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This supposed horror spoof came to us courtesy of the legendary B movie
cinematographer Gary Graver, here functioning as screenwriter, editor,
D.P., and director. I can get that it's attempting to mock "Halloween"
type films, but it seriously lacks any sort of wit, and Graver fails to
make it particularly interesting, despite the magic angle. There's a
number of familiar faces here, but they're mostly just picking up
paychecks in brief special appearances (especially Steve Railsback, who
you only ever see on the phone). Graver doesn't achieve any sort of
tension, and some of the characters are beyond annoying. There are some
guffaws to be had, but they're few and far between.
Top billed Jacqueline Giroux is clearly too old for her role, but is undeniably sexy as Linda, a struggling actress who agrees to take a babysitting gig because it will pay well. The kid in question is Christopher O'Keefe (who's played by Chris Graver, the real-life son of Gary G. and co-star Jillian Kesner), whose mother Joan (Carrie Snodgress) had her husband Malcolm (character actor Peter Jason, recognizable for his work with Walter Hill and John Carpenter) wrongly committed to an insane asylum. Joan has remarried, to a magician named Richard Adams (David Carradine), and Malcolm busts out of the asylum - disguised as a nurse - to wreak revenge on Joan. Meanwhile, Christopher spends the whole night terrorizing Linda with a series of macabre pranks.
If there's anything giving "Trick or Treats" any sort of stature, it's the fact that none other than Orson Welles, for whom Graver worked on Welles's later film projects, is credited as the "magic consultant". And these magic gags do manage to be mildly amusing. Otherwise, this is pretty blah stuff. Jason in drag is a sight to behold, in any event. Railsback and Carradine, who look like their scenes were filmed in a day or less, are utterly wasted in their roles. If you do watch, be sure to look for the following people in supporting roles and bits: delectable exploitation actress Kesner as Lindas' friend Andrea, football players Dan Pastorini and Tim Rossovich as attendants, Paul Bartel as a bum, John Blyth Barrymore (older half brother to Drew Barrymore) as a mad doctor in the movie-within-the-movie, Catherine E. Coulson (the Log Lady from 'Twin Peaks') as a nurse, and the director himself as a counterman. Giroux is somewhat appealing, but her character isn't particularly sympathetic because she falls for the kids' antics too many times, and the kid himself is extremely obnoxious. They definitely detract from whatever enjoyment the viewer might have.
If you must see it for completions' sake, be my guest, but don't get your hopes up very high.
Five out of 10.
I'm not sure why this movie is titled "Trick or Treats" instead of
"Trick of Treat," but the filmmakers obviously didn't put much thought
into the title or the rest of the film, for that matter. They could
have named it "Halloween," but of course, that title was taken. Then
again, the "Halloween" plot was taken also, but that didn't stop the
filmmakers from lifting that.
The plot involves a young woman babysitting for a practical joker on Halloween. The boy's father has escaped from a mental institution and returns home to terrorize his ex-wife, who committed him. Are the strange noises and phone calls to the babysitter the result of a crazed lunatic, or just the 10-year-old's pranks? Does the mental patient even realize his ex-wife is out for the evening? Do we care?
The film has absolutely no suspense, the scenes are disjointed and choppy, and the performances are uniformly bad. Even Steve Railsback, normally a commanding presence in B-movies, phones in his performance literally. This cheap "Trick" has nothing to distinguish it from the crowded field of forgettable '80s slasher flicks. Like the rotten apple at the bottom of a Halloween candy bag, "Trick or Treats" is best trashed and forgotten.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Complete failure of a horror that actually has no "raison d'être"
whatsoever because only three (I repeat THREE) people die throughout
the entire film and two (again, I repeat, TWO) of these three deaths
occur off-screen! I've seen Disney Pixar flicks where more characters
died. By the way, that was a spoiler warning! What makes all this even
worse is the fact that the basic premise actually holds quite a bit of
potential and the opening sequences are even intriguingly mysterious
and never seen before. A battle ax of a woman hires some men in clean
white coats to take away her husband to the loony bin. Several years
later although later specified as exactly four the man breaks out
the asylum on Halloween night (in the lamest imaginable way by dressing
up as an elderly woman) and returns homewards with exclusively
vengeance on his mind. His evil hag of a wife, who in the meantime
re-married the sleazy magician artist David Carradine, is not there on
"the night he came home" (copyright John Carpenter's "Halloween") but
the cute babysitter is looking after their chubby and unimaginably
annoying son, who persists on playing lame pranks (and the bimbo
babysitter persists on falling for them as well). It takes literally
ages before anything remotely horror-related occurs. The film isn't
exactly boring; it's just nothing like a horror/slasher effort. There
are numerous pointless interludes to fill up the running time, like a
complete narration of the Boy Who Cried Wolf fairy tale and the showing
of a horror film within the film, something about Dracula reviving the
Frankenstein monster, because two chicks are editing a film the
babysitter slash actress starred in. It's not the least bit relevant;
it's just another way to kill off a couple of minutes.
