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Trick 'r Treat

Promotional poster
Directed by Michael Dougherty
Produced by Bryan Singer
Written by Michael Dougherty
Starring Anna Paquin
Dylan Baker
Brian Cox
Leslie Bibb
Rochelle Aytes
Tahmoh Penikett
Jean-Luc Bilodeau
Quinn Lord
Music by Douglas Pipes
Cinematography Glen MacPherson
Editing by Robert Ivison
Studio Legendary Pictures
Bad Hat Harry Productions
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) October 6, 2009
Running time 82 minutes
Country Canada
United States
Language English
Budget US$12 million

Trick 'r Treat is a 2008 horror film. It was written and directed by Michael Dougherty and based on his short film Season's Greetings. Originally slated for an October 5, 2007 release, it was announced in September 2007 that the film had been pushed back. Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures released the film direct to DVD on October 6, 2009 in the US & Canada, October 26 in the UK and October 28 in Australia. However, it first appeared on 7th October 2008 in Spain, during the SITGES International Film Festival of Catalonia (Sitges Film Festival).



The film is an anthology of four Halloween-related scary stories. One thing that ties the stories together is the presence of Sam, a mysterious pint-sized trick-or-treater wearing shabby orange pajamas with a burlap sack over his head, who makes an appearance in all the stories as a 'friendly-reminder' to those who break the Halloween traditions.[1]


Emma and Henry have set up numerous ghost-scarecrows for Halloween decorations. Emma tries to blow out a jack-o'-lantern by their fence, but Henry tells her not to because it's against tradition; she blows out the jack-o'-lantern anyway. While Henry is inside waiting for Emma to take down the decorations outside, she is murdered with a pumpkin sucker by an unknown assailant hiding under one of the ghost-scarecrows. Later, Henry goes outside and finds Emma's severed head hung up on one of the ghost-scarecrows.

The Principal

Mr. Wilkins, the town principal, poisons Charlie, a boy caught stealing candy from Wilkins' porch. Wilkins buries Charlie in his backyard, along with another body, and has a run-in with his neighbor Mr. Kreeg and his dog. Later, Wilkins helps his son Billy carve a "jack-o'-lantern" in their basement, which is revealed to be Charlie's severed head.

The School Bus Massacre Revisited

Five teenagers, Macy, Schrader, Sara, Chip and Rhonda, journey to the local rock quarry where Macy tells them the local legend of "The Halloween School Bus Massacre". Thirty years ago, a school bus containing eight children, all mentally challenged and disturbed to the point of needing to be chained to their chairs, was driven into the quarry and crashed into the lake at the bottom. Their parents, no longer able to stand the strain and humiliation of caring for them, paid the bus driver to take them to the rock quarry to get rid of them. As the driver went around checking each child's restraints, one managed to get free and tried to drive the bus, only to have it plunge into the quarry lake below. The driver survived but was never heard from again, and the bus was never recovered. As the group investigates the quarry, a prank meant for Rhonda instead turns deadly when the school bus children return from the grave and kill all but Rhonda, who gets revenge against the group by escaping up the quarry's lone elevator.

Surprise Party

Laurie, a self-conscious 22-year-old "virgin", goes into the woods after deciding to separate from her group. There, she is attacked by a vampire, while her sister and her friends party nearby with men they picked up along the way. The vampire's body suddenly drops from a tree into the party and Laurie appears. The "vampire" is revealed to be Wilkins in disguise wearing fake teeth. The girls at the party, along with Laurie, suddenly transform into werewolves and devour their dates along with Wilkins.

Meet Sam

Kreeg, a cantankerous, Halloween-hating, old man lives alone with his dog, Spite. While in his house, Kreeg is attacked by a small boy, Sam. During the struggle, Kreeg rips off the sack over Sam's head to reveal his head to be a cross between a jack-o-lantern and a skull. Kreeg gains the upper hand when he manages to fire his shotgun at Sam, seemingly killing him. As Kreeg dials 911, Sam attacks him again, stabbing him with a pumpkin sucker which lodges in a candy bar sitting on Kreeg's chest. Sam proceeds to eat the candy bar and then leaves the house. Meanwhile, pictures burning in a nearby fireplace are not all burnt and a class photo of the children from the bus accident and the bus driver, Kreeg himself, sit next to the flames.


Bandaged and bruised from his encounter with Sam, Kreeg answers his door to give candy to some children. While on his porch he sees Sam go to Emma and Henry's house just as she is blowing out the jack-o'-lantern. Having escaped, Rhonda walks across the street and is almost hit by the laughing, human-form werewolf girls in their car. Young Billy is sitting on his porch handing out candy wearing a "Principal Wilkins" costume. Kreeg then walks back inside when the bell rings again. He opens the door to find the kids from the bus massacre standing there with their bags outstretched. The ending is rendered as comic-book pages showing the bus driver's fate at the hands of the zombie children.



The first public screening took place at Harry Knowles' Butt-Numb-A-Thon film festival in Austin, Texas, on December 9, 2007. Subsequent screenings included the 2008 Los Angeles Screamfest on October 10, 2008, a free screening in New York sponsored by Fangoria Magazine on October 13, 2008, and another free screening in Los Angeles co-sponsored by Ain't It Cool News and Legendary Pictures on October 23, 2008. The film was also screened at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con. The film was also screened during the Montreal Fantasia Festival on July 29 and 30, 2009 as well as at the film festival Terror In The Aisles 2 in Chicago, IL on August 15, 2009.[2] It was also screened at the After Dark film festival in Toronto on August 20, 2009, at The Bloor. The movie was screened at the first annual Long Beach Comic Con in southern California on October 3, 2009. Trick 'r Treat will also be screened at the upcoming Silver Scream Film Festival at the University of Southern Indiana, October 30, 2009.

