Hey, everyone. “Moriarty” here. Halloween started early in my house this year, and I guess it’s ending a little late. Fine by me.
I’m a big ol’ horror nerd, so it’s always a big holiday for me anyway. And Toshi’s three now, and this is his third big Halloween out and about, in costume, with his best trick’r’treatin’ buddy, Frannie. It’s honestly one of my favorite nights of the year, and it gets better each year as Toshi and Frannie get more and more into it.
When Disney sent over THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS on BluRay, it went into pretty much constant rotation in my house. I watched it one afternoon, happy to have something to watch that I could do while the kids were up, and Toshi was pretty much hypnotized by it from that first viewing. Don’t blame him, of course. I love the film, and on BluRay, it looks almost like you can reach in and pick up the models.
And that music... it’s one of the best things Elfman’s ever done. “Daddy, who’s that?” was Toshi’s mantra as he asked for the film any time he was allowed TV over the next week or two. He wanted to learn the names of all the characters. Wanted to understand it more than I’ve ever seen him want to understand a film. One afternoon, he went to Amoeba with me, and as we were walking around, he asked if we could find “Halloween musica,” so that meant the soundtrack went into constant rotation in the car...
... only allowed to be removed if I promised to put in another CD that was sent for review...
Cover versions of all the music from the film. A lot of it is sort of wretched nu-metal, and I wouldn’t put this in myself, but it was nice to hear different versions of the songs after about the eight-thousandth trip to school with the soundtrack playing.
What I find most amazing about watching him watch this film is that is scares the living shit out of him. No doubt about it. The monsters and the witches and the werewolves and the zombies and Sally’s removable arm and the Oogie Boogie Man... dude... it’s outrageously scary for a three-year-old to think that there’s this place where all these things hang out. But he is 100% crackhead-addicted to the rush that goes with being so scared of a movie. He can’t wait for the film to start when we put it on. He knows the music completely at this point, in as much as a three-year-old can really get Elfman’s lyrics. It’s great fun watching this chubby little dude goth his way around the house vamping to “I’m JACK! THE PUMPKIN KING!”.
He loves being scared. At three. He’s already a junkie for it, like most kids are. And sometimes that pays off in wild-ass nightmares that see him stumble his way down to my end of the house at 3:00 in the morning, tear-stained and freaked out. And maybe he even likes that part of it, me carrying him back to bed and hanging out there by the nightlight with him, talking to him about the shadows on the wall that are freaking him out. I certainly do.
Seeing how innate that love of being scared is in my son, I am not remotely surprised at how many of you wrote in to try and get passes to see TRICK’R’TREAT at the Chinese. I just wish that we’d been able to get even more of you in. As it was, we filled two entire auditoriums at the same time. And we got a ton of mail about the event afterwards. I don’t want you to think I’m being biased in what I print, either. I’m going to run every one of the pieces I collected from my inbox after what I think was one of the most fun screenings I’ve done here in LA.
And before we get started, here’s my final word on Halloween in my house, the pumpkin that Toshi and I carved, the first one we’ve done together.
Harry, I'm a long time reader who has come to rely on your site for all the new stuff going on in film land which a film geek can't live without knowing. I'm a film fan in general, but I have a special place in my heart for horror films. In many ways they led me to the larger world of film. With this in mind, I'm seriously considering starting one of those e-petitions to let Warner know there are a butt load of fans out here who have a real interest in Trick R Treat.The websites (including Ain't It Cool), have done a pretty good job of getting the buzz going on this one. I would just like to ask if you would be willing to post a link to it or at least something quick about it. It's not worth doing if I can't get the word out and get enough people to sign on. I'm going to send a similar message to Bloody Disgusting and Dread Central asking if they'd do the same. I appreciate the service you provide to all of us who happen to both be in nowheresville and without the resources to get our hands on all the good info on our own. Keep up the good work, and may you and yours be happy and healthy. Alex P. (Damiankarras on AICN talkbacks, though rarely)
Here’s a quick question:
Will this movie be released to the public soon? Please pass on that this movie has to be released on DVD, so horror fans like me will have the opportunity to see it. Thanks, Allison from South Carolina
And our first longer review, a rather impassioned one:
Hey Moriarty, I'd like to thank you for coordinating the free screening of Michel Dougherty's TRICK R' TREAT this past Thursday 10/23/08 at Mann's Chinese Theater in Hollywood. I've been tracking the progress of the project for a couple of years now, and like the countless other fans out there, I was frustrated and disappointed when the film was yanked from Warner Bros. release schedule for the past two Halloween seasons. Needless to say, I'm eternally grateful for being able to FINALLY see the film I had been waiting to see for so long up on the big screen (albeit for one night only). I can say with with complete honesty (and without hyperbole) that watching Trick R' Treat is the most fun I've had at the movies in a long time (even more fun than Dark Knight.) I'm a huge fan of the Halloween holiday, as well as an avid viewer of horror movies across the board, and Trick R' Treat delivered everything that I want in a Halloween-themed horror film. Michael Dougherty possesses great instincts as a filmmaker, and his debut film unarguably outshines the catalog of sub-standard horror pulp that the big studios force feed the public annually. When offered mediocre choices such as When A Stranger Calls (remake), Prom Night (remake), The Hitcher (remake), and The Eye, horror fans like myself CRAVE an intelligent and unique alternative like Trick R' Treat. Frankly, it blows my mind that such a patently marketable and franchise-worthy film like Trick R' Treat could be shelved by Warner Bros. while watered-down drivel such as the 'films' mentioned above are churned out in assembly line-like fashion every year. I don't know who the genius was at Warner Bros. whom has decided to keep this goldmine of a project away from its fans for two holiday seasons in a row, but obviously said individual should consider finding employment outside of the entertainment business because he/she couldn't tell a money maker if it came up and sat on his/her face. Trick R' Treat is the closest you can get to a 'sure thing' in Hollywood, and the clamoring applause and howls of gratification I witnessed at last week's screening attests to my assessment of the film's financial potential. I've often visited the film's discussion board on imdb, and the consensus is clear: what the F%@# is taking so long for this film to be released?!?! Moriarty, for what it's worth, I promise you that once Trick R' Treat is released in theaters or on DVD/Blu-ray, I'll be there on the first day to pay my hard earned money in support of this film. Michael Dougherty has breathed a faint glimmer of life back into a worn and abused genre, a glimmer of life that promises to explode into a full-blown resurrection of the horror genre if it's given the basic necessity it requires to grow: exposure. Give it to the fans and it's sure to be a hit! But of course, I don't need to tell YOU that. I know that out of all people, you're well aware of how marketable and entertaining Trick R' Treat is, or you wouldn't have arranged the free screening for the fans to begin with. Yet when asked repeatedly how we, the fans, can help get Michael Dougherty's Trick R' Treat released to the public, you urged us to write you and tell us how we feel about the project. Thus, I hope this email can offer even the slightest bit of encouragement to the suits at Warner Bros. regarding the release of in theaters or on DVD/Blu-ray. Hell, I'll even get down on my knees and beg... [gets down on knees] Please, please, Warner Bros., do the fans, and yourselves a favor, by releasing Trick R' Treat to the public as soon as possible. The film is perfectly tailored for an October release, so let's get in in theaters just in time for Halloween 2009. Once you sit back and watch the weekend grosses shoot through the roof, you'll suddenly start to wonder why the heck you didn't release it long ago just like the rest of us. Again, thanks Moriarty for giving the fans what they want with the awesome Trick R' Treat screening last week. At least somebody in the entertainment industry can see talent when they see it. Sincerely, Rory Walsh Culver City, CA
I like this one a lot. This is the entire thing I was sent:
I was scared out of my mind during the film, but looking back I can truly appreciate the film as a quality horror classic-in-the-making. My boyfriend started a Facebook group for it, too, dunno if you've heard of it yet. :) -- Veronica Bane
I hadn’t, but since I finally gave in to peer pressure and said hello to Facebook, I’ll check it out. Who’s next?!?
