Halloween Review: Trick or Treats (1982)
In the early 1980’s the “slasher movie” saw a boom as Halloween and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre proved that with enough inventiveness you could make a successful film even on a low budget. Every prominent location and holiday soon had its own blade-wielding mad man in cinema. In 1982, moviemaking journeyman Gary Graver, without an ounce of originality, decided he was up to the task of making a slasher flick hunting a babysitter on Halloween night. As you could imagine, Graver’s attempt to ride the coattails of a far superior movie ends in disaster.
It is Halloween night and “teenage babysitter” has been hired to babysit a mischievous prankster child named Christopher. This means her night will be spent dealing with the child’s antics while still handing out candy to trick r’ treaters. What she does not know is that years ago, Christopher’s mother had her husband committed to an insane asylum so she could get together with a new man. And on this Halloween night, he has escaped and is on his way home for some bloody vengeance….supposedly anyway. Eventually he makes it back to his old home and his righteous cause of getting payback on his ex-wife abruptly changes to becoming a psychotic murderer. In a better movie this would mean Linda has to protect Christopher from a mad man, but in this movie who really cares?
It is obvious that actress Jackelyn Giroux who plays Linda is on the north side of thirty. So immediately hoping the audience buys her as the young and naïve babysitter type character is not going to happen. The fact that she spends the entire first half of the movie woefully overreacting to Christopher’s pranks also does the character no favors in endearing her to the audiences. That being said, while he is obnoxious Christopher is at least entertaining occasionally and gets in a few good one-liners.
Those hoping for any entertainment value outside of the occasional zinger from Christopher are woefully out of luck with Trick or Treats. I would go so far as to say for three quarters of the movie nothing happens. I honestly got up from my couch, turned on my Keurig and made a cup of coffee. I then put a little bit of cream, sugar, and Baileys in said coffee and returned to the couch and I had not missed anything of consequence. The empty void of anything worth watching is made all the worse that director Gary Graver could not be bothered to add anything to the proceedings. There is no memorable score, no drama, no tension, no interesting cinematography, hell there are not even any kills which is the saving grace of such a film. Cult movie favorites David Carradine and Paul Bartel are featuring prominently in the opening credits solely just to show up for brief and unexciting moments to collect paychecks.
Screenwriter and author C. Robert Cargill once said that the only thing you should never don with a horror movie is be boring. Sadly Trick or Treats never got this message as I now know a new meaning to the phrase “as exciting as watching paint dry”. There have been plenty of slasher movies made on the cheap which if nothing else accomplished the goal of having stuff happen which could keep the viewer’s attention. Rest assured this is no such movie as it’s tiny budget was spent on…..well I am not sure really. When looking for something to watch this Halloween season you would be safe in skipping Trick of Treats all together.