Poison, drowning, claw, or knife Trick 'r Treat
So many ways to take a life.
is an anthology
horror movie that was Screwed By The Studio
. It was produced by Bryan Singer
and directed by Michael Dougherty, and developed from Dougherty's 1996 animated short, Season's Greetings
. The conceptual designer was Breehn Burns, co-creator of Dr. Tran
. Trick 'r Treat
was originally slated for a theatrical release in 2007, but was held up until a DVD release in 2009.
Set over a single Halloween
night (although there is a flashback set on a Halloween thirty years prior), Trick 'r Treat
is less interested in plot than it is in the holiday itself: the fears, emotions, atmosphere, and the traditions that have coalesced into what people imagine Halloween is about.Trick 'r Treat has several subplots, loosely connected, that are the focus of this anthology:
- A young couple is divided by his love and her (Leslie Bibb) hatred of Halloween.
- A school principal (Dylan Baker) carries out a double life as a Serial Killer.
- A group of college girls go to a Halloween party, where the sweet and virginal one (Anna Paquin), dressed as Little Red Riding Hood, is hoping to finally meet the man of her dreams...
- A group of kids, inspired by the town legend of the "Halloween Schoolbus Massacre", play a prank that goes horribly wrong...
- An elderly curmudgeon (Brian Cox) with a Dark and Troubled Past attempts to get through the night without acknowledging that it's Halloween.
All these stories frequently overlap and share characters, particularly a mysterious trick 'r treater named Sam (pictured).
Not to be mistaken for the similarly named 1986 film Trick or Treat
A sequel has been in development since October 2013.
This movie provides examples of the following:
- Adaptation Expansion: From the original short.
- Adorkable: Rhonda, in a way.
- All Hallows' Eve: Of course.
- Alpha Bitch: Macy and Laurie's sister.
- Anachronic Order: The opening scene is, chronologically, the very last event in the film. After this scene, it tells three stories that are more or less set simultaneously, before backing up to the beginning with another story, set during a time skip. It ends just before the opening scene.
- Angry Guard Dog: Mr. Kreeg's pit bull, Spite. No really, his name is Spite.
- Anthropomorphic Personification
- Asshole Victim: Almost every victim besides Emma, who wasn't an asshole—she just didn't like Halloween. Charlie is probably the most standard example, though.
- Bait and Switch: Many. Best used for a humorous effect in the opening when a woman sees a masked man dressed like Michael Myers across the street just standing there watching, and it turns out just to be a guy waiting for his ride.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Remember to always be nice to your friends or else they'll leave you to die.
- Big Bad Ensemble: Sam, the spirit of Halloween enforcing it's rules. Mr. Kreeg, a Halloween-hating cranky old man who is responsible for the deaths of a number of children. And Steven Wilkins, a Serial Killer who was terrorizing trick or treaters throughout the film.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Macy. Although there are more literal examples elsewhere...
- Blind Without 'Em: Rhonda.
- Braces of Orthodontic Overkill: One of the four trick-or-treaters.
- Children Are Innocent: Averted, overall.
- Covers Always Lie: Inverted with the Blu-ray release as it clearly shows Sam's true face.
- Creative Closing Credits
- Creepy Child: Sam, the schoolbus kids, and Billy Wilkins
- Deadly Prank: Macy and her friends pretend to be the undead schoolbus kids to scare Rhonda, who panics and cracks her head against a rock. The trope is subverted when it turns out that Rhonda is still alive, and subsequently inverted, when the real schoolbus kids show up and kill the pranksters.
- Dead Star Walking: Leslie Bibb dies very early on in the film.
- Death by Sex: Not literally, but the girl killed by the "vampire" is mortally wounded during their make out session.
- Deliberately Cute Child: Billy Wilkins is absolutely adorable.
- Dies Wide Open: The victim of the vampire.
- Cheerful Child - "Let's carve a scaaaary pumpkin this time, Daddy!"
- Did You Just Have Tea With Cthulhu - Once Sam's true nature is revealed, every time in which a character interacts peacefully with him comes across as this.
- Evil Teacher: Steven Wilkins.
- Fanservice / Fan Disservice: Laurie's friends disrobe before... removing their skin and sprouting hair.
- Final Girl: Laurie has many aspects of this, being named, as she is, after the Final Girl in Halloween (1978). She's even got the Little Red Riding Hood costume, which is, of course, symbolic of virginity. In the end, however, she and all her friends survive. And they were never really in any danger at all. She and her friends also kill the Serial Killer terrorizing the town.
- Fluffy the Terrible: Sam.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you pause at the exact end of the title montage, you'll see Sam's real face.
- Fur Against Fang: Sort of.
- Furry Fandom: One of the teachers is having a weird costume party.
- Ghost Butler: One of them opens and shuts a door for Sam. Or maybe he's just telekinetic.
- Ghostly Goals: The schoolbus kids want to avenge their own deaths.
- Grievous Bottley Harm: Attempted by Kreeg against Sam.
- Hell Hound: Invoked by Kreeg, who dresses his rather petite dog in black with glowing eyespots and sics him on trick-or-treaters.
- There's a trick 'r treater dressed as Michael Myers from the Halloween movies. Also, the character set up as an obvious Final Girl, as noted above, is named Laurie.
- Also, a colourized version of the original House on Haunted Hill (1959) is playing on TV in one scene, along with Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island.