Hey there, The other night I was lucky enough to catch the screening of Trick R Treat in Hollywood. First, thank you aintitcool, wb, legendary & Mr. Dougherty for showing this film. From all the delays & hold ups it seems like quite the miracle that the film is being shown at all (which is friggin' insane). Second, as many film geeks who've now seen this & I'd assume any average movie goer who'd enjoy a wonderful, skilled, original & flat out supremely entertaining horror movie, I'd like to ask the executives in charge: "What's the hold up?" From a business stand point, this is, without a doubt, the start of a franchise. And I don't mean just film. This is what the kids at Hot Topic will want T-shirts, stickers, hats & action figures of. It's the same audience that buys all that Nightmare Before Christmas crap. This is one of those rare movies that people buy when it comes out on dvd, not rent. BUT, you have to put it in theatres first. You have to release it like any other movie you're confident in. And you don't seem too confident to me WB. I mean really, what's the deal? Are you scared of competition from the SAW movies? Do you think you don't have an audience for an alternative to that particular series? Keep in mind, not everyone wants to see 90 minutes of screaming torture to buy into the halloween season movie. There is another audience that will give you that $30 mil opening weekend for an R rated movie. This movie doesn't have 'stars', but it doesn't matter, you're lucky, this movie doesn't need it. It's like one from Spielberg (take your pick) where the movie itself is the star. It just sucks that you missed your chance TWICE to release this film around Halloween & rake in the cash. This is a film where I had no idea where it was going. GENIUS. All the stories are intertwined together ala Pulp Fiction & like that film, we have no idea what we're gonna see next. Rarely films can do this nowadays. Mr. Dougherty is an artist. The film looks like it was directed by an veteran ace. I think the reality is that he has a vision. And there are so many visions in this film that stick with you & are so specific (the school bus dropping over the cliff, that lil creppy bastard SAM). Also with these visions, they're familiar at the same time. Like, you're watching a scene going 'wow, I've never seen this before in a movie, but in my childhood halloween psyche I've seen this'. Which leads me to the overall tone of the movie. It is truly a halloween movie. Like the halloween holiday you remember as a kid. That great thin line between make believe & reality, where (as a kid) you want to believe in the make believe so bad, 'cause it's so cool (and scary). This film is one of the greats because one minute you're laughing, I mean really enjoying yourself & the next you've got those finger nails tapping against your teeth waiting to be bit. Another great (key) element to this film's success is the world that is created. The atmosphere. You get a little Ridley Scott'd because you feel transported even though it's 'everytown usa' (finely executed escapism is what I'm getting at). Let it share the mantle with Mr. Carpenter's classic, he gets the points for tension building, but as a movie ABOUT halloween (back story, visuals, tone) this film is the successor. The performances were all great, believable & relatable. Nothing is forced from the actors, they pull off naturalistic very well. Dylan Baker is hilarious & charismatic, as is Brian Cox. I mean, shit, BRIAN COX! Like Pleasance as Loomis in the original Halloween. The gravitas. With this particular character though, it's a part that could have been (in a lesser film) just a reactionary role, but Brian Cox is Brian Cox and that brilliant s.o.b. doesn't let you down. The Anna Paquin crew had the best surprise out of the whole film, and when that story thread reached it's twist/climax it got applause from the audience (myself included). The violence is all done well. I dunno if you'd call it 'stylistically' done, but all I know is that I never stopped having fun. There are horror filmmakers out there that have forgotten that these movies can be wide eyed, grinning fun, and that the violence shouldn't turn you off. As an audience member you should never stop having fun, even if we're watching some horrific act play out. Mr. Dougherty knows how to keep it fun & scary, something that we haven't seen since... I can't remember. I mean, KIDS get killed. REAL LOOKING KIDS. Not grindhouse horror 80s style with 30 year olds playing 17. Kids that look 14,16,18 get violent deaths and not once was I ever put off. Hats off to the filmmakers for that. I don't wanna give too much away (as you can see I haven't). The less you know going into this, the better it's gonna be. I see two realities to the release of this film. One, you go straight to dvd and get a Donnie Darko following. Great stuff. The other is an August-October '09 release. Just don't hype it with internet praise like Snakes on a Plane. Present the film with a level of confidence that doesn't have a pre-instated 'fanboy' following (that shit doesn't work for the mainstream). What I'm saying, WB, is present this film as if it were 1973 and you had The Exorcist. It's that good. -Brian Fagoa
Here’s one from a longtime horror fan who seems to have really reacted to what Mike did with the movie:
