One of the first films I covered “for real” in my professional career was Michael Dougherty’s Trick ’r Treat, a film I had the distinct pleasure of being able to see back in 2008 when I came out to cover Screamfest for the very first time that year. When Dougherty’s brilliant celebration of Halloween traditions seemed to come and go very unceremoniously with its home media release in 2009, I was a bit heartbroken because while I love that there are movies that us genre fans can sort of claim as “our own,” it just felt like Trick ’r Treat was so worthy of love by fans in and outside of the genre, and most people outside of the online horror circles didn’t even know it had ever come out.
So, with the passing of a decade now, nothing has made me happier than to see Trick ’r Treat being embraced and getting celebrated as truly one of the greatest Halloween season movies ever. Little Sam has become a bona fide icon of modern horror, Dougherty’s feature-length directorial debut has even made it into AMC’s FearFest lineup for the first time ever this year, and I know so many people who don’t “really like horror movies,” but have made Trick ’r Treat an annual tradition now. All of this just goes to prove that if a great film is somehow mishandled upon its initial release, time and audiences will catch up with it eventually. And a perfect way to do so these days is with Scream Factory’s incredible Collector’s Edition Blu-ray for Trick ’r Treat, which was released earlier this October.
If you’re reading this site, I’m sure you are pretty familiar with the set-up of Trick ’r Treat. Dougherty weaves together four tales of terror all set on All Hallows’ Eve, while the pint-sized Halloween nymph named Sam makes sure everyone is following the rules of the October 31st holiday (and if they aren’t, look out). Featuring performances from the likes of Brian Cox, Anna Paquin (the X2 connection with the cast never really dawned on me until last year), Dylan Baker, Leslie Bibb, and Brett Kelly (the kid from Bad Santa), Trick ’r Treat is one of those rare films that goes the anthological route storytelling-wise, but doesn’t reveal its intentions as such until you’re about halfway through the film and realize how cleverly conceived and well-executed Dougherty’s debut truly is. And, truth be told, while we’ve had some great films of the same ilk in the last decade, none have come close to replicating the true magic and cohesion on display in Trick ’r Treat, further proving just how special this film is, and how deserving it is of being revered as a Halloween classic.
Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray for the film is easily one of their best releases for all of 2018 (and they’ve been killing it all year long, so that’s definitely saying something), and is a vast improvement over the other Trick ’r Treat Blu-ray that came out back in 2009. The new scan of the film is gorgeous, as some of the (appropriately) dimly lit scenes are revelatory here. With the previous Blu, the scenes with Rhonda (Samm Todd) and her tormentors at the site of the bus crash were always frustrating to watch because so much of it was muddled, but here, the visuals are crisp, with the blacks fully crushed, so much so that it’s a lot easier now to pick up all the details of the school bus kids post-accident in a way I wasn’t able to before.
There are a ton of amazing featurettes included on the Collector’s Edition Blu-ray for Trick ’r Treat, but the thing that stands out to me the most about it is the fact that this release feels like the digitized version of the book Trick ’r Treat: Tales of Murder, Mystery and Mischief that came out in 2008 (and goes for beaucoup bucks these days—wow!), which was this incredible deep dive into all the world-building that Dougherty does in the movie, but also featured lots of interview tidbits from the (at the time) up-and-coming director about creating the movie, as well as tons of materials on all the creative aspects of Trick ’r Treat (plus, all the inserts were absolutely killer to boot). Similar to that book, the Collector’s Edition leaves no stone left unturned in terms of diving into Dougherty’s processes in making Trick ’r Treat, as so many of the key components of the film are explored here, including nailing the perfect autumnal aesthetic and the movie’s timeless score.
That being said, as someone who really adores this film, I would have loved to see some of the cast members involved in the featurettes (or even Mark Freeborn, the production designer), but seeing Mike’s passion for Trick ’r Treat celebrated in such grand fashion (and so thoroughly as well) is truly enough for me, and really, even mentioning that is basically just me splitting hairs at this point. For longtime fans of Trick ’r Treat (or even newcomers to the film, which there might still be a few of out there), it doesn’t get much better than Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition presentation of this true holiday classic, and they should be lauded for showing the film the love that it so deserved back in 2008. It’s absolutely worth every single penny.
Movie Score: 5/5, Disc Score: 4.5/5