Sunday, August 16, 2009


Nearly 3 years ago, internet-inclined movie-goers most likely came across the news of a horror movie in production based on the holiday of Halloween. The description was as classic as it could get. About a year later, a trailer for the movie was released with the '300' dvd. People's jaws dropped and the hype built up for 'Trick R Treat'. 

'Trick R Treat' is an original horror movie based off a short cartoon 'Season's Greetings' by Michael Dougherty. Due to his strong passion for his cartoon in which he was able to get wider recognition for, Dougherty decided to write, produce, and direct a feature length film based off the cartoon combining 4 tales of terror that intertwine. Warner Brothers was the primary distributor that picked up 'Trick R Treat' for a wide release in October 2007, but incidentally, they dropped it.

Michael Dougherty, at the midwest premiere of the movie, told the audience in a Q&A afterwards that distributors are afraid of originality and did not see hope in this movie as a success. Yet another reason this blog exists, the havoc in Hollywood continues. The movie was pushed back a few months to a possible spring release in hopes that someone would pick it up. Nobody did. So it was pushed back another year, October 2008, we are anxiously awaiting 'Trick R Treat' after about a year of obsessing over it. 'Trick R Treat' was hopeless and nobody would distribute it. No one knew when they would get to see this movie and the fear of a straight to dvd release was instilled.

Almost another year passed, summer 2009 hit and the press released news on how 'Trick R Treat' was being released on dvd in October 2009, 2 years after it should have debuted in theaters. Movie-goers love nothing better than a 35mm flat projection of a movie, but DVD would have to do in order to see this thing. The movie was scheduled for a international theater run to screen it at festivals around the world before its dvd release.

Having the luxury of living in Chicago, I came across a checkout counter flyer at a small, used dvd shop in lakeview. The flyer advertised for 'Terror in the Aisles 2' which was going to be at the Portage Theater in Portage Park in Northwest Chicago. This is the theater in which the interior shot of the Biograph scene in 'Public Enemies' was filmed. I remember this vividly because I was an extra for that scene and the exterior shot in 'Public Enemies' and after 18 hours at the Portage, it is branded in my mind. So what's another 7 hours if I Get to watch 3 movies for 12 bux. 

The movies to my surprise were 'The Evil Dead', 'My Bloody Valentine', and low and behold a rare screening of 'Trick R Treat' in which was the midwest premiere. And to top off the cake, Tom Sullivan, the SFX man behind 'The Evil Dead' was there for Q&A and autographs. Joining him were George Mihalka, the director of 'My Bloody Valentine' in 1981. The main event, 'Trick R Treat' was honored to have Michael Dougherty as the guest speaker and signer.

Now for what you've been waiting for, another positive review for 'Trick R Treat'.

All my life, my favorite holiday has been Halloween. Christmas is a given favorite for anybody because what is wrong with free gifts and lots of food and celebrating with family. Well to me, dressing up was a huge thing year round, I would create a character and story due to that little filmmaker in me, and have at it. I would start plans for next Halloween on Halloween. So when my love for movies, and more so horror movies comes into play, there is nothing out there based on the holiday of Halloween itself. 'Halloween' by John Carpenter is about a killer on Halloween. So all I had to watch were cartoon episodes of tv shows based on Halloween once a year, or just one of my favorites, 'Halloween'. 

Trick 'r Treat 4

'Trick R Treat' establishes the fear and fun we all had during Halloween as kids. Everyone had that neighbor they thought was a creeper or the image of a creature looking at you over the foot of your bed. Michael Dougherty made this movie with the inspiration of such horror movies as 'Poltergeist'. He wrote and directed this from the heart and each and every scene captivated me in every way possible. 

The movie is in the style of a comic book with small captions keeping you posted on what part of the night it is since it does flip around. The cinematography reminded me of 'Dennis the Menace' or some sort of ABC Family Halloween original movie. Without revealing too much about the twists and turns, in which there are plenty of, the movie starts off with a murder and then "TRICK R TREAT" slams onto the screen. This is followed by a 'Spiderman 2' style opening with comic book-esque pictures depicting the movie and characters.

Trick 'r Treat 1

Among the four intertwining stories is a school principal with a child who happens to be a psychotic killer. He lives next door to a lonely old senile man who has a bit of a breathing problem and is being stalked by Sam, the spirit of Halloween, or the little orange kid with a potato sack mask. On the other side of town, a big party is going down and four older girls are getting ready to hit it up and hook up with someone and 'get laid'. The last story involves 3 young kids who take the 'weird girl' to play a prank on her at the site of a mythical tragedy site. 

The most mind-blowing thing about this movie is the idea that everything that shows up on screen and every sound we hear means something to the movie. What truly makes a good movie is being able to watch it again and find something new about it. Also, if you can talk about it forever after seeing it, then it truly had an impact on you and this movie already had this effect on me. 

Trick 'r Treat 3

I want to go more into detail about the genius and craft of this movie but I will ramble and give away too much, therefore, on October 6th, 2009, two years late, I want you all to buy it on DVD at your nearest retailer, it is well worth your money and probably the only safe movie to buy to own before you see it. 


Thursday, July 30, 2009

What Happened to "Old Hollywood"

Modern filmmaking is plain and simple; by this I mean nothing is new or original. The writers are desperate for an idea to get them the job, so they resort to remakes, spoofs, spinoffs, sequels, prequels, and star-studded spectacles that lack in plot and character development. 

This  blog is devoted to looking back at what "Old Hollywood" did for us and what we expect from modern day indies (since these are close to the only type of movies out there that are original and fresh). I also want to post and welcome any positive or negative reviews on new movies or even a blast from the past movie as well as compare it to what it lacks in our standards.