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31 Days of Horror Day 4: "Go and Watch Charlie Brown!"

Title of Movie: Trick 'r Treat

Actors:Anna Paquin, Dylan Baker, Brian Cox, Leslie Bibb, Rochelle Aytes,Tahmoh Penikett, Moneca Delain

Quotable Line: "Go Watch Charlie Brown!"
"Charlie Brown's an asshole!"

Director: Michael Dougherty

Released:2009 but it should have been in 2007

The Skinny: The film is an anthology of four Halloween-related scary stories. One thing that ties the stories together is the presence of Sam, a mysterious pint-sized trick-or-treater with a burlap pumpkin mask, who makes an appearance in all the stories, as a 'friendly-reminder' to those who break the Halloween traditions.

The Good: This whole movie is probably the best thing to watch on Halloween. I have seen it twice now and I will see it at least another four times before the month is over. The stories all interconnect quite nicely and you see how everything ties up quite well after all is said and done. The characters are all wonderful and each one is significantly screwed in the head. So much so that my wife actually turned to me during the proceedings and asked me if each and every one of these people was messed up somehow.

 I will refrain from spoilers because to reveal more would be spoiling the wicked little nuances that are throughout.  Laurie is looking for her first, Principal Wilkins just wants to give his son a good Halloween before going on a date, and Macy, Schrader, Sara and Chip just want to go pay their respects to some kids who died on Halloween, and Mr. Kreeg just wants to have a quiet evening. And then there's Sam. He's a cute little guy wearing orange footie pajamas and a burlap sack for his costume. I love Sam. I will be buying my Sam action figure as soon as I have some cash rounded up for him. He's my new favorite horror icon and he is wonderful. 

I liken this movie to going through an old haunted house attraction. There are many twists and turns, many little moments that make you jump, moments that make your skin crawl, and moments that make you question if you just saw what you saw. And when you realize that you just saw what you saw, you scream out "HOLY CRAP!" and love the movie all the more for making you scream and laugh all at the same time. This is essential Halloween viewing. There are so many Halloween traditions so well rooted in the script that you realize that these are all traditions that we all carry out sometimes not even aware that we are doing so. 

The film is beautifully shot and it just looks beautiful and moody and creepy all around. Kudos to the art department for this movie as well as the very clever use of comic book artwork. This is very much in the same tradition of Creepshow and Tales From the Crypt. Keep in however that this is definitely not for kids, unless your kids are into this kind of thing. But this movie has blood, and some nudity. You have been warned.

The Bad: Warner Bros., I have one question, WHY WAS THIS NOT AN OCTOBER RELEASE IN THEATERS?!? This movie is WAY better than the last five Saw films, and way better than anything that is out now that is horror related.  This deserved a theatrical release. Shame on Warner Bros. for sitting on this movie for so long without a theatrical release and then dumping it in on DVD.

My final verdict: 5 out of 5 Jack O' Lantern Lollipops. This is not the proverbial rock that Charlie Brown got when he went trick or treating. This is the Great Pumpkin of Halloween movies.


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