My Halloween movie of choice this year was the Direct-to-DVD comedy-horror Trick ‘r Treat (2008), written and directed by Michael Dougherty. The film is an anthology of scary seasonal stories, tied together in various tricksy ways, and told in a mildly annoying non-linear fashion. Most of the “stories” are really little more than twist-in-the-tail skits, featuring very shallow and sketchy characters getting gored for transgressions both minor and major. It’s a decent time-passer, with some genuinely creepy and funny moments, if rather inconsequential overall. I’ll assume that the lifts from John Carpenter’s seminal Halloween (1978) were intended as homage, and forgive them accordingly… but less forgivable is Dougherty’s claim that he created the movie’s recurring omen-of-doom (and occasional killer) ‘Sam’, to fill a supposed gap in the market for a seasonal icon/spokesmodel, to rival Santa and the Easter Bunny. We already have a Pumpkin King in the form of Jack Skellington, thank you very much… and he looks way cuter on a lunchbox than some freaky kid in filthy pyjamas and a suspiciously spherical burlap-sack hood ever could!
Still, thanks to Dougherty (and producer Bryan Singer), the flick does boast a pretty impressive cast list, including Dylan “Don’t Leave Your Kids With This Man” Baker, Brian “Crusty Old Men Incorporated” Cox and Anna “Actually, Brunette Is My Natural Hair Colour” Paquin. I only mention her hair, because I’m halfway through the second season of True Blood right now, and desperate to find out what happens next week… so it’s rather frustrating to see her on-screen, being someone other than ‘Sookie’. Get back to Bon Temps, dammit! That aside, all three thesps gamely bring their talent and presence to bear, and help to make the ride far more enjoyable than it might have been with a less experienced cast. I mean, this sort of spookshow fare is pretty much Paquin’s bread-and-butter these days, bless her. Seriously though, she needs to get back to Bon Temps, tout de suite! Her friends are in danger!!!
A considerably less famous (but more than welcome) face was hidden under a screaming mask when it first appeared on screen… but thankfully the disguise was soon lifted to reveal a smiley Britt McKillip, beneath. With inevitable irony, her character’s “angelic” costume turns out to be a cunning bluff, as her sinister agenda seeps out over the course of the evening… and McKillip gives a very winning performance as the pretty dictator of a small band of misguided chill-seekers… even if some of her funniest lines did end up relegated to the “deleted scenes” section. The last time I saw McKillip was in Dead Like Me (2003-2004), as ‘Reggie Lass’, the toilet-seat obsessed younger sister of series protagonist ‘Georgia Lass’. Back then, she was playing quite a gawky geek, so it’s interesting to see how she’s blossomed into a “regulation hottie” in the meantime… despite this metamorphosis, the majority of her credits still seem to be for voice-over work on the animated output of high-profile kiddy brands like Barbie, Bratz, Trollz and My Little Pony. Apparently, she also plays country songs with her older sister Carly, under the band name of “One More Girl”. Their debut album, Big Sky, was released a year ago in the fabled land of Canadia… but is only available in the UK as an “import” for which Amazon are asking 40 (forty) English pounds! She’s cute an’ all, but I don’t like country music that much.
While we’re on a musical tip though, I should point out that the title of this post refers to an awesome spooky-surf song by Rob Zombie and The Ghastly Ones, which everyone should have on their playlist at this time of year… if only to drown out the sound of shapeshifters getting sexy in the woods… eep!