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Trick ‘r Treat – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)

Scream Factory has really found it rejuvenated in 2018 with a load of great new Collector’s Editions of classic horror films both new and old, any era really. I’m really looking forward to them tackling a Hammer Dracula film next month. Right now, we have Mike Dougherty’s modern cult classic and absolutely beloved Trick ‘r Treat film. The iconic Halloween anthology film is has been given a definitive and iconic release. Shipping delays and production issues have lead me to being one of the last people to have a copy of it, as many fans already have one in hand. Late or on time, it doesn’t matter, Why So Blu is going to have some coverage as someone will be searching for it at some time. Available since October, you can order this bad boy by clicking on the Amazon link below.

Film 

Interwoven stories demonstrate that some traditions are best not forgotten as the residents  of a small town face real ghosts and goblins on Halloween. Tales of terror reveal the consequences of extinguishing a Jack-o-Lantern before midnight and a grumpy hermit’s encounter with a sinister trick-or-treater.

Modern cult classics are hard to come by in this information age. Many of them are easier to find once you’ve heard about them. I’ll count Trick ‘r Treat as a cult classic due to its release and massive popularity from being discovered on home video. But it also started a sort of trend of horror films held onto and kept from us by major studios. For a few years, we’d heard about Trick ‘r Treat. Heard about how fantastic it was, baffled that Warner Bros was holding it back. Show it to us now! New outlets reported on it and screenings yielding raving results. However, if you weren’t at Butt-Numb-A-Thon or at a festival it played, you were helpless to see it until finally it had a Blu-ray release in 2009. Similar terrific horror films that would find themselves in this kind of pit (Unlike Trick ‘r Treat would get wide theatrical releases) are Cabin In The Woods and You’re Next.

Michael Dougherty’s film is a true piece of passion for the Halloween holiday. He manages to make a clear iconic villain in Sam, but also is able to incorporate zombies, werewolves and vampires into the story as well. And its all quick and seems fearlessly woven together. While this film is akin to wanting to be a tribute to that of an anthology horror film like Creepshow (As is evident by the comic book segues and graphics), it even moreso comes across like a horror Pulp Fiction with the narrative. Instead of separate stories and one overarching wraparound, this one has characters to that wander in and out of one anothers’ tales (Sam pops up in all of them, but others show up, too) and it even plays with the time and perspective.

Trick ‘r Treat is a charming holiday classic that ages pretty well and improves upon multiple viewings. The creature work is fantastic, the essence of Halloween is in every frame and the passion and love for the traditions is more than evident. It kicked off a resurgence of anthology horror too (V/H/S and ABC’s Of Death among others would pop up after this film saw popularity). When I first saw the film upon its initial Blu-ray release, I thought it was “all right” but didn’t get much of the hub bub about it. It might’ve been that people were starving for something like this and also had been terrorized by wanting to see the movie so bad for many years. I’ve come around as far more a fan of it now than I was, and feel the film succeeds enough to be a complete classic.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Trick ‘r Treat finds itself with a new 2K transfer for this release. The encoding is now MPEG-4 AVC as opposed to the ancient VC-1 encoding on the prior release. This yields similar yet more defined results and a slightly dimmer picture. Overall this is an improvement, but a more minimalist one, making finer points and touches to better detail and crispness. Colors look a little more saturated.

Depth: Decent depth of field here. Its not the most 3 dimensional looking movie with it being super dark, but it has its moments like looking off the cliff in the night and interior moments in Brian Cox’s home. Movements are smooth and cinematic.

Black Levels: This is a really dark movie and the transfer handles it very well with no issues of crushing. Details hold on and are very effective with no concerning information lost.

Color Reproduction: Colors are pretty solid, the orange pumpkins look really good and the saturation on them is really nice. Costumes with brighter colors pop and the jack-o-lantern glow is magnificent.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are a hair washed, like very minimal and consistent throughout the film. Facial features and textures are pretty clear even if the film is pretty dark.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics: While we go from Dolby TrueHD to DTS-HD MA for this release, I’m pretty certain its the same mix. And that’s fine because its a well balanced and pretty intricate mix. There is a lot of fun playing around this one does with keeping you a part of the environment.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Physical altercations, explosions, gun blasts and more hit the sub to a pretty solid degree.

Surround Sound Presentation: This is a really fun track that lures you in thinking its front heavy and then has some of the most intricate and well thought out additions and accompaniment coming from the rear channels. Sam running behind you back and forth in Brian Cox’s house is a fantastic highlight.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras 

Trick ‘r Treat – Collector’s Edition comes with reversible cover art featuring the original poster design.

Audio Commentary

  • With Writer/Director Michael Dougherty

Tales Of Folklore & Fright: Creating Trick R Treat (HD, 16:05) – Mike Dougherty and the conceptual and storyboard artists discuss the origins of the film and coming up with the scenarios, characters and crafting the look of the film.

Tales Of Mischief & Mayhem (HD, 19:46) – This is a solo interview with Dougherty as he goes through an in depth rundown of filming the movie.

Sounds Of Shock & Superstition (HD, 11:10) – Mike Dougherty and composer Douglas Pipes go over the inspirations, goals and creation of the film’s score.

Tales Of Dread And Despair (HD, 7:23) – Mike Dougherty and Rob Galluzzo discusses the challenge to sell this movie and get a studio to distribute it. There’s are plenty of anecdotes about festival showings where it killed and the popularity it achieved with its Blu-ray release. Overall, Dougherty feels what happened was “the path it needed to take in order to be what it has become”.

Season’s Greetings With Optional Commentary By Michael Dougherty (HD, 3:54) – The original 1996 animated short from Michael Dougherty that was the basis for Trick ‘r Treat.

Trick ‘R Treat: The Lore And Legends Of Halloween (HD, 27:26) – Narrated by Brian Cox, the cast and crew of Trick ‘r Treat talk about the origins of the Halloween holiday.

School Bus FX Comparison (SD, 1:13) 

Additional Scenes With Optional Commentary By Michael Dougherty (HD, 17:13)  

Storyboard And Conceptual Artwork Gallery (HD, 19:13) 

Behind The Scenes Still Gallery (HD, 13:11) 

Comic Book Gallery (HD, 8:37)

Fear.Net Shorts (HD, 9:10 & 3:47) – A series of Trick ‘r Treat related promotional shorts/advertisements from the former horror network.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:27)

Summary 

Trick ‘r Treat is both a modern horror classic and one of the biggest true cult films icon of the previous decade. Scream Factory gives it a little bit of a facelift in terms of a new transfer with better encoding that suits it well and loads it up with new bonus features making this easily the definitive release of the film. Unless a 4K offering comes and retains all of this bonus material, this’ll remain THE release of the film for quite some time.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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