For all of Halloween-themed October, ComicsVerse is creating magic. By magic, we mean analyses of Halloween films, shows, music, and anything else we can find. If you want to keep posted on the newest and greatest content in this particular series, you can check it out here. Stay tuned for more ComicsVerse series coming your way, Spoopy Ghostoween and beyond! Now, let’s talk about TRICK R’ TREAT!


The Jack O’ Lanterns are lit, the monsters are on the street, and sugar is everywhere. It’s Halloween at last, and so THE UNSEEN HORROR digs into the crypts for a final treat, and word of warning.

Tonight, don’t put out the candles until midnight. Give every trick or treater candy. Someone knows if you don’t, and he won’t be happy about it. Halloween rears its dark head as THE UNSEEN HORROR ends with 2007’s TRICK R’ TREAT.

The Plot

TRICK R’ TREAT functions as an anthology, telling four stories of Halloween night, linked by the presence of Sam (Samhain?), the doll-like spirit of Halloween. Sam is to Halloween what Santa is to Christmas, but his job isn’t to reward. Sam punishes those who break the rules and makes sure everything runs smoothly. He appears in each of the film’s four segments.

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The Principal

A grade school principal kills students with poisoned candy. He buries them in his backyard, but all the while his son calls him. The principal works through the darkly humorous (and continuously interrupted) burial. He finishes and goes in to enjoy a special Halloween activity with his son.

The School Bus Massacre Revisited

Kids collect Jack O’lanterns and travel to the site of an infamous deed. Legend says a bus driver drove a troupe of special needs kids over a cliff after being paid off by exhausted parents. The kids use the legend for a prank, but there’s a grain of truth in every myth…

Surprise Party

A young woman plans to meet her friends at a costume rave. She’s attacked by a man in black with sharp teeth. However, there’s always someone with sharper teeth.

Meet Sam

A crotchety old man delights in scaring kids off his yard on Halloween. Sam’s no ordinary trick or treater, though. And some people need to learn the hard way to honor tradition.

The Presence of Halloween

TRICK R’ TREAT’s strength comes from how it honors the holiday. Horror films take place on Halloween quite often, but none of them ever actually use the holiday.

TRICK R' TREAT
Well, except for this one

Even the original HALLOWEEN merely takes place on the holiday. TRICK R’ TREAT examines all the various traditions. Playing pranks, giving out candy, wild parties, and even family time get a horrific spin. The scares feel genuine as well, as director Michael Dougherty (KRAMPUS) leaves no stone unturned.

Everything you see feels ripped from real Halloween experiences. We can all remember the creepy old man on the block, or the haunted house, or going to a party on a scary night. The movie scares feel real because they are based on the actual practices of Halloween. It makes us think about why we do certain things on All Hallow’s Eve, as well as what happens if we don’t.

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Dark Spirit

The standout of TRICK R’ TREAT is Sam. He perfectly embodies the innocence of the holiday, with his feety pajamas and burlap mask. However, Sam demonstrates plenty of power too. Santa Claus spreads good cheer, but Sam acts like a judge. He observes everything that happens in the movie, and the best thing you can hope for is that he just watches. Sam watches those who act “right,” but he’s swift to go after those who do “wrong.”

TRICK R' TREAT

It’s no wonder Sam ends the film attacking a grumpy, candy hoarding adult. There’s no greater affront to Halloween then refusing candy, but there’s another meaning as well. Halloween came from Samhain, the Irish Day of the Dead.

On that day, spirits walk the Earth and families would leave treats outside their doors to appease them. Hence, trick or treating today, and Sam hasn’t forgotten the past. Traditions change, but Sam must be appeased. God help you if you refuse him.

Final Thoughts On TRICK R’ TREAT

In conclusion, TRICK R’ TREAT is the ultimate Halloween movie. The film scares you, but not just with blood and violence. It scares you because it goes over every element of the holiday you’ve experienced. It brings those traditions back to their dark roots and gives you a terrifying guide into the origins of the darkest holiday of all. Pop this in on Halloween night, but remember… everyone gets candy. Or else.

That closes the crypt on THE UNSEEN HORROR. I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip across the unseen routes of horror. Rest up, because a familiar horror is on its way:

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