Originally scheduled to be released in 2007, Trick 'r Treat was finally released this week on DVD and Blu-Ray.

I promised 31 horror movie reviews as part of Pauloween Horror Nights – here’s #4!

So after many years bouncing around in the WB Vault, Trick ‘r Treat finally came out this week (look at the date on the calendar) and, sadly, it was a straight to DVD premiere. Still, better to have this film released on DVD than not at all. Rather than getting into all of the crazy details surrounding the mystery of this film’s delay, let’s jump into the important part, shall we?  Is Trick ‘r Treat worth the hype and the wait?

While I won’t go on record saying this is the best horror film of all time, or even the best Halloween-based horror film of all time (can you really beat Carpenter’s Halloween?), I will say that Trick ‘r Treat is a great film, and captures the spirit of the holiday better than any other film I’ve ever seen.

Trick ‘r Treat is packed with jack-o-lanterns, orange leaves, cool costumes, and creepiness.  It perfectly puts you in the mood for the Pauloween season.  I can see this becoming a yearly ritual, much like the Awesome Household’s yearly viewing of Nightmare Before Christmas.

Trick ‘r Treat is an anthology film but, unlike Creepshow, these stories aren’t necessarily told separately.  We pop in and out of tales, and they are mostly told out of order.  They do have some connections (mostly superficial), but all make for great spooky stories on their own.  Trick ‘r Treat is the fun type of horror film we haven’t gotten in a while.  Sure, it’s got some gore (very little), but it feels like an R-rated version of the films we loved as kids – Gremlins, Goonies, The Monster Squad.  Films that didn’t wrap themselves in torture and discomfort, but rather told horror stories the way they should be told – fun and scary!

That’s not to say the film is flawless – much like all first-time directors, while Dougherty sure does make a pretty film, there are some slight pacing issues around the middle.  Still, there isn’t any negative large enough that this film didn’t deserve a theatrical release bigger than what it got (touring a festival circuit).  My only thinking is that there isn’t a big name starring in the film, and the cost of advertising would just be too high for so little return.  Really, nowadays, most films make just as much (if not more) on home sales than in theaters.  Still, with Anna Paquin riding high on True Blood popularity, you’d think that it would be worth releasing nationwide.  Oh well.

Also on the Blu-Ray is a short documentary on the history of Halloween traditions that, while it sounds cool, doesn’t really add much to the experience.  It’s more of a behind the scenes of the movie than anything else.  A couple of pretty interesting additional scenes, and the original animated short that inspired the movie are also included.  Otherwise, light on bonus features.

Overall, Trick ‘r Treat is a must for anyone who loves Halloween more than Christmas.  Of course, if that’s how you feel, you probably already know about this film, and have been eagerly awaiting it’s release.  Those looking for a fun horror flick to celebrate the season should definitely check it out!

On a quick side note, I highly recommend picking up Trick ‘r Treat: Tales of Mayhem, Mystery, and Mischief, the companion book that was released a year ago.  Of course, I also recommend reading it after seeing the movie, as it pretty much ruins the entire thing.  Still, it’s a great companion piece and totally worth reading for fans of the movie!

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