Guest Review: TRICK ‘R TREAT

Posted by Peter Hall - October 11th 2008 @ 9:11 am

Review written by R. J. Sayer, a very angry, vulgar, perfunctory but damn insightful fellow.  I’m busy as hell and rushing off to the Renaissance Festival for the day, so I haven’t even read this raving endorsement yet, but I couldn’t wait.

Written and Directed by Michael Dougherty, 2008

I’m going to try and keep this short. I’m not going to address my long absence from reviewing for this site, except to say “sorry guys, my bad.” Really though, I guess I needed something Potent with the Great Awesome to motivate me. About a month or two or whenever ago I watched six or seven or eight movies or some shit. They ranged from mediocre to amusing to What-The-Fuck-Am-I-Watching-This-Rotten-Shit-For. I took notes. But I was so Bummed Out that I just couldn’t drag myself to actually bang out the reviews.

I was waiting for something to get me excited about horror movies again.

And, yes, I’m cheating here. I’m breaking my typical format. But given the month, and the circumstances, and the alignment of the planets, and the whatever… I think I’m fucking allowed, thank you very much. And I don’t owe you a goddamn thing. I got nothing to prove to you. But I take great pity on you.

Because seriously, kids, you have a new Favorite Goddamn Movie. And you don’t even know it. Who knows when the fuck you’ll even get to see it? Nobody. That’s who. Not even the dude who directed it. And that breaks my goddamn heart.

I was going to wait a day to write this. Let it digest. But I just got back from the opening night screening of TRICK ‘R TREAT at Screamfest. And this shit just could not be put on hold. I’m typing this on a friend’s computer. Free form. No notes. Stream of consciousness or whatever.

No nutgraphs or hooks or lead-ins or clever fucking autobiographical shit. Halloween is my favorite day of the year. Fuck my birthday. Fuck Christmas. Fuck George Washington and his stupid birthday. HALLO-GODDAMN-WEEN, kids.

I assume that most of you kids reading this here feel the same way. And if you don’t, then fuck you, stop reading this review.

That rhymed. Two points for me.

If TRICK ‘R TREAT had a penis, it was in my car on the drive back from the theatre. And me and my friend were fellating it. Ferociously and affectionately. Thick ropes of drool hanging from our lips, glistening tongues darting along the veiny, hard shaft.

Whoa. Sorry.

Okay, R.J., collect your goddamn thoughts for a second. Stop ranting. And for fuck sake not more homosexual erotica.

It’s hard to not rant. Because I’m depressed. But at the same time, overwhelmed with joy. It’s like I just had the best sex of my life, with the girl I plan to marry and grow old with, and while I was in the kitchen, getting her a glass of water, some asshole came in and kidnapped her.

Yeah, that’s exactly it. Somebody came in and kidnapped the best lay and love of my life.

Because TRICK ‘R TREAT doesn’t have a release date. At all. Not in theatres. Not on dvd. Not on direct TV satellite digital cable bullshit or whatever-the-fuck.

I’m sure at this point you want me to talk about the movie. Fuck you and your impudence, I’m on an incline here.

I don’t want to talk about the actual film too much. Because I don’t want to spoil a goddamn thing for any of you (on the off-chance that someday you may actually get to see it) – please see my review of The Kindred for further explanation on this point.

But I will say this: If there’s a personal heaven for each person when they die (as some of those Hippie Christian Weirdos believe), then Warren Valley, Ohio (where the film takes place) is mine. And probably yours too. I mean, I wouldn’t put money or anything on it. But I’ve got a feeling, you know.

Seriously, this place is Halloweentown times a billion. And real. So fucking real it almost hurts. Halloween parades, spooky fucking town legends, a citizenry made up of the greatest kind of characters (think of your favorite TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE episodes… and then imagine those episodes written and directed by Jumpin’ Jesus Christ hisself, or whatever you believe in spiritually. Except for you, Scientologists. You can fuck right off).  … and Sam.

My sweet cracked-out Lord, Sam. Sam. The Santa Claus of Halloween. Shit.

Oh, and also it plays with your expectation and cynicism like they’re dead cats in a torture-porn movie.

Oh, and also everything about the movie, technically and creatively is fucking perfect.

