How did I go eleven years without watching this? I should hang my head in shame. I love portmanteau movies and stuff that gets really weird, so I have no real reason why I skipped this. Here’s hoping everyone can find it in their heart to forgive me.
Inspired by Season’s Greetings, an animated short created by Trick ‘r Treat writer and director Michael Dougherty, this film tells the story of the night of Halloween in Warren Valley, Ohio. It’s nonlinear the way it all plays out (think Pulp Fiction) and several of the stories cross over. They all have one thing in common — Sam, a little trick or treater dressed in pajamas and a burlap sack for a mask. If anyone goes against the rules of the holiday, he’s there to ensure they pay for it.
I love the look of Sam. For the first part of the movie, I was sure he was just a little trick or treater who was left behind by his friends and was witnessing everything going on. Once you realize what he’s doing, you start rooting for the little guy.
From a couple who take down their decorations too soon to an obese boy who can’t stop smashing pumpkins, everyone gets their reward. There’s also the school principal and potential serial killer Steven Wilkins, the elderly recluse Mr. Kreeg (the always great Brian Cox), a gang of kids trying to frighten Rhonda with the Halloween School Bus Massacre urban legend and a group of four girls out to party (including Anna Paquin as a shy virgin). Each of their tales will all be intertwined, complete with murder, gore, werewolves, zombies and finally, Sam’s secret face.
This feels like the great lost 1980’s horror movie and I loved every single minute of it. They’ve been teasing a sequel for a few years and now I can’t wait for everyone to get their act together. Writer/director Michael Dougherty was also behind the film Krampus, which I could not enjoy no matter how hard I tried, and is the writer/director behind next year’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Hopefully, his next project is the follow up for Sam!
Shout! Factory has just released an anniversary version of this, complete with a new cover, a 2K scan of the film, new interviews with Michael Dougherty, deleted and alternate scenes and Season’s Greetings and a story from the Trick ‘r Treat comic book!