10/31/13

Five Days of Double Features: Trick r' Treat (2007) and Satan's Little Helper (2004)

http://www.amazon.com/Trick-r-Treat-Quinn-Lord/dp/B002SAHIZA/ref=sr_1_1_vod_0_ren?ie=UTF8&qid=1383260864&sr=8-1&keywords=trick+r+treat 

Can't say much more about Trick r' Treat than what's already been said by many others. Since it premiered on home video in 2009 (after two years of film fest screenings) it's steadily built up a reputation as a holiday go-to classic, among the ranks of It's a Wonderful Life. Last year a cable channel ran a 24-hour marathon of the movie on Halloween day, and earlier this week it screened theatrically here in Hollywood, where the filmmakers made an appearance and announced that a sequel is in production.

I wouldn't mind seeing a director's cut, and it seems the movie is loved enough to justify one. The producers cut up the stories in post (originally they ran in sequence, like the fictional comic book the movie was trying to emulate) and made other egregious errors like swapping out Peggy Lee for Marilyn Manson in the musical soundtrack. But even with the studio meddling, it's a great piece of entertainment. And fairly tame; appropriate for kids over ten, by my standards. Doesn't look to be available via subscription services, But Amazon has it on instant view for $1.99.

http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Satan_s_Little_Helper/70038564

This is second only to Trick r' Treat in how extremely Halloween-y it is. The setting helps; filmed entirely in the Hudson River Valley area of New York and Connecticut in the Autumn, you couldn't imagine a more authentic vision of Americana. John Carpenter's eponymous movie is all isolation and dark space, but here is a small New England town bustling with lively holiday spirit.

Something about this doesn't quite work. The concept is better than its execution. The balance between black humor and real horror is never decided upon, and some of the scenes are very tasteless, to the level of Troma movies, even, which drains it of its fun. So you'll want to put the kids to bed before this one, and this is a halfhearted recommendation, but it makes for a good double feature with Trick 'r Treat.
(click posters to link)

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