Trick 'r Treat

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Trick 'r Treat
Trick r treat.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Dougherty
Produced by Bryan Singer
Written by Michael Dougherty
Music by Douglas Pipes
Cinematography Glen MacPherson
Edited by Robert Ivison
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • December 9, 2007 (2007-12-09)
Running time
82 minutes
  • United States
  • Canada
Language English
Budget $12 million[1]

Trick 'r Treat is a 2007 anthology horror film written and directed by Michael Dougherty and produced by Bryan Singer. The film stars Dylan Baker, Brian Cox, Rochelle Aytes, Lauren Lee Smith, Leslie Bibb, and Anna Paquin. It centers on four Halloween-related horror stories. One common element that ties the stories together is the presence of Sam, a mysterious child trick-or-treater wearing shabby orange footie pajamas with a burlap sack over his head, who makes an appearance in all 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.[2] 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.[3] In 2017, a Trick 'r Treat-themed "scare zone" was added to the Halloween Horror Nights event, which is held annually at the Universal Orlando Resort.[4][5]



Emma and Henry discuss removing the Halloween decorations from their yard, which is against tradition before midnight. Emma does so regardless and is enveloped by a sheet, under which her throat is slit by a candy sucker. Later, Henry finds Emma's mutilated body parts incorporated into the decorations.

The Principal[edit]

Charlie begins to take a bucket of candy under a "please take one!" sign, and is caught by the homeowner: his school principal, Steven Wilkins. Charlie is given a lecture on respect by Wilkins but then coughs vomits blood and dies, poisoned by a chocolate bar spiked with cyanide. Wilkins drags the body into his house just ahead of a group of trick-or-treaters who receive candy.

Wilkins dumps Charlie in his back yard, in a large hole containing another child's body. As he tries to bury the bodies, Wilkins faces numerous interruptions: his young son Billy repeatedly asking for help with his jack-o'-lantern, a neighbor's dog that barks at the fence, the first child in the grave trying to escape, and surly neighbor Mr. Kreeg. Wilkins stabs the boy with his shovel, throws a severed finger over the fence to distract the dog, and explains to Kreeg that he is dealing with a septic leak.

Wilkins buries the bodies and, ignoring Kreeg, enters his kitchen where Billy jumps out and again asks for help with his jack-o'-lantern. Seemingly annoyed, Wilkins takes a butcher knife and follows Billy to the basement, where a table is covered with carving materials. Billy suggests making a scary face this time, as Wilkins brings the knife down, drawing blood. Though the lead up to the scene implies that Wilkins is killing his son, the shot shifts to Billy alive and smiling as they instead look together at Charlie's severed head.

The School Bus Massacre[edit]

Four trick-or-treaters seen earlier scour the neighborhood, collecting jack-o'-lanterns. They stop at the home of schoolmate Rhonda, said to be a savant. They ask for one of her jack-o'-lanterns and invite Rhonda to a quarry. When they arrive, the group's leader, Macy, claims it is the site of "The Halloween School Bus Massacre", a local legend.

According to Macy, 30 years ago, the bus was carrying 8 mentally challenged and mentally disturbed children, clad in freakish Halloween costumes, and so deranged that they had to be chained to their seats. The driver had been paid by their parents to kill their children. One of the children broke free and tried to drive the bus to safety but ends up driving it of the cliff into the lake,the only survivor was the paid driver,the bodies were never recovered. The eight jack-o'-lanterns collected are meant as an offering to the eight souls who died.

They take a rickety elevator to the bottom of the quarry where the teens seem to be attacked by water-drenched figures in chains. It turns out to be a cruel prank to scare Rhonda. However, when Macy kicks a jack-o'-lantern into the lake, the eight dead children rise up. The other teens beg Rhonda to let them in the elevator, but she ascends with the jack-o'-lanterns instead and the teens can be heard getting brutally murdered by the dead children.

Surprise Party[edit]

Laurie, a self-conscious young woman, is getting ready for a party with her older sister Danielle and two female friends. The women dress in fairy tale costumes, with Laurie uncomfortable as Little Red Riding Hood, said to be a tradition. The women pick up dates walking through town, but Laurie is disinterested and leaves. Later, as Laurie walks in the woods, she is confronted by a male vampire who sinks his fangs into her neck.

The other women are enjoying a bonfire party with the men they brought. Someone screams as a body falls out of a tree. Danielle sees it is the vampire, bleeding and begging for help. Laurie then appears and assures everyone that she's all right, despite the blood oozing from her neck, and that she is ready to join them. The vampire is revealed to be wearing fake fangs and a mask, and is actually Wilkins. The women, including Laurie, begin transforming into werewolves. Laurie had been shy because she'd never killed anyone before, but now she's happy to have found someone who deserves death, and the women feast on their dates.

