I’ve waited years “ literally “ to see “Trick ‘r Treat,” the horror anthology from writer/director Michael Dougherty. For whatever reason, Warner Bros. delayed and ultimately shelved plans for a theatrical release to send it straight to DVD, despite excellent word of mouth. That move also affected WildStorm’s plans to publish a simultaneous four-issue comics adaptation.
Now that “Treat” hits DVD Oct. 6, WildStorm has collected its never-printed series into one trade paperback. When it arrived in the mail earlier this week, it sparked an internal dilemma for me: Read now and risk the chance of having the movie spoiled for me, or wait until after the DVD?
I couldn’t resist. I ate it up that night. I’m hoping the film will still hold some surprises, but ultimately it doesn’t matter, because the book just heightened my anticipation even more.
Written by Marc Andreyko, each of its four chapters equates to the film’s segments, all taking place one Halloween night. There’s an all-American suburban dad who takes his pumpkin-carving duties too far; a group of trick-or-treaters that dares explore the urban legend of an ill-fated school bus full of mentally handicapped children; a quartet of young women out for a wild night of partying, with an eventual, unfortunate emphasis on “wild”; and a cranky old man who hates the holiday and all it stands for. He gets his comeuppance courtesy of Sam, a pint-sized pipsqueak with a burlap sack over his (its?) head and a streak of mischief in his heart.
As the de facto mascot of “Trick ‘r Treat,” Sam makes an appearance “ however fleeting “ in the other stories, helping tie them together loosely. They all add up to one spirited celebration of Halloween that makes one nostalgic for the days when you couldn’t wait to slip on that costume and fill your bag with treasured candy.
With the exception of Christopher Gugliotti, whose abstract approach on the third tale makes it tough to decipher who’s whom and what’s going on, the artists excel on this project. The book of “Trick ‘r Treat” is a blast and, as I expect from the film, will be worth another knock on the door each and every fall season.