This one goes out to Warner Bros. Behavioral scientists around the world can stop holding their breath because I'm about to answer the question they've toiled for years in labs with beakers poking and prodding children to figure out. I can remember my first experience the the genre of 80's horror like it was yesterday. I was probably six or seven and I had slept over a friends house. We wandered downstairs and dutifully plopped in front of the television the next day where his family was watching a film of a queer persuasion that I had not seen before. The tone and atmosphere was one of foreboding, I liked it, it felt tingly, and I could tell something nasty was about to happen to that cool guy from 21 Jump Street sitting on the bed. And that's when it happened. The bed ATE him. The bed didn't just eat him though, it proceeded to puke up his guts, backwards, onto the fucking ceiling. Wow man. That was it. I was hooked. Forever. Now, I wonder, did I fall so quick and hard in love with 80's horror because my very short life up to that point dictated it? Or was I born that way? Nature or nurture? There was no doubt. This shit was in my DNA. We were the last people I knew in my sleepy New England town to get a VCR and as soon as I did I wasted no time. I was probably the only 8 year old making a bee line for the horror section every time I hit Video Galaxy and lucky for me I was the only kid with a mom who would let him get away with it. I devoured it all. Fright Night? Classic. Halloween 1 - 4? Fuck yeah, even 3 baby, deal with it. The Fridays, the Nightmares, the Hellraisers mmmmboy. Even the Puppet Masters and 976-EVIL's of the world would be devoured into my insatiable brain stew. Then something happened. They stopped "makin em like they ustah" somewhere in the early 90's (although I admit to renting Demonic Toys four times, no joke). Franchises continued and got so bad and so tame that it was more comedy than anything else and when Scream came out it launched a thousand shitty, unscary, boring cynical ships all starring actors that went on to become Jared Leto.....if they were lucky. And then Saw and Hostel and ugh....fuck this I'm out. Fin. Exeunt. Until this last Thursday night. Folks, I come to praise Trick R Treat, not to bury it. Trick R Treat isn't cynical, it isn't trying to "sell" you on a novelty concept that gets stale and comes unglued 7 minutes in, or trying to push a mediocre killer with a feax "message" that the writers can't even come close to justifying. Trick R Treat loves you. It wants the best for you. It wants you to have....dare I say....FUN in a horror film again. Trick R Treat isn't just a film, it's a love letter to..well...everything. To 80's horror, to being a kid, to mischief, to sleight of hand, to damn good actors, and pretty pictures of ugly things. And most of all to Halloween and the spirit of it all no matter how distant that spirit seems. Michael Dougherty has crafted a wonderful film that I think just about every cinephile can get behind. First of all let me say this guy can fucking direct. His camera is so true I can't help but wonder if Dougherty's producer buddy Bryan Singer is really the one out of the two who should be directing superhero films. Trick R Treat is a beauty, full of lush colors, brimming with atmophere, and it frames all it's wild characters with the loving embrace that one might hold a baby bird egg that has fallen unscathed from the nest, right before smashing that egg into the ground. Oh Dougherty's also got balls. First of all in the Anna Paquin storyline I'm pretty sure he invents a new sexual fetish, one I didn't even know I had, so props for that. The man also kills more kids than pop rocks and coke. And these kids, they're played by fucking kids. REAL KIDS. As in not Jared Leto or Chad Michael Murray playing a 12 year old but an ACTUAL 12 year old. The man got the studio to hire actual kids to play the kids! And then he kills them! At this point this amounts to a cinematic revolution so don't act like you're not impressed. Ok I could go on for hours like that but I'm going to boil my argument down to three main points as to why this film NEEDS to be released and why we will all love it, so here we go..... Reason #1: "Dylan Baker and Brian Cox's performances." Seriously these guys bring the goods. I don't think there is any doubt that these guys are two of the best actors we have and this film showcases two of the best performances of their careers. No joke. In a horror film. All the performances are generally good (and Anna Paquin is tres cute) but these guys define scene stealer. Baker is officially in the top 3 suburbanite psychos in film history. Cox's crazy old man is so ridiculously full of nuance (the actor INSISTED the character look like John Carpenter) that it warms the heart that someone besides the director is putting this much effort into this material. His quarter of the film is classic. Which brings me to the next reason. Reason #2: "SAMM" You've seen Samm. He's on the poster, he's all over the trailer, he's the official mascot of the film. Remember the first time you saw The Nightmare Before Christmas (October 30th 1993 for me, it was epic) and you saw Jack SKellington for the first time and everything about the character just felt....right. You knew he was an icon. Well let me introduce you to my little friend Samm, who charms his way into your heart and soul every bit as effortlessly and adorably as the Pumpkin King himself. He's cute, cool, and cuddly, as long as you follow the rules of Halloween, and if you don't he's the most evil little fucker this side of Webster and you'll love him all the more for it. Warner Bros. you seriously have something here with this character. he's sellable. THIS is how you sell the film. With this character. You are going to have a Samm in every Hot Topic in America and trust me PEOPLE WILL BUY. Hell you can even do the kiddie thing and make a cartoon out of him where he doesn't murder innocent people but maybe runs around in his perpetual Halloween town and befriends that little savant girl in the witch outfit and oh the places they'll go. Run with it Warner Bros. R-U-N. If for no other reason than I want the t-shirt right fucking now. If you want to fall in love with him, just like I did, before you even see the movie I suggest you go to youtube and check out Dougherty's animated short "Seasons Greetings", in which Samm stars and is just 32 flavors of awesome.
