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>> Friday, October 9, 2009

This ain't no fairy tale . . . or SaskTel commercial.

For the last year I have seen two trailers and searched endlessly through the internet to find a copy of this movie to download, to buy, to anything. Trick ‘R Treat never did appear in theatres in wide release after being pushed back from its original release date of October 5th, 2007. A few folks saw it here and there, and excited rumours stated it would come out on DVD in late 2008. It never did. All that was seen of this film for a while was the creepy poster and a damn fun trailer, leaving you wanting more.
Then finally it was announced the film would be released on October 6th, 2009, just in time for Halloween - which seemed about as good a time as ever. If there had been a line to stand in, I would have been in it. That is if I hadn’t forgotten about the release and picked it up the next day, on October 7th. Which by the way, Wal-Mart was trying to sell it for $32, while HMV had it for $22. For shame, Wal-Mart. Clearly that DVD should have been manufactured by Indonesian children so you could sell it as one of your everyday low prices.

I digress. This isn’t about the outrageous price difference from store to store. This is about the pure joy that is Trick ‘r Treat. The film is an mash-up of four Halloween-related tales. One thing that ties the stories together is the presence of Sam, a mysterious pint-sized trick-or-treater with a burlap pumpkin mask, who makes an appearance in all the stories, as a 'friendly-reminder' to those who break the Halloween traditions. His wardrobe may have also inspired the look of all the characters in the film 9.

Nothing is what it seems when a suburban couple learns the dangers of blowing out a jack-o'-lantern before midnight; a terrifying principal (Dylan Baker) with a serial killer attitude teaches one neighbor the true meaning of Halloween; Laurie (Anna Paquin), a young woman dressed as Little Red Riding Hood, is stalked by a mysterious hooded figure at a local Halloween festival; a group of pranksters go too far and discover the horrifying truth buried in a local urban legend of a school bus massacre; and a grouch of an old man (Brian Cox), is visited by a strange trick-or-treater with a few bones to pick, which reminds me very much a Halloween version of A Christmas Carol, but a little more violent.

Things turn deadly as strange creatures of every variety — human and otherwise — try to survive the scariest night of the year. This movie is beyond any delicious-marshmallow or nougat covered candy you’re sure to receive at the end of this month. Being that it was purely word of mouth that drew me to this flick I didn’t know what to expect. As I was watching it there was enough disturbing, weirdness in the characters to remind me of Happiness, which also starred Dylan Baker mixed with Donnie Darko (Darko because you will enjoy the ride but it will leave you with a few questions).

The world of Trick ‘r Treat is set up based on the ghost stories and traditions surrounding Halloween, along with a few history lessons thrown in for good measure. It does it in a way where you instantly accept what you see before you, and as random as it may be, it never leaves you wondering why or how these characters got there, or why they exist in that world. It just is, and it’s a fun ride. Regular horror films like Nightmare on Elm Street (remake on its way, FYI), or Friday the 13th, don’t come close to perfecting this genre nearly as much as Trick does. John Carpenter’s Halloween is still king, but only because it preceded this film by three decades. Consider this movie a really well done adult version of the Goosebumps TV series – if it can be at all, even compared. This film will stand the test of time, and will undoubtedly be added to my roster of movies to watch come October and Halloween.

Trick ‘r Treat may have been more forgotten as a film in general had it not been for it’s back and forth, will it or won’t it be released reputation. This trend is now continuing on purpose with Paramount’s Paranormal Activity, the newest addition to the first person, fake-real documentary, which is purposely slowly being leaked to the public through small screenings in bigger cities in the US. But it only goes onto other cities when it is demanded by the public here, at Since the films limited release, the site has now been updated with a note stating “HIT 1,000,000 DEMANDS AND PARANORMAL ACTIVITY WILL OPEN NATIONWIDE”. This has no doubt been the tactic initiated by Paramount from the beginning- after all, what better form of advertising than word of mouth, right? Something tells me Paranormal Activity, which at the time of this review is at 936, 218 ‘demands’ will hit theatres nationwide slightly before Halloween. What a fun coincidence right? Touché, Paramount, and well done.

However, it should be noted that this only works if it’s actually a good film. Both Trick and Paranormal have gotten rave reviews from the people that have seen them. Paranormal is said to be ridiculously scary. So, note to all studios out there, don’t try and release the next Disaster Movie that way, because, your demands will equal about 8 people, and you would have wasted millions on production and . . . ahh, what’s the point? You’re gonna do it anyways, aren’t you? Because making bad movies is what fills time in between Oscar wannabes and summer blockbusters.

Again, I digress, Trick ‘r Treat is an instant classic for those who love horror movies and Halloween alike. The door is wide open on this one, you don’t even have to knock and say trick-or-treat to get the goodies here.

*Still courtesy of Warner Bros


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