Sunday, October 30, 2011

Four Tales of Terror: Trick R' Treat (2007)

Care to venture down a sleepy town for Halloween,
And blend in with all the ghouls?
Dare to keep the lantern lit
 and obey the Halloween rules?
Twas the night of the old, where the lines blur
between the living and the dead, and the impossible occur
The 31st of Fall had awaken thee
Old lord Samhain out for a spree
of mischief at night and death in between
of nightmares better left unseen...

Trick R' Treat (2007)
rating: ****1/2
starring:  Anna Paquin, Brian Cox and Dylan Baker

No one is safe for Halloween unless they follow the rules; always wear a costume, always give out treats, never let the light of a Jack-o-lantern go out and always check the candy. Fail to do any of this and it might be their life...

Five tales of terror (including the prologue) are interwoven into one Halloween night at a small Ohio town where Halloween gets the same treatment as Christmas and all of the lores and myths are taken seriously. But all's not well behind the crowded parades and the trick'r treaters as a young married woman, going home late at night with her hubby from a Halloween party, learns the consequences of blowing out a jack-o-lantern before midnight; a principal moonlights as a serial child-killer with hilarious mishaps; a gang of young trick'r' treaters visits a rock quarry and gets more than what they expected; a college virgin tries to find a date for a traditional gathering only to be stalked by a masked killer, and a cranky old hermit gets a visit from a mysterious (and very adorable) masked boy with a few bones to pick.

Is it safe to say i got a fetish for girls dressed up
as Little red riding hood?...
I can say this without choking on a vomit but Trick'R Treat really became my number one contender with John Carpenter's Halloween as the best Halloween horror flick...no...best Halloween movie I've seen in years. While Halloween (1978) was more of an original slasher story with an added touch of the holiday atmosphere, Trick R' Treat based everything on the myths and lores surrounding that one magical night where everything terrifying and nightmarish comes to life and gave it the heart of every element that would make it a great horror flick.

if I had a son, this'll be our pastime...
The first segment started the movie off with a delicious slasher taste as a young hot wife who hates the holiday (in contrast to her Hallowen obsessed hubby) gets a friendly reminder with the tip of a sharpened candy why it's wrong to blow out the Jack-o-lantern. It's a little quick and simple, but provides the needed jolt to start up the entire movie.

The second story goes to more comical elements as a School principal who murders children shows the cons of handling murders at a surburban household, which includes his naive son and other random encounters getting in the way. This segment goes a little intense in the end but thankfully finishes with a macabre heartwarming finale.

The third and fourth segments often coincides, with the third story concerning a group of young pre-teens visiting an abandoned rock quarry, the resting place of eight mentally challenged children who were plotted to be killed thirty years ago by their own parents and successfully did so with the help of a paid bus driver. (An effectively suspenseful and depressing scenario portrayed pretty well in a moody flashback. Kudos to Richard Harmon as the vampire Kid, who's whimpering pleas really got to me). It's a no-brainer that ghosts and/or zombies might be involved with this one, but the fun of the story is anticipating when exactly will these creatures come out and who will make out alive.

Moody, creepy and scary. Nice masks kids!
The Fourth segment is the longest, if not the most drawn out as  it covers nearly all of the other segments, revolving around Laurie, a sweet and gentle virgin who joins her sister and friends to a meadow in the woods for an annual gathering. She is determined to find a someone to take back and the entire story pretty much covers her searching for the "right one" until a man in a black mask fixes his eyes on her and the stalking starts. The only twist, she's not what she appears to be and so do her friends. Now, what really impressed me here, despite being the weakest story in the bunch, is its special effects. Let's just say it's about time I see some non-CG transformation that doesn't suck.

The fifth and the last tale is my second favorite; in a sort of demented twist on the A Christmas Carol plot, we follow an old hermit with a searing hate for Halloween visited by not three ghosts frightening him to change his ways, but by Sam, a little boy in a burlap sack mask and orange pajamas, who is willing to do more than scaring to make sure he respects the holiday. This segment reminds me a lot of Trilogy of Terror's segment "Amelia" or the All Through the House episode of Tales from the Crypt; the similarities are uncanny: lone victim, knife-wielding demon, supernatural home invasion, they even had a false-safety ending that goes to an unusual twist.

I just wished he had a better nickname...
With a large cast of well-talented actors and actresses, it's a wonder why on Earth this film was put under the shelves for so long?! The production value shows that a good amount of money, talent and skills were put to good use to nearly everything, from nicely made CGI, practical special effects, and creature effects, to elaborate costumes, brilliant editing and beautiful cinematography. Everything here is just so fantastic and, let's face the light here, we never really got a Halloween horror flick this energetic and actually have the actual Halloween spirit to it? (I mean, again, John Carpenter's Halloween has it. But the sequels, not so much...)

I guess with all the child murders and the murdering children, some scenes may have been a little too daring or over the top for the public to be shown theatrically, but know this: genuine classic or cult classic, Trick'R Treat earned it's reputation and deserved it's recognition. This is what a true Halloween movie is all about:

Happy Halloween and Season's greetings~
That's just adorable~
1 female had her neck cut with sharpened candy, dismembered
1 boy ingests laced candy, later beheaded
A number of dead children seen in sacks
1 child bludgeoned with shovel
1 female bitten to death
8 children drowned inside a bus plunged to a rock quarry
1 girl caught by zombie children, eaten
2 boys and 1 girl devoured by zombie children, mostly offscreen
1 male seen with slashed throat
1 male seen disemboweled
1 male seen with throat slash
1 male head seen
A number of males seen killed
1 male ravaged by werewolf
1 dog killed offscreen
1 male devoured by zombie children
total: 23+

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