And that’s it. That’s all the time I’m going to give to the merits of the film itself. Because, there is honestly nothing much I can disclose that will do it justice. JUST SEE IT. THE FIRST FUCKING CHANCE YOU GET. I DON’T CARE IF IT’S IN FUCKING FEBRUARY ON GODDAMN VALENTINE’S DAY. FUCKING SEE IT.

I’m not kidding here, SEE IT.

Now, I want to talk about the Great Fucking Tragedy.

And, my friends, The Great Fucking Tragedy is that there is no release. So we must take action. Write to Warner Bros. Write to your Senator or Congressperson. Write to your Church. Write to Barack Obama.

Actually, yeah. Just write to Barack Obama.

Fuck everybody else. Bypass them. Let’s go over their heads and take this fight right to the top. If there’s anybody who can get this shit done, it’s Obama.

If you want to see this movie get the theatrical release it doesn’t only deserve, but FUCKING DEMANDS WITH THE VERY AWESOMENESS OF ITS EXISTENCE – and, don’t see for yourself, take MY word for it, you fucking do – then write to Senator (and Future President of the United States of Goddamn America) Barack Obama and beg, plead, implore, or whatever of him to DO SOMETHING. Ask him to suspend his campaign (dude’s got it in the bag anyway) and put all his effort into getting this movie a proper fucking release by 10/31/08.

That’s Change We Can Believe In, people. And that’s exactly what I’m fucking talking about here. Hope. Change. Progress. A New and Better Goddamn America.

No longer can we let the politics of division deny us of AWESOME FUCKING HALLOWEEN MOVIES. We must join together, reach across the aisle in a truly bipartisan effort and GET THIS MOTHERFUCKER RELEASED IN THEATRES ACROSS THIS BLESSED NATION BY HALLOWEEN. OF THIS VERY FUCKING YEAR. 500 MILLION SCREENS, PEOPLE.


And let me backtrack for a just a moment here, guys. I called it a “Halloween Movie” back there. Did you see that? Okay, go ahead and re-read it. No. Yeah. That last paragraph or whatever. It’s right there. The first sentence. It’s cool, I’ll wait.

Got it?

Okay. Yeah. I called it that. Because that’s what it is. This isn’t just a Horror Movie. TRICK ‘R TREAT is a FUCKING HALLOWEEN MOVIE. Probably the only real one ever. Seriously.

Remember when you were 7 years old or whatever and Halloween made you feel invincible and excited and amazing and powerful and Lost in Paradise and all that shit? This movie gave me that feeling again.


And while we’re on the message of Hope, let me be clear: there IS, indeed, Hope. At the Q&A after the movie, (Writer and Di-motherfucking-rector) Michael Dougherty made a comment about all the merchandising that’s been released bearing the TRICK ‘R TREAT brand. And, homies, it is STAGGERING. Books, dolls, action figures, posters, etc. That gives me hope.

As does a statement made by an audience member about a certain comic-book-based film that may or may not have made WB enough money to assure their executives a solid and comfortable lifestyle in the Road Warrior-esque future that is undoubtedly just around the corner for this Doomed, Doomed planet. I mean, come on. How much money did that thing make? 217,492,053 ZILLION DOLLARS?  So, it’s not like releasing this thing would break their bank.

Also, there were 453,296,541 people in the audience tonight (give or take two or three) and EVERY SINGLE GODDAMN ONE OF THESE MOTHERFUCKERS APPLAUDED LIKE LUNATICS WHEN THE END CREDITS ROLLED. Hell, half of them clapped like crazy DURING certain scenes in the movie.

And as my man, Barack, has said, Nothing Can Stand in the Way of The Power of Millions of Voices Calling For Change.


Peace, kids. Let’s get this fucker released. For you. For your family. For America’s Future.

And with that, I raise my Pumpkin Ale to you fuckers and promise that my next review won’t be nearly as scattered. And will stick to the goddamn rules.

