John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN is as relevant this time of year as jack-o-lanterns and falling leaves. The holiday themed hit still resonates with audiences and has spawned numerous sequels to varying degrees of success. Yet there is another feature film that thrilled my horror loving heart back when I witnessed it at a special Comic Con screening in 2009. Michael Dougherty’s TRICK ‘R TREAT was a gorgeously gothic celebration that was drenched in the haunted history of October 31st. With four interwoven stories about demons, werewolves, ghosts and serial killers, the film is a true celebration of All Hallows Eve. And while it never found its way onto the big screen, I was one of the lucky few who witnessed it the way it should have been seen.
Thankfully this holiday treat found an audience with its home video release in October of 2009. With an exciting cast including Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Dylan Baker and Leslie Bibb to name a few, it quickly found success as a cult classic. For many of us, it has become part of our yearly viewing along with Carpenter’s own classic. Even the popular magazine Entertainment Weekly recommends it as suggested holiday viewing in the Oct 25/Nov. 1 issue. So while it never found theatrical fame, this feature film made way back in 2007 has earned more than its share of respect. Considering some of the straight to DVD horror sequels we genre fans have suffered through, why have we not been given a sequel to this cinematic treat?
Part of Warner Brothers Legendary Pictures, TRICK 'R TREAT was ultimately successful in spite of the lackluster distribution. Repeatedly they pushed back the release date until finally they dumped it into the graveyard of home video, even still the little movie that could found its audience. With one fantastic trailer and a handful of screenings prior including Harry Knowles Butt-Numb-A-Thon in Austin Texas, as well as screenings in New York, Chicago and of course the previously mentioned Comic Con, the film gained positive word of mouth. Once this flick hit video, fans were ready to experience Halloween in a new and exciting way.
Dougherty engulfed this fun feature with frighteningly fanciful cinematography and created one of the most exciting and iconic horror figures this side of Michael Myers. Sam (Quinn Lord), the little demon terrorizing mean old Mr. Kreeg (Cox) – as well as others not respecting his favorite holiday - was the very essence of this frightfully fun flick. The tiny, mischievous demonic force put the trick in “trick or treat” with his terrifying sense of purpose. It was such a fantastic character that it seems a true waste not to utilize him in a sequel… or better yet a whole damn franchise. At least this little guy has appeared in a number of shorts which only make me want to see more of the miniature terror.
Considering this was an anthology, you couldn’t ask for an easier time of year to explore the folklore behind what was once – and still is to some - considered a Pagan holiday. This scary holiday carries a number of haunted tales so why limit it to this little town where the first took place? After all, “American Horror Story” has found success by changing the places, players and the circumstance for each of the series three seasons. Certainly writer/director Michael Dougherty would have ample avenues to explore in creating a sequel without simply doing a copy and paste job of the original film. Aside from bringing back Sam, there is room for all new horrors or even expanding on some of the ideas in the original film if necessary.
Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but I want a sequel to TRICK ‘R TREAT, and one that would open preferably in theatres IN October! We’ve had a crapload of SAW and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY flicks over the past few years and this year we had a lackluster CARRIE remake… Ugh! Give us a sequel to one of the best examples of using October 31st in a creepily clever way. I want to see that lovable demonic entity Sam conjuring up some Halloween spirits and I want to see it soon. Hopefully with the upcoming screening happening here in Los Angeles at Beyond Fest – which will be live streamed on the Legendary Pictures Facebook page - Dougherty and Legendary Pictures will be able to bring horror happy audiences another installment of this spooky holiday classic to life.