I sometimes really wondered if "Trick or Treats" was intended as a comedy, because certain parts are just so incredibly over-the-top and senseless, like the live news reporting from inside the asylum after the escape, but then again other parts as well as the acting performances are so sincere and straight-faced that I think we're supposed to take this rubbish seriously. The chubby 8-year-old amateur magician is literally, hands down, THE most annoying kid ever displayed on screen and, especially with the slow pacing in this film, you just know from the beginning that we won't have the pleasure of watching him die. "Trick or Treats" is a "Halloween" knock-off without any actual slashing going on. It's a lousy and boring movie, completely bloodless and without the slightest form of suspense. The supportive roles of Steve Railsbeck and David Carradine are completely wasted and did I tell you already this piece of junk hardly features any on screen bloodshed? Epic failure, that's what they call this sort of stuff these days on the Internet.
Believe it or not; I saw this on the big screen. And yes, it is a total
yawn fest with only "scratch your head" cameos by the Names to give it
interest. Seems the director came out of the Al Adamson school. It
Apparently, if you're looking to take your other half out of the
picture, all you need to do is call up the local nut-house, who will
send round a couple of orderlies with a straitjacket to cart them away,
no questions asked. That's what Joan (Carrie Snodgress) does to her
husband Malcolm (Peter Jason) who spends the next four years in an
asylum going genuinely crazy. Of course, there's always the danger that
they might break out and go looking for a spot of revenge, which is
precisely what Malcolm does, disguising himself as a female nurse to do
When Malcolm finally arrives home, his ex-wife isn't there, having gone partying with her new man Richard (David Carradine); instead, he makes do with terrorising her pretty babysitter Linda (Jacqueline Giroux), who is staying the night to look after chubby, magic-obsessed, practical joker Christopher (Chris Graver), quite possible the most obnoxious little s**t to have ever appeared in a horror movie.
What sounds like standard '80s slasher nonsense feels like anything but, the entire cast clearly not taking matters very seriously (and who can blame them given the very silly script); unfortunately, despite what I can only presume are attempts at humour, the film is never funny enough to qualify as a comedy horror, and with zero scares or gore, no nudity, plus that really irritating kid grating on the nerves throughout, Trick or Treats manages to be an utter failure on practically every level. Even the utterly stupid, highly predictable 'shock' ending blows.
This is apparently one of two movies from the 1980's with this title,
but don't be fooled by this title as this is incredibly boring, It took
me a few attempts to watch this rubbish and I just couldn't get into
it, the first time I switched off after about 20 minutes as I was bored
and this went on again and again, until I finally caught the climatic
ending, which wasn't all that to be honest.
The movie starts off with a man being whisked away to a mental hospital by the orderlies, for some apparent reason and the wife had him committed, then a couple of years later he escapes and heads back home to take revenge on his wife, whose gone out to a dinner party with her new husband and the only ones there are his son and the babysitter.
I did like the set up and the plot got me intrigued as it's similar to another movie that's one of my faves "Fright", but make no mistake this is nothing compared to that, as this fails to present any sort of tension whatsoever, instead the first hour of this is made up of the kid playing pranks on the babysitter, and despite the maniac lurking around and kills the odd person or two, it still doesn't deliver any scares or gore and I don't know whether this was meant to be a comedy horror of some sort, because some of the scenes are quite funny, it just doesn't seem settled on any sort of tone and despite some decent performances this still just doesn't deliver.
All in all just don't bother with this, it's just full of tricks and no treats whatsoever and it's a pretty dull and lame effort for everyone involved.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Its tag-line "when Halloween night stopped being fun" speaks volumes
about this dreaded film because I can't really see anyone finding any
enjoyment in watching this trash. I had never watched this film until
now and to be honest never even heard anyone talk about it so I had
absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into.
The premise of the film is great with a perfect 80's VHS-cover a plot about an escaped mental patient about to seek vengeance on his family (not original but has worked before) and appearances by one of my favorite b-movie action-heroes David Carradine. But then I made the mistake of watching the actual movie and boy oh boy was I let down.
The film starts of as a weird family drama and soon then later turns into some weird comedy about a boy playing pranks on his stupid babysitter. This goes on for an hour or something and when the horror actually starts you don't care and actually want the cast to get killed so the dreaded thing can be over with.
