX to create a series of digital Halloween decorations that feature Sam. In 2017, a Trick 'r Treat themed "scare zone" was added to Halloween Horror Nights, an annual event held at the Universal Orlando Resort, followed by a Trick 'r Treat haunted house in 2018.
The film takes place over the course of Halloween in the fictional town of Warren Valley, Ohio. Its story is told in a nonlinear narrative, with characters crossing paths with each other throughout the film. At the center of the story is Sam, a peculiar trick-or-treater dressed in pajamas and a burlap sack, who appears to enforce the "rules" of Halloween.
In the opening scene, Emma and her Halloween-loving husband Henry return home after a celebratory night. Henry takes a rest in his house while Emma begins tearing down the seasonal decorations before the night's end, and is murdered by an unseen assailant. Henry discovers her mutilated corpse on display with the decorations hours later.
Charlie, an obese vandal who smashes jack-o'-lanterns, is caught and lectured by his school principal Steven Wilkins on how the rules and traditions of Halloween must be obeyed and respected. Charlie dies after vomiting up poisoned candy; Wilkins' chocolate is spiked with cyanide. While attempting to cover up the death, he ends up handing out candy to children; even a visiting Sam. Wilkins tries burying Charlie and another child in his backyard, but is interrupted continuously by his son Billy and neighbor Mr. Kreeg, an elderly, scarred recluse whose only company is his dog. Wilkins takes Charlie's severed head indoors so he and Billy can carve a jack o'lantern out of it, with Billy either unknowing or uncaring about if the head is real or not.
A group of trick-or-treaters – Macy, Sara, Chip, and Schrader – meet Rhonda, a Halloween fanatic, said to be a savant. The group travels to a local quarry where Macy recalls the urban legend of the "Halloween School Bus Massacre". Eight mentally challenged children died in a school bus on Halloween; the driver had been paid by their worn out parents to dispose of them, and was the only survivor of the crash. The group offers eight jack o'lanterns as tribute to the dead children. They pull a prank on Rhonda, posing as zombies, but terrify her. An annoyed Macy ends up kicking one of the lanterns in the quarry's lake after they are exposed, causing the dead children themselves to rise as undead. The group flees, but Rhonda reaches the elevator first and leaves them to die at the reborn children's hands. She briefly encounters Sam while leaving, exchanging a nod of respect with each other.
Laurie, a self-conscious young woman, arrives in town with her sister Danielle and friends Maria and Janet. They pick up dates, save Laurie, who wants her "first time" to be special and declines their invitation for a get-together to enjoy the town festival instead. Laurie encounters a hooded serial killer, dressed as a vampire, who attacks her. At a bonfire, Laurie's friends witness the man (now severely injured) falling out of a tree and unmask him, revealed to be Wilkins. Laurie appears, having decided to join them for this occasion, and the girls transform into werewolves, devouring Wilkins and their deceased dates. Sam witnesses the feast.
During the time Wilkins is burying Charlie's body, Kreeg scares away children to steal their candy, aided by his dog. Sam breaks into his house, decorating it with Halloween memorabilia. Sam, unmasked as a demonic-looking pumpkin-headed child, attacks Kreeg. However, when he seemingly prepares to kill Kreeg, he instead takes a chocolate bar that landed on Kreeg's lap. Satisfied that Kreeg offered him candy (thus fulfilling a tradition of Halloween), Sam takes his leave from a confused Kreeg. Photographs in the fireplace reveal Kreeg to be the bus driver that killed the eight children.
Later, Kreeg begins giving out candy to children before gazing at the neighborhood. He witnesses Rhonda casually pulling her pumpkin cart along. He sees Billy handing out treats to kids and enjoying himself. He observes Laurie being dropped off by her sister and friends. He catches sight of Sam watching Emma and Henry returning home, with him going to exact punishment when Emma blows out a jack o'lantern. He returns inside, only to receive a knock on the door. Kreeg opens it, revealing the resurrected children waiting for him. The final shots of the film show Kreeg being dismembered, the children having gotten their vengeance.
