• Kelly M. Hudson

Tricks, But Not A Lot of Treats!

A married couple sit down to have breakfast. The woman is prattling on while the man has his newspaper up and opened, ignoring her. The doorbell rings and she lets in two men who happen to be from the mental hospital; they’ve come to take the husband away. A few years later, on Halloween night, he breaks out of the asylum, bent on coming home and getting his revenge on his wife. The only problem is, the wife has remarried and gone off to a dinner party, leaving their precocious son in the care of a babysitter for the night. The son is a real bastard of annoyance; he pulls trick after trick on the sitter, scaring her half to death most of the time. She starts hating the kid, and the bulk of the movie consists his clever tricks on her and her increasingly angry reactions. Eventually, though, daddy dearest shows up, and he’s got murder on his mind. The boy and the sitter must team-up to stop him, or they’ll both wind up dead.

I always avoided this movie when I would make my frequent trips to the rental store as a teen. I don’t know why, to be honest. The VHS cover art is simply fantastic, and that should have suckered me in to see it almost right away. Maybe I’d gotten savvy to that little trick by then, I’m not sure. It was pretty common to get the old bait-and-switch, a box cover that promised something amazing and delivered nothing but dreck. Still, I never saw it and now that I finally have, I can’t say as I missed much. This isn’t really a horror film, not until the very end, which is fine in its own way. Mostly it flickers back and forth from being decently funny to mildly amusing. The tricks the kid plays are humorous at first, but like his irritating wit, they wear out their welcome pretty quickly. At one point, I wished the babysitter would have just tied him to his bed and stuffed a wet sock in his mouth. These pranks are paralleled by the father’s escape from the hospital and his journey home. None of this is necessary and surely feels like a time-waster, but it still entertains in its own right. Most of the time I was scratching my head, wondering just what the filmmakers were thinking. But the light and breezy feel of the story, combined with the obvious fun the actors are having, eventually won me over. No, this isn’t some horror masterpiece and no, it isn’t something I’ll watch more than once, but it is fairly funny and passes the time nicely.

Trick or Treats is a movie that really shouldn’t be. I don’t get why it was made and what it’s audience was intended to be. I suppose it was meant as a comedy, but it gets a bit gruesome towards the end. This is one of those odd ducks that kinda stands on its own, so kudos to them for being unique. It’s just a shame that the box art on this one doesn’t deliver what it promised, because that is a chilling film I would love to see.


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