Director Michael Dougherty (who also wrote X2 and Superman Returns) crafted the cult horror anthology Trick ‘r Treat back in 2007, only to see it shelved (ostensibly the studio found it difficult to market) and ultimately released to home video in 2009. Since then, the film has taken on a thriving life as a fixture among the horror crowd.
Now, the film is getting its first ever official screening at Beyond Fest. It will be held at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood on October 28th! If you live in LA and have been wanting to see this movie with a crowd, this is it! The screening will be followed by a panel that will include Dougherty along with several members of the cast (the panel will be live streamed on Legendary’s Facebook Page for those who can’t attend).
In anticipation of the screening, I discussed the film’s long history with Dougherty. I also found out which anthology films he favors most and whether or not he’d consider a sequel to Trick ‘r Treat. Check out the interview below!
What’s it like having the first official screening of this film after all this time?
It feels great. We obviously had a bunch of screenings at festivals, Comic Con, or fan events in the past, but it’s nice to have Legendary and BeyondFest sponsor this one as a thank you to all the fans who’ve kept the film going. Legendary really poured a lot of time and love into the movie this year, and I think the screening is going to be a LOT of fun. First of all, they’re holding it at the Egyptian theater in Hollywood, which is probably one of my favorite spots with a ton of cinematic history.
The movie is now a staple among horror fans. Required viewing. Why do you think it has resonated so deeply?
I think people love it for a lot of different reasons, but I think it has a unique tone and vibe that we don’t see in horror films anymore. Like a lot of films I loved growing up, that Amblin era especially, we wanted to have a sense of fun, mischief, and levity, obviously balanced with suspense, gore, and scares. A lot of today’s entertainment is obsessed with being dark, gritty, edgy, gory, etc, which just starts to get oppressive and dull after a while. Like someone trying way too hard to seem like tough guy all the time. It gets old! We went the other direction, inserted some nostalgia and dark humor into the mix, and I think that was a breath of fresh air for a lot of people — especially ones who truly appreciate the horror genre and miss being allowed to laugh and scream at the same time.
What’s your current take on horror anthologies? Any favorites?
I absolutely love anthologies. And I think it’s absolutely stupid and short-sighted that we don’t have more of them. We had a golden age of anthologies back in the 80s, when you had a least seven or eight different shows on the air. Tales from the Crypt, Tales from the Darkside, Amazing Stories, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Twilight Zone, Goosebumps, Monsters, The Outer Limits and I’m sure there are even more I’m forgetting. THEN you had the anthology feature films, Creepshow 1 & 2, Cat’s Eye, Twilight Zone, Tales from the Darkside — again, they were just everywhere, and a lot of people made a lot of money making them. And I think that era was great for writers, directors, actors, and just originality in general. You had hundreds of people churning out fun short weird ideas, some good, some bad, but at least there was a heavier emphasis on diverse original stories.
But then because of fatigue or over-saturation, we hit the 90s and the anthologies went away. Like someone pulled a switch and said “no more anthologies!”. So that creates an entire generation of film and TV execs who think the format is somehow tainted and they just repeat the same “anthologies don’t work” mantra over and over again. Of course I find this especially hilarious because back in 2001 people read the TRT script and said “no one wants vampires, werewolves, or zombies — they’re too retro”. And holy crap look where we are now.
Again, people who understand the genre know that it’s always cyclical. Every other format and subgenre of horror has kind of gone around and come around, so I really think anthologies could be the next thing. We’re already seeing the early signs of it, with the way people have embraced Trick ‘r Treat, with American Horror story smartly doing a sort of “seasonal anthology”, the V/H/S flicks, ABCs of Death, and even rumblings of a Twilight Zone reboot at CBS. Oh, and if I have my way, a new twist on the CREEPY comics of yesteryear. So yeah, with any luck the format will rise from the ashes.
Given how popular the film and Sam have become, and the fact that you’ve already revisited it with shorts, can we expect a sequel at any point?
Not right now. Maybe someday. Even though its been a few years since its release, I think Legendary, myself, and the producers are still kind of letting the dust settle on the first film. It’s been a very long strange road, and while the geek and horror community obviously embraced and supported the film from the beginning, it feels like the mainstream is only just now discovering it. So I don’t feel like we’re in any rush to make another one. Not that I would mind wandering back to the pumpkin patch, of course. But with any luck, the October 28th screening will go really well and a whole new group of people will watch it via Facebook. Then who knows what that could lead to…