- Dylan Baker as Principal Steven Wilkins
- Anna Paquin as Laurie
- Brian Cox as Mr. Kreeg
- Gerald Paetz as Young Kreeg
- Quinn Lord as Sam/Peeping Tommy
- Lauren Lee Smith as Danielle
- Rochelle Aytes as Maria
- Britt McKillip as Macy
- Jean-Luc Bilodeau as Schrader
- Samm Todd as Rhonda
- Alberto Ghisi as Chip
- Isabelle Deluce as Sara
- Moneca Delain as Janet
- Leslie Bibb as Emma
- Tahmoh Penikett as Henry
- Brett Kelly as Charlie
- Connor Levins as Billy Wilkins
- James Willson as Alex
- Patrick Gilmore as Bud the Cameraman
- C. Ernst Harth as Giant Baby
- Keanen Schnoor as Matthew
- Christine Willes as Mrs. Henderson
- Richard Harmon as Vampire Kid
- Laura Mennell as Allie
Season's Greetings is an animated short created by Trick 'r Treat writer and director Michael Dougherty in 1996 and was the precursor of the film. The film featured Sam as a little boy dressed in orange footy pajamas with his burlap sack head covering, as he is being stalked by a stranger on Halloween night. The short was released as a DVD extra on the original release for Trick 'r Treat and was aired on FEARnet in October 2013 as part of a 24-hour Trick 'r Treat marathon on Halloween.
Filming location and delays
Trick r' Treat was filmed on location in Vancouver, British Columbia. Originally slated for an October 5, 2007 theatrical release, it was announced in September 2007 that the film had been pushed back. After many festival screenings, it was released on home media in 2009.
The first public screening took place at Harry Knowles' Butt-Numb-A-Thon film festival in Austin, Texas, on December 9, 2007. Subsequent screenings included the Sitges Film Festival on October 7, 2008, the 2008 Screamfest Horror Film Festival on October 10, 2008, a free screening in New York sponsored by Fangoria on October 13, 2008, and another free screening in Los Angeles co-sponsored by Ain't It Cool News and Legendary Pictures on October 23, 2008. The film was also screened at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con International, the Fantasia Festival on July 29 and 30, 2009, the film festival Terror in the Aisles 2 in Chicago on August 15, 2009, and the After Dark film festival in Toronto on August 20, 2009 at The Bloor.
Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures released the film direct to DVD and on Blu-ray in North America on October 6, 2009, in the UK on October 26, and in Australia on October 28. Shout! Factory released a "Collector's Edition" Blu-ray on October 9, 2018, with all extras from previous DVD/ Blu-ray releases included as well as new extra content.
- Sideshow Collectibles created a 15-inch vinyl figure based on the film's scarecrow-like character Sam.
- NECA created a 5 1⁄2-inch scale figure of Sam that has been released as part of NECA's "Cult Classics" line of movie figures; the figure includes a stand, pumpkins, "candybar", lollipop, sack, and interchangeable, uncovered head.
- Palace Press and Insight Editions published a 108-page coffee table book entitled Trick 'r Treat: Tales of Mayhem, Mystery & Mischief. It documents the making of the film, and includes storyboards, concept art, cast and crew biographies, and behind-the-scenes photographs.
DC Comics partner Wildstorm Comics had planned to release a four-issue adaptation of Trick 'r Treat written by Marc Andreyko and illustrated by Fiona Staples, with covers by Michael Dougherty, Breehn Burns and Ragnar. The series was originally going to be released weekly in October 2007, ending on Halloween, but the series was pushed back due to the film's backlisting. The four comics were instead released as a graphic novel adaptation in October 2009. Legendary Comics set the second Trick 'r Treat comic book, titled Trick 'r Treat: Days of the Dead, for an October 2015 release date, and features Arts of Artist Fiona Staples and Stephen Byrne. The comic was released alongside the graphic novel tie-in of Dougherty's Krampus.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 84% based on 25 reviews, with an average rating of 7.42/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A deftly crafted tribute to Halloween legends, Trick 'r' Treat hits all the genre marks with gusto and old fashioned suspense." 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." The film earned 10 out of 10 from Ryan Rotten of ShockTilYouDrop.com.
IGN called it a "very well-crafted Halloween horror tribute" and "a scary blast", rating it a score of 8 out of 10. 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."
- 2008 – Audience Choice Award, Screamfest Horror Film Festival
- 2009 – Silver Audience Award, Toronto After Dark Film Festival
Michael Dougherty announced in October 2009 that he is planning a sequel, but later stated that there were "no active development nor an attempt at a pitch." He went on to say that "[the] more fans continue to support and spread the movie, the more likely it is that Sam will rise from the pumpkin patch once more." Dougherty helped create a short promotional Easter trailer for FEARnet's Trick 'r Treat 24-hour marathon for Halloween 2011; the trailer showed a family's Easter celebration turning into one of horror, with Sam watching the chaos outside while wearing rabbit ears.
In October 2013, Dougherty and Legendary Pictures officially announced a sequel, titled Trick 'r Treat 2. Dougherty said he plans to "shake it up a little bit" with the sequel.
In October 2017, Dougherty stated: "My hope is that once Godzilla has been put to rest that I can dive back into it ... I would love to finish writing it in post-production and then I'd love to make it my next project. But we'll see."
- "Trick 'r Treat (2007)". British Film Institute. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
- Barone, Matt (2013-10-28). "The Scary-Good Afterlife of "Trick 'r Treat," The Movie That Should Be Halloween's Answer to "A Christmas Story"". Complex. Retrieved 2015-01-12.
- "Cult-Favorite Halloween Flick Trick 'r Treat Streams on Facebook Tonight". www.wired.com. Retrieved 2013-02-11.
- Squires, John (August 17, 2017). "'Trick 'r Treat' Scare Zone Coming to Halloween Horror Nights!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
- Sposato, Sean (September 7, 2017). "VIDEO: Sam invades Halloween Horror Nights 2017 in new Trick 'r Treat scare zone at Universal Orlando". InsideTheMagic. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
- Pearson, Ben (May 16, 2018). "'Trick 'r Treat' Mazes Coming to Universal's Halloween Horror Nights". /Film. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
- "Cool Horror Videos: Michael Dougherty's Season's Greetings – the short that inspired Trick 'R Treat". JoBlo. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- Lane, David. "FEARnet Airing a 24-Hour Marathon of TRICK 'R TREAT's on Halloween with Giveaways and New Content by Director Michael Dougherty". Collider. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- Carolyn, Axelle (October 23, 2009). "The Problem with Trick 'r Treat". IGN. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
- (translator) Rupert Bottenberg. "Fantasia 2009 Schedule". Fantasiafest.com. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
-  Archived June 12, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
- "00's Retrospect: Bloody Disgusting's Top 20 Films of the Decade". Bloody-disgusting.com. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
- "Trick 'r Treat: Tales of Mayhem, Mystery and Mischief by John Griffin, Insight Editions, 110 pages". Dreadcentral.com. 2009-10-18. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
- "Legendary Comics Haunt Your Holidays With Trick 'r Treat and Krampus Graphic Novels". Dreadcentral.com. 2009-10-18. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
- "Legendary Comics to Run "PACIFIC RIM," "TRICK R' TREAT" Sequel Tie-ins". Dreadcentral.com. 2009-10-18. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
- 'Trick 'r Treat' and 'Krampus' Get Graphic Novel Adaptations!
- Trick r' Treat (2007) at Rotten Tomatoes
- "Dread Central Review of Trick r' Treat". Dreadcentral.com. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
- Turek, Ryan (2008-10-16). "Review of Trick r' Treat". Shocktilyoudrop.com. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
- Cindy White. "IGN.com Review of Trick r' Treat". Dvd.ign.com. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
- "00's Retrospect: Bloody Disgusting's Top 20 Films of the Decade...Part 3". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2010-01-03.
- 2008 Screamfest Winners Archived March 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
- "2009 Toronto After Dark Film Festival Winners". Torontoafterdark.com. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
- "'Trick 'r Treat' Sequel in the Pipeline?". Bloody-disgusting.com. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
- "Michael Dougherty Talks Potential 'Trick 'r Treat' Sequel!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- "TRICK 'R TREAT DIRECTOR DISCUSSES THE POSSIBILITY OF A SEQUEL". JoBlo. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- "Half Way To Halloween". FEARnet. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
- Highfill, Samantha (October 29, 2013). "'Trick 'r Treat' gets a sequel: Michael Dougherty talks what's next". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
- "'Trick 'r Treat' was almost made by George Romero, John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper, and Stan Winston". Entertainment Weekly. 2017-10-25. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
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