Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bald Mountain Night 27: Trick 'r Treat

Each day in October, intrepid blogger Alex Boivin will watch a horror movie. These movies are all new to him and are part of his month-long effort to fill in his gaps in the horror canon. If he doesn't die from fright, you just might get to read about about his exploits in cinema during the Halloween season.

Halloween ranks right above St. Patrick's Day and right below Christmas on my list of favorite holidays. I. Freaking. Love it. I love to go all out; costumes, decorations, parties, I would trick-or-treat if you could guarantee me that concerned parents wouldn't have me arrested. Anyone who knows me will tell you that my annual Halloween costumes rank among the best, none will contest my complete and utter dominance of All Hallow's Eve. Therefore, a movie like Trick 'r Treat is tailor-made for a guy like me. It's all about celebrating the holiday and righteously punishing those who don't observe it.

Loosely inspired by director Michael Dougherty's 1996 animated short "Season's Greetings", Trick 'r Treat is an anthology film that takes place in a small Ohio town on that night of nights. It's sort of like a horror movie version of my other seasonal favorite Love, Actually (shut up); all the stories are intertwined and connected by the celebration of Halloween. There's the story of a couple (whose male half is played by Helo!) who learn the hard way not to take down their Halloween decorations before November 1st, a school principal (played by world-class "that guy" Dylan Baker) with a homicidal love for Halloween, a group of junior high kids who visited the haunted site of an urban legend that may have more truth to it than they realize, a fully-clothed Anna Paquin looking for love or something like it at a Halloween party, and a grouch (the kind who literally shouts "get off my lawn!" at trick-or-treaters) played by Brian Cox who gets a lesson in Halloween etiquette. All of these are tied together by a sinister-looking trick-or-treater named Sam (as in "Samhain") who embodies the spirit of the holiday.

Trick 'r Treat was slated to be released theatrically in October 2007, but for one reason or another was pushed back two years and banished to direct-to-DVD purgatory. I first heard about it when its trailer popped up on my DVD of 300 (shut up) and when it was finally released on DVD this month I was at first wary of it; if it's a direct-to-DVD movie, it must be bad, right? Well that was before I read the reviews, which have pretty much all been astounding. I'm glad to see this one is developing a cult following, it certainly deserves one, and if there's any sort of just deity reigning over the universe Trick 'r Treat will become required viewing every year come October.

Final verdict: 60 Congos