- Naming a Serial Killer "Steven" may also be an Alice Cooper reference.
- Mr. Kreeg says "You gotta be fuckin' kidding," while Sam's severed hand skitters across the floor, much the same way as Palmer said the exact line in The Thing (1982) while Norris' head ran around the lab on spider legs.
- Hey, It's That Guy! :This film feels a bit like an X2: X-Men United reunion: Bryan Singer, Michael Dougherty, Brian Cox, and Anna Paquin were all involved in both movies.
- Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday
- Idiot Savant: Rhonda is stated as such by one of the characters.
- Improbable Weapon User: Look carefully at the movie poster.
- Infant Immortality: Averted at every turn.
- Info Dump: Rhonda on the origins of Halloween/Samhain.
- Ironic Echo: "Screw you."
- As well as "My my, what big eyes you have."
- Ironic Nursery Tune: ...give me something good to eat...
- Jerk Ass: Mr. Kreeg.
- Kiss of the Vampire: The victim is so pleasured that she doesn't even realize it's happening until she notices her own blood dripping down her arms.
- Make Sure He's Dead / Once Is Not Enough: Kreeg takes no chances against Sam. He gets back up anyway, but you have to to give Kreeg that much credit, at least.
- Malevolent Masked Men: Just about everyone wears a mask at some point for obvious reasons, but particular examples include Sam, the vampire, and the schoolbus kids.
- Meaningful Background Event
- Meaningful Name:
- Sam is strongly implied to be short for Samhain, the Celtic god of death and the harvest. Samhain is actually pronounced something akin to 'sah-win,' but given that Rhonda uses the proper pronunciation, they most likely knew and took Artistic License with the nickname.
- Kreeg is an obvious homonym for "Krieg", the German word for war or conflict. It's of course Mr. Kreeg that battles with Sam.
- And his dog is named Spite.
- Mugging the Monster: Principal Wilkins trying to kill Laurie, a werewolf.
- Neurodiversity Is Supernatural: Either Rhonda, the autistic girl, is completely oblivious to the supernatural, or she's so aware of it that she takes it for granted. There does, however, seem to be more evidence for the latter (ie she knows that jack o'lanterns can protect you if they remain lit).
- Noodle Incident: On one of the werewolf pack's previous hunts, a chosen victim evidently turned out to be a woman. And got devoured anyway.
- Nigh Invulnerable: Sam.
- Offing the Offspring: Subverted. For a while, it really looks like Steven is going to knife little Billy to death. It turns out he was probably never planning to; he was just really excited about carving that "jack o' lantern"...
- Our Vampires Are Different: They're not real vampires, for one thing...
- Our Werewolves Are Different: They're all female, for one, and transform by the rarely-seen, but definitely folkloric, method of tearing off their human skin.
- Police Are Useless: When Mr. Kreeg calls the police, he is put on hold long enough for Sam to cut the line. No one is ever sent out to check on the cause of the call.
- Pulling Themselves Together: Sam, after Kreeg dismembers him with buckshot.
- Razor Apples: While there's no literal example, Steven uses poison ("Always check your candy!"), and Sam uses a razor blade inside a chocolate bar as a weapon. If you look closely, you'll notice he was given that same chocolate bar by Steven, so it's quite possible that Steven put the blade there.
- Redemption Equals Death: After Mr. Kreeg appeases Sam by giving him a chocolate bar, he is seen giving out candy to other trick 'r treaters and basically doing Halloween right. However, at the end of the night, the schoolbus kids still come for him, since the final scene reveals he was the man who killed them.
- Room Full of Crazy/Couldn't Find a Pen: Sam plasters Mr. Kreeg's room with the lyrics of the Ironic Nursery Tune in absolutely record time, and festoons his lawn his elaborate jack-o'-lanterns.
- The Schlub Pub Seduction Deduction: How the werewolf girls lead unsuspecting men to their feast. Said men are the main course.
- Scary Scarecrows: Sam's mask, as well as the ornaments on Henry and Emma's lawn.
- The Scourge of God: Well, a god...
- Serial Killer: Steven
- Sex as a Rite-of-Passage: Laurie is teased by her friends and sister for being a virgin at 22 and wanting her first time to be special. It turns out that her "virginity" pertains to killing and eating a man since they're all werewolves, not sex.
- Sexy Whatever Outfit: All of Laurie's friends go out for Halloween dressed in sexy fairytale-inspired costumes. They make fun of Laurie for her comparatively conservative Little Red Riding Hood costume.
- The Speechless: Sam never speaks onscreen, although he makes a sort of hissing noise toward the end, and giggles a little.
- Stab the Salad: A rare example where the "innocent" reveal isn't really much better than what we had first assumed.
- Trapped in a Sinking Car: The Halloween School Bus Massacre.
- Undead Child: The school bus kids.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Some poisoned candy provokes a massive display of this.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Spite, Mr.Keeg's dog. It goes upstairs and finds Sam and is hurt by Sam. We never see the dog again after this and there's no way of knowing if its dead or not.
- Whispering Ghosts: Starts up the moment Macy extinguishes the last nearby jack-o-lantern.
- Would Hurt a Child: Resident Serial Killer Steven Wilkins seems to specialize in children. This is actually one of the few horror movies where young children are shown being Killed Off for Real.
- Yuppie Couple: The three kids dressed as clowns, who can be very helpful in establishing the film's Anachronic Order. Sam starts out as one of these, too.