*NOTE TO SENATOR OBAMA: just kidding about quitting your campaign, dude. I realize that though you are ahead in the polls, some people still need convincing, especially after these unwarranted and pointless slanders against your Character. Don’t actually quit, no matter how many of these Crazy Internet Nerd Motherfuckers call you and demand it. Just keep kicking. No time for resting on laurels now. And nothing is over until the 4th. I understand that. But seriously, while you’re working your ass off to bring us through the next four years, do you think you could maybe spare a little effort for TRICK ‘R TREAT? I sure would appreciate it. And it would raise morale on Halloween, which is just before the election. And it would pretty much fucking guarantee you the coveted, yet fickle, Horror Fan Vote. Thanks, man, I appreciate it.

comments are closed
  1. October 11th, 2008 | 12:12 pm | #1

    Yes, but was it any good?

    Thing on the poster looks like a version of Little Big Planet that I’d actually play.

  2. Barack Obama
    October 11th, 2008 | 3:19 pm | #2

    I am Barack Obama, and I approve of this review.

  3. R.J. Sayer
    October 11th, 2008 | 4:33 pm | #3

    wow, re-reading this review i kind of hate my own impatience.

    John – well, i hope that’s a joke because i’m pretty sure my review was the typing equivalent of swallowing. anyway, the thing on the cover is SAM, and he is the next Great Horror Icon. i don’t even know where to begin with that motherfucker. seriously. he’s creepy and funny and repulsive and mischievous and… he’s just the purest EMBODIMENT of the spirit of Halloween i’ve ever seen. and yeah, that includes Mr. Moundshroud from The Halloween Tree AND Mr. Boogedy.

    but if you want to know more about the film – technically – i’ll cover a few points. First off: the art direction and production design of this film is just MIND-BLOWING. not in an H.R. Giger-ish way or anything revolutionary like that. but in the way that it takes everything essential about the holiday of Halloween right out of our collective goddamn psyche and hires Michael-fucking-angelo to paint it on the ceiling. seriously. the jack-o-lanterns alone are enough to give you goosebumps of nostalgic joy. also, the score is lush and haunting and epic and all that great shit. and it was all based around the simple melody of “Trick or Treat, trick or treat // Give me something good to eat”… seriously. oh, and the effects work (ALMOST ENTIRELY PRACTICAL – NO GODDAMN JOKE) including one scene that i TOTALLY WANT TO SPOIL FOR YOU, but… won’t. i can’t do that. it wouldn’t be fair. beacuse i didn’t see it coming (at least not in the manner it arrived) and i don’t even want to ruin the premise that delivered it. it’s THAT giddily awesome. the performances range from solid to INSPIRED – Dylan Baker, Brian Cox, Quinn Lord, and Samm Todd shining out as the real stars. and the cinematography is GORGEOUS and elegant as fuck, which is a huge testament to the D.P.’s skill because he’s the same dude who shot RAMBO (which looks NOTHING like this film). The most important thing i’d like to re-iterate however, is that while watching this movie, i felt like it WAS Halloween. In that theatre, it was Halloween. no hyperbole. no kidding.

    huh. funny how my ACTUAL review of the FILM ITSELF would come out in the comments section.

    Barack – thanks, man. I appreciate it. Big fan, by the way. i’ve had your back since ’04. Also really great to know that you check out the horror sites. that’s true populism, dude. Word.

  4. R.J. Sayer
    October 11th, 2008 | 4:37 pm | #4

    oh, and what the hell is Little Big Planet?

  5. Barack Obama
    October 11th, 2008 | 8:59 pm | #5

    It is a puzzle platforming game coming out for the PS3 on October 21 (just a few weeks shy of me kicking that old geezer’s ass). I doubt Matt Wells will do a review on it since it’s not horror.

  6. October 12th, 2008 | 12:29 pm | #6

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Also: See? They could be cousins.

  7. Sean
    October 12th, 2008 | 5:23 pm | #7

    RJ, I hate you.

    I’ve been waiting, and waiting…and waiting…for Trick ‘R Treat to come out. Why must you verbally punch me in the face?

  8. October 12th, 2008 | 6:11 pm | #8

    That was damn near incomprehensible, RJ, but fuck do I want to see this movie now.

  9. R.J. Sayer
    October 13th, 2008 | 12:11 pm | #9

    Peter – yeah, i think may rewrite this entire thing…

  10. R.J. Sayer
    October 13th, 2008 | 12:11 pm | #10

    Sean – sorry, dude.

