It's hard to believe, but it's been 11 years since Michael Doughtery's landmark horror anthology Trick 'r Treat was released. It's been almost as long as that since I've seen the film, and it's always interesting to reflect on how much I've changed or have stayed the same as a viewer. Personal growth can mean that something you once revered could lose its shine, whether that's a little or a lot is a sliding scale.
For instance, Trick 'r Treat is a really fun film, excecuted adeptly with beautiful lighting and very good perfomances. The stories recall the old EC Comics tales as did Creepshow and Tales From the Crypt, but in 2007, it'd been awhile since a horror anthology had been in the spotlight or had tread new ground. The direction is great, and I still really enjoyed the interweaving of the stories within the greater fabric of the film.
But now that I'm older, I the blatant male gaze of a few sequences (do we really need a 5-year-old peering into dressing rooms??) soured my experience a bit. And then there's the whole involvement of Bryan Singer, who produced. If you don't know who he is, look him up. That's all I'll say.
Beyond that, Trick 'r Treat still holds up as a very good horror film. Plenty of fans count it as an annual Halloween watch, and it's easy to see why. Dylan Baker is excellent as a creepy high-school principal who's also a serial killer who gets himself into some sticky situations, and Brian Cox is also a standout (as always) as the cantankerous next-door neighbor who doesn't seem to know what hygeine is. Anna Paquin stars in one of the stories as a nervous virgin of sorts, looking for her own conquest. I still love the story of the kids who were driven into the quarry by their bus driver, hired by their parents to relieve their burden. It's poignant, well-illustrated by sepia tones.
Why the studio only allowed certain festivals to play the film and not give it a wide or even limited release, we may never know. Trick 'r Treat certainly deserved it. I think the first time I saw it was at Fantasia, and it brought down the house.
The new Blu-ray release (just in time for Halloween!) from Shout! Factory's Scream Factory imprint is basically a love letter to those fans, who've been clamoring for more, more, more. Well, they've delivered an insane amount of extras. (The film itself looks fantastic and sounds wonderful, too, no complaints there.)
A Halloween-sized steal of special features:
The amount of truly beautiful concept art on display was jaw-dropping. There are tons of quite informative interviews from Doughtery himself, concept artist Breehn Burns, composer Douglas Pipes, and so many more crew members.
It's always cool to see the storyboards, too, and I think the entire film here is on display in that form for you to see. It's done tale by tale. There's a great featurette on the history of the holiday of Halloween, too, and even old school FearNet bumpers for Trick 'r Treat, back when FearNet was a thing, long before Shudder.
Highly recommended. Pair with a viewing of Creepshow for a double feature of spooky goodness for a great Halloween night. To check out the trailer and for more info, head over to Scream Factory here.