Movie 1: ‘Trick ‘r Treat’
OK, so Halloween’s on the way, people have been going on and on about Trick ‘r Treat, and finally we had the opportunity to sit down with it yesterday for a proper Halloween movie double-header.
Let me get this out of the way right up front: I don’t get it.
I mean I kind of get it, going for that whole “We haven’t had a decent dumb Halloween-centric flick since Halloween III: Season of the Witch” vibe. But no, I don’t get it.
I really wanted to like this one, if for no other reason than the oddly iconic “Sam,” the burlap-cheeked mascot of the flick. And hell, Brian Cox! Need I say more? Well, yes, apparently.
For those who haven’t caught this “must see,” Trick ‘r Treat has your typical EC Comics/Creepshow setup: a handful of creepy stories tied together by a larger wraparound tale. Some mean kids try to freak out a socially awkward little girl, the school principal gets creepy, the town recluse gets harassed… you’ve seen it all before. It’s slickly produced, the sound is great, it features your usual plastic-perfect stars…and the thing just doesn’t go anywhere.
The stories are dull, the whimsy is contrived, the characters annoying, and the whole production lacks any sort of heart or center. It looks like what it is: a Canadian tax shelter movie shot on a studio exec’s mad money. And before anyone says anything, there have been some really great Canadian tax shelter movies. I mean somebody please explain to me how you throw Anna Paquin and Brian Cox into a movie and come out the poorer for it? Have I really fallen so far out of step with horror fans?
Fortunately, we had a second movie to save the evening, and it came from an extremely unexpected source…
Movie 2: ‘WereWolf’ aka ‘Arizona Werewolf’
Feeling like mugs, we slipped Trick ‘r Treat back into its Netflix envelope and fired up Mystery Science Theater 3000‘s little contribution to our Halloween celebration, a spellbindingly bad little movie called Werewolf.
Within the first five minutes, the evening was saved. While I don’t think we would’ve braved this 1996 travesty without the protective barrier of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew, this tale of a hapless group of researchers unearthing the infectious remains of a werewolf during an archealogical dig was still more entertaining than what we’d just endured. The acting was dodgy, the dialogue atrocious, the actors incapable of deciding on their accents, but it was funnier than the comedic moments in Trick ‘r Treat, and the smiles of the evening were still there the next morning.
The mind boggles at what Mike Nelson and the MST3K crew could’ve produced with Trick ‘r Treat‘s $12 million budget.