Reason #3: "We could have more of these" Apparently at the screening Dougherty expressed to Moriarty his wish that there could be a new one of these each year with different directors at the helm of each segment and man that sounds tasty. These films would inspire like minds and then maybe we can really truly bring horror back to the good time it used to be, or at least diversify it. It's one of those rare franchises that right from the get go DESERVES to be a franchise. Not because it's based on a 40 year old comic book or because someone can make money off of it but because it could genuinely become a Halloween tradition that we can look forward to. As I watched Trick R Treat I genuinely felt the spirit of the season, and in LA, where there are no seasons, that's sayin' something. It made me want to run out into the streets and light a bunch of tires on fire in the middle of the road just like the days of my anarchic teenage Halloween youth (yeah growing up in a small town with no cops allows you to get away with minor arson, eat it volunteer fire department!). Reason #4: "Do it for the kids." Yeah I know I said three reasons but I lied cause this is important. You know who needs this film more than anyone? Kids. Not teenagers, but real kids age 9 through 13. If I had a kid int hat age range I would have no problem with them checking out Trick R Treat. Who does this demographic have batting for them today, to stimulate their imaginations and put to visual life all the cool aberrations that pop up in the mind of an overly imaginative child? Jim Henson is long gone and Tim Burton's most visionary days seem to be behind him. Trick R Treat fills that gap. Yeah it's bloody, but not even close to over the top and the whole production is filled with such a sense of unjaded glee that you cant help but feel good. It's the perfect example of "life's no fun without a good scare" and dammit kids need more of than than they do the homogenized poison and cynical cheap blandness of High School Musical. I just know that somewhere out there is a kid, many of them in fact, just like I and Im sure tons of other readers on this site used to be, just waiting for someone to make a movie for him/her. Nobody is doing it and that's just unacceptable. But here one waits, sitting on the shelf, desperate to find that kid. So that's it. That's my case. Now i feel I should say the film isn't quite perfect. The payoff of one of the stories isn't quite as satisfying as the awesome buildup would lead you to believe and I think it could afford to get even more nasty with it' horror (just a hair), but really the good just makes the bad seem so insignificant in retrospect. Trick R Treat hasn't quite overtaken the crown of The Nightmare Before Christmas (which I think I can say without hyperbole is, at this point, a classic on par with The Wizard of Oz) as the greatest Halloween film of all time, but it certainly sits at it's right hand alongside the original Carpenter Halloween, looking down over the holiday with nothin' but love. Waiting to become one of those movies that we absolutely HAVE to see every October. And Samm, like a razorblade hidden in a candybar, is just waiting to get inside your head. Well kiddies, until next time I am IndustryKiller!, the guy who every year smashes your pumpkins the one night you forget to take 'em off your doorstep. Happy Halloween.
Wait... IndustryKiller? A talkbacker? How’d that guy get into the screening?! Plant. Total plant. Here’s another reaction, and although this guy liked a lot about the movie, he’s got a gripe...
Hey Moriarty, First of all, a huge THANK YOU for getting me and my friend on your list to see the special screening of "Trick 'r Treat" last Thursday at the Chinese. You guys really know how to go the extra mile to give the readers / fans what they want and I appreciate that. If you'll indulge me, I'd like to submit a review of "Trick 'r Treat". You're welcome to publish it though I imagine you must have a lot of these coming in. Let me start by saying I love Halloween. No, that's not entirely accurate . . . what I really love is just the idea of Halloween, just the fact that it exists in our society. In a society that puts a lot of energy and money into celebrations of religion, into festivals of romantic love, into over-the-top displays of patriotism and national pride, it actually amazes me that this same society still permits itself to imagine, just for one night, that dark supernatural forces stalk us and that disguising ourselves as grotesqueries and putting hideous, lit gourds outside our homes will ward off these demons. Say what you will about the monetary motivation for it, I won't dispute that, but I love the fact that as giddy as we get for Christmas and Thanksgiving and Valentine's and the 4th of July, we get just as twisted over a tradition which warns us about the boogymen coming to get us and how becoming boogymen ourselves will protect us from that. I have been a fan of the Universal monsters, haunted houses, Stephen King stories, New Orleans' darker folklore, headless horsemen, the list goes on and on, culminating with John Carpenter's "Halloween". After enduring the wretched sequels, I have often imagined and wondered if another film could ever capture the essence of this holiday the way Carpenter did, and it appears one has come damn close. "Trick 'r Treat" was almost exactly what I imagined it would be: a rich, smart, knowing collection of spook stories culminating in an orange-hued love letter to the darkest night on the calendar. The acting is across the board top-notch. Dylan Baker and Brian Cox do their typically superb work yet kick it up a few thousand notches for their respective roles. The labyrinthine manner in which the tales weave into and out of each other is a blast. The filmmaking and the cinematography are gorgeous and creepy, though a nostalgic kind of creepy. And this one actually accomplishes what "Scream" was alleged to have done over a decade ago: it's a self-aware horror film that does not permit its characters to do anything stupid or illogical. The twists and narrative fake-outs come at us with a fury and joy I rarely see in horror. This has to be, bar none, the most ambitious scare flick I've ever seen. The problem? For all the homage, respect, affection paid to the holiday, I never actually got scared. Don't get me wrong, the movie has atmosphere to spare, and the tension in some of the "action" scenes is palpable. But it never quite freaked me out. Maybe it wasn't trying to, but it seems to me that a movie which is completely about Halloween should be coming from a place of terror and dread, not one of honor and respect and (gasp) affection. A lot of the best horror films have had a flat, artless look to them which, while done mainly out of budgetary constraints, nonetheless establish a tone of "you are not welcome here". A poorly lit scene lets us know the film was cheaply made, but it also ratchets up our imagination and keeps us off-balance. "Trick 'r Treat" is awash in the warm, comforting glow of autumn, even when people are getting hacked, slashed, whatever. Also, the best horror films all do something which raises the game of horror in general, be it a possessed 13-year-old, the point of view shots of a child hacking up his big sister, the "reality" of videotaping the hunt for a witch, etc. Mr. Dougherty's movie never has such an element in it, though I'll repeat that maybe that was not the point of this particular film. All I'm saying is, I didn't get wigged out, not once. I do however, have a comment to make about the near-unanymous mystified tone of a lot of AICN talkbackers and reviewers over why Warners will not release this film. The reason seems crystal clear to me, and at this point I will provide the obligatory SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT. I don't believe this movie will ever see one ticket stub for the simple reason that Warners is jittery about the fact that a lot of kids die in this movie. I'm not talking teenagers. I'm talking children. And I'm talking no less than 13 of them. The oldest of them was maybe 13. I can see a number of moviegoers being creeped out by this, and I can see a smaller number taking a bit of offense at it, especially if they are parents. I'm a parent, and while I was totally entertained, I still noticed the age group in this body count. It was a very glaring fact, actually. Studio heads want to make money and not offend anybody, which is ridiculous when you're talking about horror movies, but you bring kids into the mix and I think studio heads get nervous. There, done with my soapbox. END OF SPOILER ALERT END OF SPOILER ALERT Basically I will be picking this one up and adding it to the DVD collection. It is fun, creepy, gross, funny, smart, hip without trying to be, even a little sexy. And I love Sam. What a great, filthy little creep he is. Should this movie find its way into theaters (or even if it doesn't) Dougherty and co. have created a new horror icon. So while this one doesn't "go there" the way many of the classics have, it is definitely worth 90 minutes of your time. Just don't eat too much candy while watching, lest you encounter a round-headed little visitor in your dreams. Thanks again, Moriarty. If you use this, call me Dexter Akira O'Grady De Los Santos
Fair enough. Check this guy out, if you can make it past the disturbing image in his opening paragraph:
Thought I should go ahead and write this up while the movie is fresh in my mind. First of all, I just wanted to thank Moriarty, Legendary Pictures, Michael Dougherty, and... yes... even Warner Bros. who, unfortunately, don't realize the gem of a movie they're sitting on. Tonight was the most fun I've had this close to Halloween since that one time I received a blowjob from a girl wearing a Richard Nixon mask.... Long story... Anyway, I'll skip all of the normal AICN review pre-amble (Where the screening was, what I had for breakfast that morning, etc.) and just get into the meat of the review. By now most of you know what this movie is about. For those who don't, all I'll say is that it's an anthology film that centers around Halloween night, when all of the ghoulies and ghosties roam the streets looking for blooooooodddddd... and... you know... candy. But mostly blood. If I were the kind of dick who described movies by referring to other movies instead of letting the movie just rest on it's own merits, I would say it's "Pulp Fiction" by way of "Tales from the Crypt" with a little dash of good old 80's sensibility thrown in for good measure (I, for one, think it's more like a cross between "Ernest Scared Stupid" and your worst fucking nightmare... which, for most, would probably be any Ernest movie). But I'm not that kind of person. So I won't. So there. Nyah. On top of being clever, the movie is SCARY. And not just "Holy shit! That cat just jumped out of the cupboard and some dude just kicked the composer in the nuts" kind of scares, but some genuinely creepy stuff. There's also a lot of great, dark humor spread throughout. The early sequence involving Dylan Baker and that kid from Bad Santa managed to simultaneously be the funniest, as well as the most disturbing sequence in the entire movie. The "Charlie Brown" line got a huge laugh, and it was much deserved. Sure some of the twists can be seen coming a mile away, but they are still executed perfectly. Speaking of the actors... Solid marks all around. There was not a weak link in the entire cast. The major kudos go to Brian Cox who manages to make a character that could easily have been trite and clichéd into a full and interesting character. God that sounds pretentious, but it's true. Everybody was into the spirit of the movie and it translated really well to the screen. Oh, and there was a great cameo by Christine Willes (Dolores Herbig from "Dead Like Me" and most recently Gladys on "Reaper"). Meow. On the production side, the movie looks great. Every shot is full of atmosphere and the movie never loses focus visually. Each shot manages to invoke something involving Halloween, whether it be the great shots of the local neighborhood rife with decorations, to the moody setting of an abandoned rock quarry, to the creepy backyard filled with dead leaves. Every shot feels like the season it's supposed to represent. I'm not exactly sure the best way to put it, since artsy fartsy analysis of movies is not my forté. At best, I could say that the movie feels very "Halloween-y"... but then most of you would just laugh and point out the fact that I just said "weenie". Seriously... grow up, you douchnozzles. The production design is great, and I wouldn't be surprised if we don't start to see "Sam" costumes popping up after the movie is finally released.... Speaking of which... When Moriarty introduced the movie, he said something that really resonated with me. Halloween just isn't the same anymore. It's been sanitized to the point where the only thing left to do is to ban images of ghosts because it might make children think of death and depress them and we might have to up their Zoloft dosage just so they can cope with the crippling reality of life. Well fuck that and fuck Zoloft. In a way, this movie is sort of poking fun at that notion by presenting every horrible and fucked up thing that could happen to a child on Halloween (And believe me, I haven't seen this many children in peril since *insert dated Michael Jackson joke here*). I'm not going to turn this into a big rant about how Warner Bros. blew it by not releasing this movie for Halloween. Calling them names and wishing various kinds of cancer on their family members won't solve anything. It's just disappointing that the movie isn't getting the chance to be seen the way it deserves: in theaters with a large audience. Dougherty has made a great love letter to Halloween, and it's a goddamn shame that it could very well be relegated to the bargain bin at your local Walmart. 10/10 If you use this, call me EhSteve.
Okay, EhSteve, I will. Another passionate response here:
Hey, Hopefully, I'm doing this properly. If you decide to run my piece, you can call me DarthLowBudget. It seems that lately the world of mainstream studio-backed genre film, horror in particular, has been a wasteland devoid of taste or intelligence. Between the Saw franchise (One eagerly awaits Saw X: Escape from Jigsaw Mountain) and the bevy of inferior remakes of horror classics, there is little room for anything original and creative in the major studios lineups. Though many fabulous horror films are released every year independently, or directly to DVD and television, there is a disheartening lack of quality horror in theaters, especially since the genre is truly one that plays best in a theater packed with an audience responding en masse to the myriad twists, turns, shocks and scares inherent to the genre. In many cases these films never see the dark of a theater because bean-counting executives won't give the greenlight to something that they believe will not have a built in audience. Many horror movies simply never manage to get through the door. This makes the case of Trick 'r Treat all the more maddening. Here we have a movie that has gotten through the door. It has been made. It has merchandise. It has not, however, been released. One wonders why. Let me state as simply as I can; Trick 'r Treat is a good movie. Scratch that. It is a great movie. It is everything that going to the movies was about before the industry was nickel-and-dimed to death. It has wit, intelligence, charm, and scares. Most importantly it is fun. Backtracking a bit, I have to say that I am no huge horror buff. Most of my knowledge of modern horror cinema comes via my brother, a horror fanatic who has made a point of making our friends watch at least one horror movie almost every night of the month of October. That said, I unabashedly love Trick 'r Treat. Like many of you I first became aware of the movie when I saw the trailer on a DVD of 300. Now, with most recent horror trailers, I completely turn off and tune out. They have a hard time registering with me in any way at all. But something in this trailer reached out and grabbed my attention. Here was a horror movie I was actually interested in seeing in the theater. Another confession, I can count the number of horror movies I have seen in a theater on one hand. Yes, I am something of a sissy when it comes to seeing scary things in dark places. And yet, I have now seen Trick 'r Treat twice in a theater. First at ScreamFest 2008, and once again last night at the AICN showing Moriarty put together. Once again, a confession, many of the horror movies I have seen in theaters were seen with averted eyes or through fingers. Once again, I am something of a sissy, feel free to take your best shot. However, with Trick 'r Treat I felt no compulsion to do so. My eyes were glued to the screen. I bring up my sissitude because I believe it makes a powerful point in favor of this movie. If Trick 'r Treat can connect with me, a wuss who has no particular desire to obsessively see horror movie, in such a way that I am captivated by it and walk away with a desire to see it again, imagine what it could do when shown to horror fans, and the general audience. What makes Trick 'r Treat work? First off, though there are gross-out moments (as is required in horror films) the movie does not linger on gore. I know there are quite a few out there who may get off on watching someone's brain get flayed by HR Giger designed, Rube Goldberg headgear, but to some that is a turn off. Trick 'r Treat respects its audience and realizes that most often what is scariest is what is left to our mind to fill in. Trick 'r Treat, like all great horror films, is an emotional response capaciter, slowly building tension and then releasing it at just the right moment. Then, after a moment for the audience to catch its breath, it hits you again. Simply put, the movie is masterfully constructed, and through it Michael Dougherty manages to conduct the audience's emotions like an orchestra. The movie genuinely has so much heart, brains, and courage that one is left to wonder if Dougherty, on a trip through Oz, met up with Dorothy and her companions, found out what they were after, beat them to the Wizard and took them for his movie. I mean that honestly. Ok, not the Oz part, but the first part definitely. It has enough heart to give us characters we grow attached to and sympathize with, a rarity in modern horror. It has the intelligence to treat the audience with respect and recognize that they can think for themselves. At no point in its multifaceted interleaving narratives does it ever slow down or pause to make things painfully obvious, and yet the audience keeps up. Furthermore, it has the courage to be original and creative, establishing a new set of characters that truly are characters in an age where everything is a cardboard cut out, or rehash. I can't think of a horror movie in recent years that focuses so much on kids at Halloween, instead of teenagers played by college graduates (to varying degrees of failure). I also can't think of a studio backed horror project that has so much genuine love for the genre, and for the holiday that ultimately inspires all the spookiness. The movie absolutely celebrates Halloween and the kinds of movies that used to come out this time of year. As for the horror staples, Trick 'r Treat covers its bases. There are psychos and monsters, damsels in distress and people in the wrong place at the wrong time. There are zombies and there are ghosts. There are twists, and there are turns. True to the title, there are tricks. But none of these tricks and twists leave the audience feeling cheated and insulted, as so many movies with twist endings do nowadays, rather they leave you feeling more satisfied than you were just moments before. Altogether, Trick 'r Treat is a remarkable film going experience, and it is absolutely reprehensible for Warner Brothers to leave this sitting on the shelf to gather dust, when it should be lighting up screens to inspire scares. There is an audience out there for this film. Twice I have seen it in packed houses, and I have a hard time imagining any showing being any other way. This is a good movie, and there is always an audience for good movies. I recently saw a 3 part documentary on PBS about the history of Warner Bros., and it makes me sad to think that the studio that used to be so far out on the cutting edge, releasing movies so far out of the mainstream, would no longer be willing to take a chance on a truly good, creative, unique film that deserves to be seen. Note: I have been intentionally vague in regards to the plot and character details of the film, because I would never, for the life of me, want to spoil anything about this movie for anyone. Darth LowBudget
This is short but to the point:
HARRY, Dude, last night's screening of "Trick R Treat" was definatelty one delicious fucking TREAT!! The movie was simply fantastic and extremely entertaining. It really did something that horror-esque movies haven't done in a very long time...and that's make a halloween movie exciting, fun, entertaining and also funny. The movie follows four separate stories that are all linked a tiny bit to one another. Brian Cox's character was bad ass and his story line was suspensful and crazy. "You gotta be fucking kidding me..."haha. That scary little baby thing with the potato sack bag on its face was insane. The other part of the movie that i thought was pretty scary was the scene where the kids go to the lake and pay their respects to the kids that lost their lives on the bus... that was some intense shit. I do not know why warner bros/legendary did not put this movie out this year for halloween. It would have made so much money because it is such a good, classic piece of cinema that makes you feel good when you walk out of the theater..The studios need to realize that this movie is going to be HUGE. Its the kind of treat that no one makes anymore..If i could describe what it felt like i was watching in 4 words it would be "Rated R Hocus Pocus". Im not saying its anything like Hocus Pocus whatsoever, but H-Pocus is a classic halloween movie that people of all ages love and this is another one of those fantastic halloween flicks that relates to the holiday so well, but is rated R, has lots of blood, swearing, some werewolf tits, and lots of kids dying. These studios need to release this movie asap!! Sincerely, The Bardy Party
Again… some minor quibbles from this next guy, but you can see how even when people have issues with one element of the film or another, the film still manages to communicate to them on some level.
Drew, Hi again. I just wanted to say thanks for the entry into the Trick 'R Treat screening last night. Both my roommate and I thought the movie was a lot of fun, and your Q&A afterward with Michael Dougherty was also great. I'm not going to write a full-blown review ("Monty Cristo" more or less summed up my feelings well and seemed to have a similar background in terms of preferred movie genres and taste in horror movies), but count me as among those who think this film deserves lots of love and full distribution. My only quibble - as a guy who has watched a lot of movies - would be that certain elements of the stories seemed a little recycled and lacking freshness, but that's a very minor complaint when juxtaposed with the performances, the effects, and the very evident love for filmmaking that translates so clearly on the screen. A couple of the twists caught me unaware, and there were certainly some genuinely creepy moments. As someone who grew up enjoying Creepshow and shows like The Twilight Zone, I thought that Trick 'R Treat is a worthy addition to the genre. I think that moviegoers - particularly in my age bracket (I'm 33) - would find this movie to be a welcome throwback to good old-fashioned scares. I'm not a blanket critic of the horror genre as of late, but I do think that Trick 'R Treat is a nice change of spirit. Thanks again for a fun night at the movies! DarthCorleone
There were a lot of Darths there that night, eh? I love how that’s the go-to geek prefix for names. How about another review?