It is currently available for purchase via Virgin Media's FilmFlex.[3]

Critical reception

Based on 17 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an overall approval rating from critics of 88%, with an average score of 7.7/10.[4]

Despite only a handful of public screenings, the film has been reviewed extensively by online journalists and bloggers, especially in the genre/horror communities, and reviews are nearly unanimously positive. Dread Central gave it five out of five stars and stated "Trick 'r Treat ranks alongside John Carpenter's Halloween as traditional October viewing and I can't imagine a single horror fan that won't fall head over heels in love with it."[5] The film earned a 10 out of 10 from Ryan Rotten of[6] It also earned an 8 out of 10 from[7] IGN attended a screening of the film and concluded, "This well-crafted Halloween horror tribute is a scary blast.", rating it a 8/10 overall.[8] Bloody Disgusting ranked the film ninth in their list of the 'Top 20 Horror Films of the Decade', with the article saying "[It's] so good that its lack of a theatrical release borders on the criminal."[9] The Movie Spot gave the film a very positive rating, 5 out of 5.[10]


  • 2008 - Audience Choice Award, Los Angeles Screamfest
  • 2009 - Silver Audience Award, Toronto After Dark Film Festival


  • National Entertainment Collectibles Association (aka NECA) has licensed numerous categories for the film. Recently a 5 1/2" scale figure of Sam has been released as part of NECA's "Cult Classics" line of movie figures. The figure includes a stand, pumpkins, "candybar," lollipop, sack, and interchangeable, uncovered head.[11]
  • Palace Press and Insight Editions published a 108-page coffee table book entitled Trick 'r Treat: Tales of Mayhem, Mystery & Mischief. It documents the making of the film, and includes storyboards, concept art, cast and crew biographies, and behind-the-scenes photographs.

Comic adaptation

DC Comics partner Wildstorm Comics had planned to release a four-issue adaptation of Trick 'r Treat written by Marc Andreyko and illustrated by Fiona Staples, with covers by Michael Dougherty, Breehn Burns and Ragnar.[12] The series was originally going to be released weekly in October 2007, ending on Halloween, but the series was pushed back due to the film's backlisting. The four comics were instead released as a graphic novel adaptation in October of 2009.[13]


Michael Dougherty announced on October 8, 2009 that he is planning a sequel.[14]


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Trick 'r Treat is a 2009 anthology horror film about four stories that revolve around the spirit of Halloween. All four stories take place on the same Halloween night, and each story is connected to the other in some way. Each story also has the eerie presence of "Sam," a pint-sized trick-or-treater who punishes those who don't follow the traditions of Halloween.

Written and directed by Michael Dougherty.
Poison, drowning, claw, or knife - so many ways to take a life. (taglines)


Principal Steven Wilkins

  • Here. Help yourself. It's for the pumpkin, not you. Promise. All of mine were dull. Ahh, smashin' jack-o'-lanterns? Stealin' candy? It's OK. Believe it or not, I was just like you when I was a kid. 'Til my dad set me straight, that is. See, my dad taught me tonight is about respecting the dead because this is the one night that the dead and all sorts of other things roam free... and pay us a visit. Sorry. All these traditions... jack-o'-lanterns, putting on costumes, handing out treats... they were started to protect us, but nowadays... no one really cares.
  • I didn't do such a good job, did I? What do you think? Hey. You OK? You need a root beer? [chuckles] Oh, wait. That's right. There's another tradition, a very important one... always check your candy.
  • [mocking his son] "Daddy, I wanna carve a pumpkin." "Daddy, I wanna go to the festival." "Daddy, I wish mommy was still alive."
  • Screw you.

Mr. Kreeg

  • Spite. Spite! Get your ass in here! Are you finished crappin' or what? Who the hell is that?! I got an NRA membership in my pocket - and a shotgun over the fireplace! So, get out of here before I--!
  • What in God's name are you doin' down there, Wilkins? Hidin' bodies?
  • Screw you!
  • You gotta be fuckin' kidding me.


  • Female Trick-or-Treater: [after been given candy from Mr. Kreeg] Thanks, Mr. Kreeg! Great mummy costume!
  • School Bus Massacre Child: Wrong way... wrong way...


Billy Wilkins: [Steven Wilkins places his hand on his son's head] Let's carve a scary face this time.
Steven Wilkins: [raises a butcher knife above his head] A scary face it is. [Wilkins stabs down with the knife and grunts, then raises the bloodied knife; whispers] Wrap it around.
Billy Wilkins: [smiles] But don't forget to help me with the eyes.
[the camera pans out to reveal Charlie's severed head on a wooden turntable]:

Chip: You must really like Halloween.
Rhonda: You mean Samhain?
Chip: What?
Rhonda: Samhain, also known as All Hallows' Eve, also known as Halloween. Pre-dating Christianity, the Celtic holiday was celebrated on the one night between autumn and winter when the barrier between the living and the dead was thinnest, and often involved rituals that included human sacrifice. [pauses awkwardly] I like your eye patch.
Chip: Oh...


  • Poison, drowning, claw, or knife - so many ways to take a life.


External links

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