The cast is set up of somewhat skilled actors but Gary Graver seems to have gone out of his way to create characters that nobody can like. The kid is an evil little brat that speaks with a freaky baby-voice, his mother is an egotistical and evil bitch and the babysitter seems to have the IQ of a donkey. To be honest the only lovable character in the whole film is the deranged father that's doing all the killings. Was this intentional or just poorly written? The only enjoyments one can get out of it is by watching it as a vigilante film and actually cheer for the killer as he gets back on society and the bastards who locked him up. But even then you'll probably spend half the movie hitting the fast forward button.
This bottom-rung '80s slasher follows a much-too-old babysitter being
stalked by an escaped mental patient on Halloween night. Never heard
that synopsis before.
Anyways, I can't imagine anyone but the most avid slasher fan would even be on this movie's IMDb page, but even the biggest fan of slice-and-dice films is unlikely to get any fun out of this one. It's egregiously slow, with most of its running time dedicated to watching a child magician-in-training pulling cheap pranks on the babysitter character. The director didn't invest in any lighting equipment, making some of the proceedings all but impossible to follow. It's bloodless, breastless and suspenseless, which leaves the film an almost complete lack of entertainment.
There's rumblings of the film being a satire, but most of the humor is relegated to a padding scene featuring film editors. And that is heavy-handed and overdone. The rest of the film is neither clever or entertaining enough to be humorous.
Avoid, even though you do get about three minutes of creepy cougar David Carradine action. If you're looking for a cheesy, fun 80s movie for a Halloween night, 1986's TRICK OR TREAT is a much better choice.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Alright I won't go as far as defending this long forgotten 1982 slasher
because every single point that is made towards this film to why it
sucks is completely valid. Trick Or Treats is not a good film at all.
It truly does make me laugh that this got a theater release at all but
all in all it's actually a rather charming film. It's not so bad it's
good but it really comes very close at some points. If it were any
worse it could be a small cult classic in it's own right joining the
pool of the best worst horror films of the last 50 years. But it never
quite gets there. All in all the irony is the people behind the film
were much too talented to get the film to that level of bad. Sure it's
atrocious. Sure there is no plot anywhere and the film is littered with
tedious filler but all in all technically it's passable. The acting
isn't great but it's not bad, the directing is okay and the potential
the film had is there. It just never comes together and with a proper
script it could've. I personally have 2 big qualms with the film. 1.It
was much too dark. Frustrating really. It would be nice if the
filmmakers would've been kind enough to show us what's going on! It
seemed the longer the film went on the darker it seemed to get. The
only 2 bulbs must have been going out *eyes* . 2.The comedy. Clearly
Trick Or Treats wanted to be a satire of the slasher genre. It just
doesn't work in the slightest. Student Bodies it's not! Nothing about
Trick Or Treats is clever or funny. You actually forget it's a satire
at all most of the time and only when the film forces a scene of forced
humor do you realize how much it failed in that department.
Now look Trick Or Treats is not a boring film like most people will make you believe. For all the filler the film has it must be complimented at moving at a nice pace. I can't even begin to understand how they managed that but they did. Maybe they fell into it? And if you're a slasher film buff it's worth the watch! Hey it's from 1982! And just the year alone is enough to make most genre fans hunt the title down. I enjoyed it. Bad film or not which it is.
TRICK OR TREATS tries to be something but it miserably fails to be
anything. Is it mainly trying to be some sort of slasher-inspired
horror film using a Halloween-theme? Probably, but you can't really
call it a horror movie. There's no suspense, no thrills, no gore, no
memorable deaths, no nothing. Just a lot of talking, various hints at
possible subplots that are no hints, really, but just goings-on that
lead to absolutely nothing. Just a guy who escapes a mental institute
to get revenge on his wife because she put him there. This is just a
minimal plot-thread running through the film, as most of the other
scenes feature an extremely annoying kid (the son of the lunatic)
playing stupid Halloween pranks on his female baby-sitter. The chick
fills her time with phoning her acting boyfriend (played by an
under-used Steve Railsback, who's anything but memorable in this film)
and telling the annoying kid stories like "The Boy Who Cried Wolf".
David Carradine plays the kid's step-dad and has, besides talking
smooth to the baby-sitter, no reason to be in this film. Peter Jason
(as the escaped lunatic dad), might come across as another familiar
face (it should, actually, just watch some John Carpenter movies), but
seeing him dress up as a nurse (with a bad wig) will just have you
shaking your head, wishing this film would end.
In all honesty, TRICK OR TREATS could have been an okay Halloween-themed horror flick if they had actually bothered to write a decent script. But it turned out a boring, uneventful piece of crap. With one of the most annoying 80's kids ever.
Good Badness? No, simply no fun. 2/10 and 2/10
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