Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Exfanding Review: Trick 'r Treat...And a Touch of the Flu

Trick 'r Treat posterSo, today I had planned to review the recently released (whoa...alliteration is awesome) Halloween-themed film, Trick 'r Treat in depth. However, being that I am having a hard enough time seeing one of everything at the moment, I'm going to keep this post pretty short.

And, no, I don't mean "short for Alex." I mean, literally, short and sweet and almost to the point.

I think I'm actually getting (or in the process of having) the flu, as I am displaying flu-like symptoms. You know, like headache, fever, dizziness, and the inability to write coherently. Though, granted, two of those symptoms are ones I carry around with me at all times.

Thus far in 2009, I've avoided being sick enough to have to lie down all day and not do anything. Well, there's a first time for everything, as I literally spent all of the past nine or so hours under the covers, watching DVD reruns of 30 Rock.

Granted, that's not the worst way to spend a day, and it would have been heaven if not for the constant queasiness and that wonderful, pounding thing my brain was doing to the inside of my skull.

Right. No one cares. Sorry. (Like I said, coherency will be at an all-time low today...)

Yes, so. Trick 'r Treat. Hailed by many as the be-all, end-all of Halloween horror films. And it might very well be that, if, of course, a little, late-seventies flick called Halloween had never been made.

For my money (and for most horror fans' collected monies), John Carpenter's Halloween is--hands down--the best movie the genre has and will ever see. Sure, it spawned all kinds of junky slasher flicks in the eighties (included among them were the Halloween sequels themselves), but imitation is the best form of copying.

Or something like that.

Halloween is the Dark Knight Returns of horror films, and it will always be considered the quintessential October 31st viewing fare. It's a law, in some states, to watch this glorious (and mostly bloodless) introduction to Michael Myers and Laurie Strode on Halloween night.

It's like leaving cookies for Santa, or quietly cursing under your breath at happy, in-love couples on Valentine's Day.

But, with the addition of director/writer Michael Dougherty's (screenwriter of X-Men 2 and Superman [never even throws a punch but at least he] Returns) Trick 'r Treat, the Halloween canon has been revised and updated for a new generation.

Told in an anthology format (much like those great horror comics I love so much), Treat is something unique and fresh and much-needed in a genre that has grown stale, and stupid, and excessively violent.

And stupid. Did I mention stupid?

Sure, Treat features some over-the-top violence itself, but it certainly doesn't hold a candle in that regard to flicks like...well, you know the ones I'm talking about. No need to malign them here.

Unlike those movies, which you might have saw--er, seen, Treat features five actual stories (not just "hot chick walks into creepy room and is tortured for an hour and a half"). All of the stories are connected to one another and tied together by the appearance of Sam--that creepy little guy you see at the top of this post.

Sam is the Halloween anti-hero, and he's pretty hardcore.

The stories range from mildly creepy to downright skin crawling, and while there's always a lesson to be learned, Treat is never preachy. The premise is a simple one--if you mess with the "rules" of Halloween, Sam will get you.

I'm going to leave the recap of the film at that, since I'm getting all woozy again.

And I'll end with this. It took a good, long while for Trick 'r Treat to make its way to DVD--its history of near misses at the box office and distribution problems throughout its post-production life have all added to the aura of this creepy cult film.

And while many online have praised it as the greatest horror movie of all time, I just don't agree. That award goes to The Exorcist, in my book. Still, Treat is without question a great horror movie, and it's the second-greatest Halloween horror movie.

My recommendation?

Halloween night needs only two flicks to help ring in the holiday--Trick 'r Treat and Halloween. Watch 'em in that order, and you'll be set on the 31st.

Okay. It's back to bed for me. See you all tomorrow (hopefully) with another issue of Waiting for Wednesday.

No comments: