I really, really loved Trick or Treat. I've been hearing about this movie for years through the interwebs. Like Midnight Meat Train there was a whole bunch of drama around its distribution and it's been sitting on a shelf for a long time. It's chillingly effective on the small screen and I really wish it had a chance to shine in theaters. Still, it's too good not to develop a following.
Trick or Treat is a Tales from the Crypt-style anthology film. All the tales take place over the course of a small town Halloween night. The tales are linked by "Sam", a creepy little boy in a burlap-sack mask who threads through the stories, sometimes as an observer and sometimes as a participant. As an embodiment of the nastiness at the heart of the holiday and he could easily become another horror icon.
The stories run the gamut from psychos to supernatural menaces, from deadly vampires to revenge from beyond the grave. The stories all employ familiar EC-style tropes but all the stories have little twists and turns that caught me by surprise. I didn't predict the ending to Anna Paquin's tale, which I'd originally written off as uninspiring and cliche. I did figure out the nasty little secret Brian Cox's curmudgeonly old Scrooge was toting around, but that didn't stop me from getting a big gleeful kick out of it.
It's not perfect. During one scene in the movie Sam appears in a traditional slasher role. It turned the character from a creepy watcher to an almost laughable Chucky-esque stalker. In addition, Sam gets unmasked during the fight. The face underneath the mask is decidedly unimpressive and laughable.
That's pretty much all I got for the negatives. There's too much stuff to like in this movie. I'm giving this my full and hearty recommendation, as opposed to my lukewarm meh-it's-mediocre-but-it's-horror-and-I-have-no-ability-to-be-discerning recommendation. Have fun with this one.