Directed by Gary Graver [Other horror films: The Attic (1980), Moon in Scorpio (1987), Evil Spirits (1990)]
I didn’t much care for this one the first time I saw it, primarily because I thought things were happening way, way too slowly. That hasn’t changed with a revisit, and I have to admit that, despite having potential (I mean, it’s a slasher based around Halloween from the early 80’s, how could it go wrong?), this is an entirely lackluster movie.
So how slow is the film? From my viewpoint, we don’t really see any actual dangerous horror situations until about an hour and ten minutes in. Keep in mind that the film overall is just an hour and a half, so we really only get about twenty minutes of horror, and none of it is really worth all that much, including the ending, which was just ridiculous and included only for what I guess would be shock value.
Before that, we get to watch a babysitter become frustrated with the boy she’s babysitting. And – that’s it. Well, we do get to see the deranged Malcolm, played by Peter Jason, break out of a psychiatric hospital, but he was played far too goofy to possess any type of threatening aura. He also dresses up as a woman for half the film, and yet apparently no one, from cops to homeless people, can tell that he’s a man. Certainly it’s possible that, if done well, these more comedic moments might contrast nicely with the chaos that the babysitter is facing, but she’s not facing anything so exciting, just a dick who likes playing pranks.
I can’t lie and say that the kid, played by Chris Graver (who is the son of the director), didn’t annoy me, because he most certainly did throughout the film, but even if the kid had been marginally more likable, Trick or Treats still wouldn’t have been a good movie. Hell, even if the ending was foreshadowed in some way, it still would have felt as dry as it did. Sure, Jacqueline Giroux did okay, and it was sort of nice seeing David Carradine for a few scenes, but none of it amounts to much when most of the story is just filler.
Trick or Treats isn’t a movie without any enjoyment to be had, but it’s far and few between. I didn’t care for this film when I first saw it, and I really don’t think there’s a huge reason to go out of your way to see this one. You might have an okay time with it, but more likely than not, you’ll just wish you watched They Don’t Cut the Grass Anymore again.
This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Trick or Treats.