Trick or Treats (1982)

A lot of movies got made after Halloween that sought to get some of its success. This is one of them, but according to friend of the site Bill Van Ryn of Groovy Doom, it’s also a remake of 1971’s Fright.

Directed by Gary Graver, whose IMDB page is veritably packed with films like Sorceress, Sorceress II: The TemptressMortuary and Femalien II, this film concerns a babysitter, who is stuck watching a kid on Halloween while her boyfriend is in a play. Christopher, the babysittee, is a total asshole. I mean that — in a world of annoying horror movie children, he may be the most horrible ever. He keeps acting like he’s cut himself or killed himself and she keeps finding him, cries and then he yells “trick or treat” and runs away.

Meanwhile, the kid’s dad, Malcolm (Peter Jason from They Live, In the Mouths of Madness and Prince of Darkness) was put into a mental asylum by the mother (Carrie Snodgrass, who allowed the production to use her home) years ago. He’s broken out and is coming home to kill her. Except she’s out with her new husband, Richard (David Carradine!) and only checking in via phone calls.

Speaking of phone calls, Malcolm keeps calling home with threats.

Oh yeah. Steve Railsback is the boyfriend. Paul Bartel shows up as a bum and literally chews up the entire scene that he is in. There’s a movie within a movie that the babysitter’s friend is editing. And Orson Welles is credited as the magic consultant.

There is not a single likable person in this film. I wanted the kid to die literally from the minute he appeared on screen. The killer isn’t particularly fearsome. And the tagline “…when Halloween night stopped being fun!” doesn’t promise much.

But I still find stuff to love in it, like the interstitial answering of the trick or treat door, hoping that something big is going to happen. And the movie within a movie’s speech about transcendental meditation made me laugh.

PS – Peter Jason played Father in Meat Loaf: Bat Out of Hell II – Picture Show and there are times within this film that I thought that he really was Meat Loaf!

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