Friday, February 8, 2013

Trick 'r Treat ****

Rue Morgue’s 200 Alternative Horror Films led me to a treasure that I somehow missed when it was released.  Trick ‘r Treat (2007) is a fine piece of horror film making and a great addition to your October 31st list of libations. 
The film was written and directed by Michael Dougherty.  It stars Dylan Baker, Brian Cox and Anna Paquin.  I would note also the presence of Britt McKillip and Christine Willes, who played Reggie Lass and Delores Herbig (“her big brown eyes) on one of my favorite TV series, Dead Like Me. 
TRT gives us Halloween in a town that loves Halloween, but probably ought not to.  Four stories are skillfully interwoven as the film progresses.  The action switches from one story to the other and back again.  In one we see a face at a window.  Later, we see what is happening on the other side of the window.  When that sort of thing is done well it is delicious.  It is done well here. 
Some of the story elements are just predictable enough to give you the satisfaction of having solved a riddle.  Others give you the satisfaction of having been totally wrong about who the victims are and who the monsters are.  All the stories are tied together both by the locale and by the presence of a perfect Halloween MC: a child-sized person with a jack o’lantern shaped head concealed by a burlap hood.  Don’t worry; you get to see what is under that hood. 
The genius of Trick ‘r Treat lays mainly in the way that the stories are stitched together and in the brilliant use of light.  Contrary to the usual procedure, almost every scene is a feast of yellow or orange glow.  I have affection for cinema that gives me appalling visions in beautiful light.  There are also a powerful lot of exquisitely carved jack o’lanterns.  I kept wanting to push pause and copy the patterns. 
This is one for the collection.  I am keeping it for next Halloween, but I would warn you that it is not safe for children.  There is a bit of nudity and more than a few kids get gobbled up.  If you want something to satisfy your Halloween jones, this would be it. 

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