Every now and then, a movie comes along that truly becomes a cult phenomenon. And over the last few years, it’s hard to remember one that has inspired as feverish a following as “Trick R Treat,” the much-buzzed-about horror flick that finally premieres on DVD this week after nearly a three-year delay.
“Oh, it’s been longer than that, actually. I could go all the way back to 1996 if I wanted to,” laughed writer/director Michael Dougherty (“X2”) when we spoke to him Tuesday. “The film was inspired by an animated short I did in school called ‘Season’s Greetings,’ and it was an old-school, traditionally animated short…it was the first place where I featured the mascot for the film, Sam. That film became a calling card, and then in 2001 I decided to make a companion piece to Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’ film…off and on between 2001 and 2006, there were multiple drafts. Then we finally got the greenlight in 2006.”
Since then the horror anthology starring Anna Paquin, Brian Cox and Dylan Baker has been given theatrical release dates, high-profile Comic-Con slots, postponements, underground screenings and a unique buzz as the best horror flick Hollywood has made in some time. Now, you don’t need to know somebody to see the bloody flick.
“It’s getting harder and harder for horror films to get a wide release if you’re not a sequel or a remake,” Dougherty said of his film’s non-theatrical release, despite all the great buzz. “What’s funny is this has been the best path for the film. Honestly, if it had a traditional release in 2500 theaters, it would come out on a Friday and my gut says it would be gone by Monday.”
“The advantage is that, since we have been screening it around the world at film festivals since 2007, it’s almost had this unofficial theatrical release,” he reasoned. “The word of mouth has been spreading like wildfire because of Facebook and Twitter. We checked the sales rankings this morning on Amazon. It’s number one in horror, and number thirteen in all of movies and TV shows overall. And it’s competing with ‘Star Trek’! It’s outselling ‘Transformers 2’ – which just seems impossible, it’s shocking. It’s like the universe is playing this amazing prank on me.”
A prank that we can all finally participate in, now that the creepy Sam and his tales of sadistic school principals and a gruesome school bus massacre has arrived. “It’s a horror anthology that is set on Halloween night, with every story in the same small town,” Dougherty said of the new horror classic, which currently sits at a perfect 100 percent “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has him thinking sequel. “It’s a throwback to ‘Creepshow’ and ‘Tales From the Crypt,’ but unlike those films, the stories and characters in ‘Trick r Treat’ criss-cross and overlap into each other. It’s ‘Pulp Fiction’ meets ‘Halloween,’ with a sense of humor.”
Are you excited to finally see “Trick r Treat” for yourself after all these years? After you watch the DVD, post your review below and let us know if it lives up to the hype!