  11. R.J. Sayer
    October 15th, 2008 | 2:09 pm | #11

    ok. so you motherfuckers win.

    i’m rewriting this. and including it in a Screamfest wrap-up, where i’ll be reviewing every film i saw there.

    6 total.

    yeah. 6. of MY reviews. in one post.

    this rewrite comes at a hefty price, kids. be prepared to pay it.

  12. October 15th, 2008 | 3:17 pm | #12

    USA! USA! USA!

  13. R.J. Sayer
    October 16th, 2008 | 2:36 am | #13

    yeah. sanity isn’t free.

  14. jackie
    January 10th, 2009 | 9:05 pm | #14

    Does anyone know where I can get my hands on this movie?

  15. R.J. Sayer
    January 11th, 2009 | 9:14 pm | #15

    jackie – you can’t. write a letter to Warner Bros.

  16. Anonymous
    March 17th, 2009 | 10:15 am | #16

    The fact that this film has not been released is painful to me, especially knowing that it is fantastic. I don’t need to have seen it to know that. It’s a fact that I’m sure we can all agree on. Nothing receives that kind of response unless it’s truly great.
    I have yet to find one person who has reviewed it negatively, and I must find a way to view it.
    I’ve heard rumors of a Television release in October, which will hopefully lead to a DVD release. That’s the least they could do, but it would be better than the limbo it’s trapped in now.

  17. reptilien
    March 29th, 2009 | 10:48 am | #17

    is this movie good for americans only ?

  18. R.J. Sayer
    March 29th, 2009 | 12:38 pm | #18

    reptilien – i’m not sure i really understand the question. there is a ton of “Americana” in the film, but i’d say a lot of the themes and ideas are pretty universal. some may be more “American” than others, but i don’t think anybody from a post-industrial nation would be lost. if you live in a developing country or are part of some kind of obscure tribe in a jungle somewhere then yeah, you probably wouldn’t get a lot of it. but i wouldn’t worry about that. i mean, most of the people in THIS country have no way of seeing it right now.

    also, you certainly don’t have to be from the good ol’ U.S. of A. to appreciate just how well made it is, and how much love is up on the screen.

  19. reptilien
    March 29th, 2009 | 2:09 pm | #19

    actually, i have spent almost 2 years in the US and i also got a high school diploma

    but i live in germanland, plus i am familiar with poorer nations since i am not a native fritz

    anyway, sorry for this thought – provoking question and i cannot wait for this one since i am fan of great horror movies from which most good ones are still american – made

    finally: i hope this one is mature and not some stupid jump-off-your-seat-popcorn flick – because an applauding us – audience means nothing to me

  20. Castelar García Rivera
    July 26th, 2009 | 7:52 am | #20

    The movie Trick or Treat from Warner Brothers which bears no relation to the film of 1986 that carries the same title is an outstanding anthology film in the vein of the classic Tales from the Crypt EC Comics. Without giving anything away the cast which is composed of “True Blood’s” Anna Paquin dealing with a vampire, “X2” Brian Cox defending himself from a supernatural trick-or-treater and “Spiderman 2” Dylan Baker as a nasty school principal do a superb job in carrying each segment. The film is shot and edited smoothly while the creepy effects look great. It is a shame that this film did not get a worthy theatrical release worldwide as it is just as good as other similar films like Twilight Zone: The Movie, Creepshow part 1 and the original Tales from the Crypt film which was made in 1972. At least this film will be available to purchase this upcoming October so get ready for a deadly good time.

  21. R.J. Sayer
    July 26th, 2009 | 12:45 pm | #21

    uh… homeslice, did you just hijack my fucking review?

  22. December 10th, 2009 | 10:37 am | #22

    After waiting and waiting for this to bubble up in my NetFlix queue…after Halloween..dangit…it was well worth it! As said above the production and art direction are very well done. The story flows nicely one into another. We get a lot of great twists at any given point and an overall ride that your going to recall from time to time. Please see this movie and tell a friend because a lot of people don’t know its out there. Its really easy to reel them in with Anna Paquin.

    As for Peter’s review, I think he enjoyed the film as well.

  23. R.J. Sayer
    October 22nd, 2010 | 11:39 am | #23


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