Meet Sam[edit]

Kreeg lives alone with his dog, Spite, and scares away trick-or-treaters while stealing their candy. He later finds his home decorated, inside and out, with jack-o'-lanterns and scribbled trick-or-treat rhymes. Kreeg is attacked by Sam, a small boy in orange footie pajamas who has been a witness to many events of the evening. During a brutal struggle, Kreeg removes the burlap sack from Sam's head to reveal a cross between a jack-o'-lantern and a human skull. Kreeg calls to Wilkins for help, but is tackled by Sam. Kreeg shoots Sam with a shotgun, but Sam is soon attacking again. However, rather than killing Kreeg, Sam instead takes a chocolate bar which landed on Kreeg's chest, chewing on it as he leaves. Photos burning in a nearby fireplace reveal Kreeg to be the bus driver from the "School Bus Massacre".


Bandaged and bruised from his encounter with Sam, Kreeg answers his door to give candy to trick-or-treaters. He spots Sam walking over to Emma and Henry's house. Rhonda then walks by and is almost hit by a car of laughing women (the werewolves). Billy Wilkins sits on his porch, handing out candy and wearing a costume that mimics his father's first appearance. Kreeg returns inside then answers another knock at the door to find the kids from the School Bus Massacre with their bags outstretched.

During the end credits, a series of comic strip panels show Kreeg being murdered and dismembered by the school bus kids.



Season's Greetings[edit]

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.[6] The movie 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.[7]

Trick 'r Treat[edit]

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 video in 2009.[1]


Theatrical screenings[edit]

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,[8] 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.

Home media[edit]

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.


  • Sideshow Collectibles created a 15-inch vinyl figure based on the film's scarecrow-like character Sam.
  • NECA created a 5 12-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.[9]
  • 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.

Comic books[edit]

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.[10] 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.[11] Legendary Comics set the second Trick 'r Treat comic book, titled Trick 'r Treat: Days of the Dead, for an October 2015 release date,[12] and features Arts of Artist Fiona Staples and Stephen Byrne.[13] The comic will be released alongside the graphic novel adaptation of Dougherty's Krampus.[14]


Critical reaction[edit]

Despite only a handful of public screenings, the film has received critical acclaim. Based on 21 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an overall "Fresh" approval rating from critics of 86%, with an average score of 7.4 out of 10 and a critical consensus that the "deftly crafted tribute to Halloween legends, Trick 'r' Treat hits all the genre marks with gusto and old fashioned suspense."[15] 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."[16] The film earned 10 out of 10 from Ryan Rotten of[17] IGN called it a "very well-crafted Halloween horror tribute" and "a scary blast", rating it a score of 8 out of 10.[18] 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."[19]



Michael Dougherty announced in October 2009 that he is planning a sequel,[22] but later stated that there were "no active development nor an attempt at a pitch."[23] 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."[24] 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 whilst wearing rabbit ears.[25] 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.[26] In October 2017, Dougherty stated “My hope is that once Godzilla has been put to rest that I can dive back into it,” said the filmmaker. “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.”[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b 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. 
  2. ^ "Cult-Favorite Halloween Flick Trick 'r Treat Streams on Facebook Tonight". Retrieved 2013-02-11. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ John Squires (August 17, 2017). "'Trick 'r Treat' Scare Zone Coming to Halloween Horror Nights!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved October 1, 2017. 
  5. ^ Sean Sposato (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. 
  6. ^ "Cool Horror Videos: Michael Dougherty's Season's Greetings - the short that inspired Trick 'R Treat". JoBlo. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ — translation: Rupert Bottenberg. "Fantasia 2009 Schedule". Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  9. ^ [1] Archived June 12, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "00's Retrospect: Bloody Disgusting's Top 20 Films of the Decade". Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  11. ^ "Trick 'r Treat: Tales of Mayhem, Mystery and Mischief by John Griffin, Insight Editions, 110 pages". 2009-10-18. Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  12. ^ "Legendary Comics Haunt Your Holidays With Trick 'r Treat and Krampus Graphic Novels". 2009-10-18. Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  13. ^ "Legendary Comics to Run "PACIFIC RIM," "TRICK R' TREAT" Sequel Tie-ins". 2009-10-18. Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  14. ^ ‘Trick ‘r Treat’ and ‘Krampus’ Get Graphic Novel Adaptations!
  15. ^ Trick r' Treat at Rotten Tomatoes
  16. ^ "Dread Central Review of Trick r' Treat". Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  17. ^ Turek, Ryan (2008-10-16). "Review of Trick r' Treat". Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  18. ^ Cindy White. " Review of Trick r' Treat". Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  19. ^ "00's Retrospect: Bloody Disgusting's Top 20 Films of the Decade...Part 3". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  20. ^ 2008 Screamfest Winners Archived March 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ "2009 Toronto After Dark Film Festival Winners". Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  22. ^ "'Trick 'r Treat' Sequel in the Pipeline?". Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  23. ^ "Michael Dougherty Talks Potential 'Trick 'r Treat' Sequel!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  25. ^ "Half Way To Halloween". FEARnet. Retrieved 2012-02-01. 
  26. ^ Li, Shirley. "'Trick 'r Treat' gets a sequel: Michael Dougherty talks what's next | Inside Movies |". Retrieved 2013-10-29. 
  27. ^ "'Trick 'r Treat' was almost made by George Romero, John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper, and Stan Winston". 2017-10-25. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 

External links[edit]