Gee, I hope this is the correct email address. At any rate, I'm writing to give my opinion on the movie Trick'r Treat. I was fortunate enough to have snagged a spot on the guest lis for last night's showing in LA. What a treat! I haven't seen such a great movie in a LONG time. From the stories to the use of color and light to the twists and turns and surprises, I was thrilled and delighted at every turn during the movie. I don't know if I can gush and sing its praise enough. This movie MUST be released. It's spectacular. I was laughing, jumping, shrieking and nauseous and loving every second of it. It may have been multiple short stories mashed into one film but they flowed and intertwined so expertly it felt more like one, big, complex and very satisfying story instead. I was captivated and awed. I really haven't seen a horror film of this caliber since the eighties however, I felt that Trick'r Treat lacked the cheese factor. Which is a good thing. It was spooky, creepy, funny, gross, weird and shocking in all the right ways and nothing felt clunky or out of place. I understand that the children involved in the film may be a sticking point when it comes to releasing Trick'r Treat. Take it from someone who's VERY touchy about children (and mothers to be) being involved in horror, you have nothing to worry about! Everything was so tastefully done that nothing about it felt tacky. I walked out of the remake of Dawn of the Dead at about the point that the zombie baby was born. The zombie girl in the beginning (who snapped the man's jugular) was deeply disturbing to me. Trick'r Treat was blast the whole way through! The scenes with the children in them felt no more disturbing that the scenes from the latest version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when the kids fall into various, potentially deadly, situations within the factory. In short, I LOVED this film! I can't say that enough. The character Sam is as endearing as he is creepy and I can't wait to get my grubby little hands on my very own Sam doll. Let me tell you, I'm a huge fan of directors like Tim Burton, Wes Craven, John Landis and the like; Michael Dougherty is a new addition to that list of greats in my book. Trick'r Treat needs to be let loose! If you can't help make that happen, then please, tell me who else to email or pass this on! I've also posted a blog review of the movie, along with a trailer, on my MySpace; someone needs to help spread the word about the great movie. Thank you so much for your time. Sincerely, Naomi Meeder
You may ask yourself why I would run this many reviews instead of just a few samples. I want to show Warner Bros. just how impassioned and voluminous the response to the screening was. I’m hoping that Dan Fellman, the VP of marketing who was actually there for the screening, can see just how much goodwill there is towards this film, and he can express that to whoever has to actually pull the trigger to get this thing onscreen.
Hi Moriarty, I have never written before, but feel compelled to write in about the Trick 'R Treat screening last night. I have been a horror fan my entire life and am sick and tired of the lack of imagination displayed by Hollywood. Trick 'R Treat is one of the best American horror films I've seen in awhile and doesn't deserve to be cast aside in such a frivolous manner. It is even more upsetting to me with Saw V coming out today and after watching the stupid Teaser Trailer for Friday the 13th. Trick 'R Treat has more imagination and creativity in any one of it's story lines than any of the "horror" movies that so easily get distribution these days. Trick 'R Treat is an amazing looking film that perfectly captures the holiday and the genre. The score is fabulous and iconic. The performances great. The writing is original and somewhat complex (imagine that!) The stories involve new characters that aren't already embedded in our pop culture, but with any luck soon will be. The talent and respect for the genre that Mike Dougherty shows with this film should make Eli Roth go hide under a rock somewhere. I have been reading your website for the last few years and have been duped into going to see a few horror films that you have championed on the site that I didn't find all that great. With Trick 'R' Treat, you have proven yourselves in my eyes! This is a film that should be championed and should encourage other filmmakers to try and push their new ideas and creations through this tired Hollywood system. I want to thank you for the great screening and the Q&A afterward. Here's hoping to more great horror films from Mike in the future! Thanks for your time and please do whatever you can to get this film out to the audience that it deserves! - Jake
See what I mean? One response like that is strong, but 20? 30? Check this one out:
Hi Moriarty, Just dropping a quick thank you for making the TRICK 'R TREAT screening happen last night! It is one of the best times I've had a movie in a long time, so here's a review if it will help get this thing in theaters... During your introduction, you said that Halloween isn't really the same now as it was when we were kids, and you're absolutely right. Neither are the horror movies, in part I think because the audience when SCREAM reinvigorated the genre grew up, and with it the "fun" horror movies "grew up" into SAW, HOSTEL and the fodder for studio pockets we're stuck with now. I can see WHY this happens - there's a guaranteed opening weekend return for a minimal investment, but the shame is that fun, scary movies that leave people walking out of the theater smiling are the casualties. Last night, that is what I saw walking out of the screaming - an audience who had fun, were happy and smilling. Girlfriends on the arms of their boyfriends, guys just talking about how great that last creature was - I didn't see any disappointed people (and we geeks are a spoiled, bitchy lot when it comes to horror). I don't want to spoil the twists and surprises of TRICK R TREAT, but my best summary is that it has it all. Gore, tits, jokes, monsters, ghouls, ghosts and most importantly a real atmosphere of Halloween. This movie NEEDS to be seen in October - ever here in Hollywood, the sound of leaves rustling, the blackness of night in the movie, the way the Jack 'O Lanterns GLOW... It just plays like Halloween should. I like the way the movie jumped back and forth through time - it doesn't reveal anything deeper into the story, instead it works to set up misleads so that each "chapter" has little payoffs throughout the film's narrative. It was nice to see suspense built throughout for scenes yet to come, and really cool that kids are constantly threatened. A particular scene involving Little Red Riding Hood was subverted brilliantly, and I appreciated a recurring theme that kids are alone in a scary world and need to fend for themselves against adults that can't be trusted, which is very Grimm. All the actors including "names" Dylan Baker, Anna Paquin and Brian Cox brought their A game to this, and all the kids were believable too. I can see this being a hard sell for the studio - its not the kind of horror that has been marketing to the 18+ crowd. If I could target this for any audience, its definitely for high schoolers and middle schoolers, which makes the R rating tough I guess, but I'd say its fine for 13 year olds on through adults (only the brief breast shot really sticks this in the R category, sadly). This is a movie that if I saw it in 8th grade, I'd watch it every year with friends after the fact. But there's another thing that horror has shifted, and that's getting a girl scared but exhilirated, which is like a natural aphrodisiac during the month of October. If I took a date to see this movie, you KNOW she'd be scared but have fun too and you'd get to make out afterwards. I don't see anyone walking out of HOSTEL or SAW and really getting some, its just not the same. I hope WB gets their act together and puts this out - I had such a good time and as my friends and I talked about it over beers after the screening, we all agreed the biggest tragedy is we've all seen something we want to tell people to go see NOW, and there just isn't any way for them to do that. A damn shame, but hopefully next Halloween will be different. I know I'll be there again, and this time I'll bring the lady. Michael Dougherty, its taken a while but it was all worth it, and I wish you success in future projects. Thank you Moriarty for getting it together. ~That Guy in the Monster Shirt
Or this one...
