Night #31: Trick ‘R Treat

Happy Halloween everyone! Hope you’re in a suitably festive mood. If not then I have just the film for you.

Halloween, Samhain, All Hallows Eve, whatever you want to call it. It was tradition, in which it was the one night that the dead are allowed into our world. This dates back far longer than you would think, but Trick Or Treating was a relatively new invention, first recorded in 1911, in which the ‘trick’ generally meant causing trouble to anyone that didn’t give you the treat you asked for.

Where does Trick ‘R Treat fit into all this? We’ll come to that, I just thought I’d give you a little history lesson first.

It’s not unlike the earlier V/H/S in that it’s a series of short films all centered around a theme. While that film was more blatant in the separation of those films, Trick ‘R Treat weaves them into the tale of what happens one Halloween night. Sometimes a character will appear in someone else’s story (And events from one person’s perspective is then seen from another later on), but all of them are linked by the appearance of a mysterious sack headed boy until eventually it all loops back on itself.

This is a film that, in a just world, would become a staple of Halloween viewing. It was shot in 2007 but held back until 2009 because the studio didn’t want to compete with the Saw movies, somehow believing there’s only enough market for one film over Halloween. Eventually it received a release to the home viewing market, bypassing cinemas altogether. Which is a travesty, because if one film deserves to be enjoyed with an audience then it’s this one.

One of the things I love about the film is that it’s not just set on Halloween, it’s about Halloween. While I love Halloween  the setting is almost incidental. It ties to the plot in some way but above all it’s a neat setting for a film, just like the precursor to that film, Black Christmas, was set on Christmas for no other reason than a film hadn’t really done that before.  Trick ‘R Treat has Halloween ingrained into its DNA. As we learn in the opening scene (I’m treading very light on spoilers here in general, so this is the only one) one character dies because she won’t observe Halloween traditions. The little sack boy, named Sam in the credits (Hey, it’s almost like it’s short for Samhain) isn’t just a antagonist, he is Halloween, and he’s out there every Halloween night, making sure the old traditions are observed – or just making sure that nasty people get their comeuppance – you decide.

It’s a darkly funny film, and each story carries a sting in it’s tale which, as a fan of Tales From The Crypt and Roald Dahl’s Tales Of the Unexpected, is right up my street. If there’s one complaint I have, and it’s a minor one, it’s that one particular tale runs a little too long. The way the film is edited is such so that each tale is broken up by another one, so we can cut away and return to it afterward but when one plays out without cutaways it tends to throw the pacing off a little bit. But again it’s such a minor complaint and the only reason I really included it was so that I wouldn’t sound like I was just gushing. But I am gushing. Man, I love Trick ‘R Treat. 

 

This is my 100th post! What a great note to end on. That, faithful reader, is the end of ’31 Nights of Frights’ for 2012 and I think it’s been the best one yet. There’s still plenty I had on my list that I didn’t get to see so I might return to them at some point, or just save them for next year. I want to thank anyone who’s sent me feedback, whether on the site or personally. It’s been great hearing people’s thoughts and knowing that there’s at least someone reading this nonsense means I have a reason to keep on doing it. I have plenty more things coming up and plenty more I want to write about so I hope you stick around.

Happy Halloween.

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