Last night I was fortunate enough to see the movie Trick 'r Treat at a screening at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood, and I have to say WOW. I have done nothing for the last week but search for a Halloween movie worth watching and found nothing until last night. There's always the standby's such as Company of Wolves, Susperia, and of course Halloween. I even gave some newer movies a chance like The Descent. Nothing gave me as much joy or jumps like Trick 'r Treat. I am a 33 year old female (one of a handful of females at the screening) and it saddens me that this movie wasn't released to become what could be the best Halloween date night movie in a very long time. It had scares, laughs, shocks, twists, and nostalgia coming from everywhere, so much so, that I need and want to see it again, but can not. I hope this email helps get this movie what it deserves. A THEATER RELEASE. Thank you, Traci Asher
Or this one...
Hi Drew, I absolutely LOVED the film! Trick ‘r Treat is a delicious treat to Halloween fans! As a true, loyal fan of the film, I hope they release the film theatrical in 2009. They really would be doing the studio & the film injustice if this film goes straight to DVD. As we know, not only has this original film generated amazing buzz but the merchandise associated with the film has the fans going wild! I’ll have to wear a costume at the next screening so that I may try to win one of those adorable “Sam” dolls. If you could kindly let me know who I could also send a supportive email to assist in helping the film have the theatrical outlet it deserves (WB distribution, etc), I’d greatly appreciate it! Thank you very much! Kind regards, Annette Ashlie Slomka
Or this one...
I've spent a lot of the time since the screening trying to get into the heads of the studio execs who, as you said, are "having a hard time getting their heads around this movie." I'm having a hard time getting my head around that statement. There's nothing ambiguous about where this movie stands. It stands firmly in Halloween. Any question an exec would have to ask could, it seems, be answered with that one word: Halloween. What's the movie about? Halloween. When should we release it? Halloween. Who is this movie for? People who love Halloween. This movie is a grown-up's Nightmare Before Christmas. It should be a perennial holiday classic, watched every October by everyone who loves Halloween. Every shot of this movie is packed with Halloweenyness. The stories themselves aren't brilliant. They're about at the level of Tales From The Darkside (the good episodes of that show), but that's entirely appropriate for a movie that is a big Halloweeny homage to shows like Tales (both from the Darkside and the Crypt) and movies like Creepshow. But where the stories are somewhat pedestrian, the production design is brilliant. As I said, Every Shot. One look at this movie and you can tell that it's set at Halloween, it's about Halloween, and it's made by and for people who love that holiday. Thanks again for the screening. My expectations were far surpassed and I can't wait to own this movie on DVD and pull it out every October alongside Nightmare Before Christmas and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. (Even though Charlie Brown is an asshole.) --Eric
You see? These people have already internalized the movie, and all horror fans should get a chance to do that, to either dig the movie or not, but on a theater screen, sitting in the dark with a crowd of strangers, which is where all horror films play best.
Hey Drew, I was lucky enough to attend the screening for Trick R Treat last night and I just can’t stop thinking about it. This is one of those movies that really brought me back to my childhood and my love for Halloween. I thought everything was top notch. From the direction, to the production design, the cinematography, and the score (especially Douglas Pipes brilliant arrangement of “Trick r Treat, gimme something good to eat…”). Michael Dougherty really captured the spirit of great ‘80’s horror like Creepshow, Tales from the Crypt, Trilogy of Terror, even capturing the sense of lore from the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books I used to read ad nauseum in elementary school. See, this movie is not about jumps and gore (even though it does have a handful) it encapsulates the spirit and folklore of the holiday through character and story…especially story. The best example of this (and my favorite story line) was with Mr. Kreeg (Brian Cox) and Lil’ Sam (the poster boy of the film). That section for me captured the true sense of one of those ghost stories you heard in your friend’s basement during a Halloween sleepover, with a belly full of candy and dipping the sleepy nerd’s hand in hot water. Another highlight for me was the look and style of the School Bus Massacre flashback. From the opening shot of the tale with the bus coming down the street in between the blocks and blocks of gnarled trees to it’s final decent to the watery grave…the cinematography and framing were just lush and gorgeous. Also, something to note that a crowd favorite (which garnered applause during the final moment) was the Anna Paquin storyline, which I too thought was really well done. I can’t thank you enough for putting this thing together. I’ve been looking forward to this film since seeing the trailer on the 300 DVD. It was even better than I expected and look forward to watching this movie every Halloween…if the bastard ever gets released. I must say the Warner Bros. is really screwing the pooch by not getting this out in theatres ASAP. NO April release date, or straight to DVD, this NEEDS to come out in October in the THEATRE…I mean it’s a no brainier; I don’t know what the problem is. Anyway, thanks again, and I can’t wait o see it again in 2009 (fingers crossed) Lucius Dillon
Hello there – Just wanted to say THANK YOU for the Trick r' Treat screening last night. My friends and walked out of that theater with some pretty large smiles on our face. We did not stay for the Q & A, but everything you and the director said to preface the film, I thought was wholly accurate about the state of horror films and the general feeling of halloween today. I couldn't agree with you guys more. I've been stoked to see this film since the first trailer that came out, what.... last year? More than that maybe. It was everything I expected it would be. The question I have, is what exactly is the problem with releasing the film? I have the pleasure / displeasure of working in film marketing, and it can be pretty brutal. I imagine somewhere at some point, the studio hired a consulting firm for 80 k to write up a 10 page report on why not to release the film. Or is there simply bad blood between the studio and Singer? At any rate, this is exactly the kind of horror film that I'd like to see out there. The film hits all the right marks... it's funny, scary, violent ( but not in the gritty Saw / torture way so you don't walk out feeling like a piece of shit). And finally, boobies. Win. I'm glowing today because of the screening and telling everyone who hasn't seen the trailer yet, to see that thing stat. Thanks again, and thank the director. Good job. Looking forward to more from this guy. Best wishes Jeremy
Another! This time, though, this guy cuts right to what he sees as the heart of the theatrical release problem, and he may be right.
Hey Drew, Mucho thanks for TRICK last night. While I ended up really enjoying the film, I can tell you plain and simple why this won't get a wide release, and it's because of the violence towards kids, especially in the Dylan Baker segment. While I enjoyed this in a baser way, it definitely goes out of its way to be cruel (I feel sorry for that BAD SANTA kid to have to keep taking fat slob roles like this), and the site of a child's head on a plate isn't something you see any day in an American film (or is it necessary in my opinion). The film really hits it strides when we got the shot of the sunken school bus, and ends up becoming a beautifully shot hybrid of COMPANY OF WOLVES and CREEPSHOW. I guess