31 Days of Wicked Watching [DAY 11]: Always Check Your Candy

This is a movie that is doubtful many have seen, but damn is it worth canonizing in the legacy that is horror greats. What starts as five narratives (spoiler) then evolves into one with complex characters that are fascinatingly built in a short period of time and a script that is both biting and brilliant at the same time. If you haven’t seen the 2007 film “Trick ‘r Treat,” then now is your time.

The pseudo-anthology film functions predominantly on tropes of myths, legends, fairy tales and folklore in accompaniment with horror rules and name actors, Anna Paquin being one in particular. And while the initial temporal qualities of the film may come across rather disjointed or queer, there is a thin thread that provides the viewer with a subtle hold on reality as you delve downward into the depths of the inner circles of hell.

For those who are strictly against the idea of horror harming children, then this film isn’t entirely for you. It preys very specifically on the title term and the traditional safety that comes with it. It utilizes the holiday of Halloween much differently from the film that bears its namesake. This film focuses on the iconography of the date and the various celebrations and rituals that emerge within it. It is utter brilliance.

Because of the distinct stories, the film never seems to drag on, but the length of each vignette of sorts never leaves you feeling it is too short. The pacing is near perfection. The costuming and set designs also couldn’t be more perfect. You are immersed within the world of suburbia with all its kindness, laughter and fun. You are immersed in a world that is quite possibly all-too-familiar to you. This is where Michael Dougherty lulls you into security. The intensity certainly comes in the internal turmoil you’ll feel, coupled with a jump scare or two for you.

I personally adore the cuteness that comes in the form of Sam, the image you see above on the movie poster. His impish like qualities and adoration for all that is good about All Hallow’s Eve give the movie and opportunity to call into question what we are celebrating and how we are celebrating it. Sam’s attachment to the ritualistic qualities of the holiday and his very strong love of candy can’t help but make you cringe at the smile that you’ll have upon his arrival. But, be warned, you’ll genuinely struggle with the smile as you’ll feel almost as if you’re facing an extreme test of conscious.

Another major selling point is the resurfacing of what I would say is a horror anthem, Marilyn Manson’s variation of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These).” The placement of the song, which is very lonely in a generally bare soundtrack, is a perfect shift in your viewing and it jams a shocking surprise sequence down your throat.

Enjoy with a big sucker or a bag of candy. It’ll be worth it.

Make sure that you have a jack o’lantern lit outside as you go to sleep. It’s the only way to keep the spirits at bay.

Published by Patrick R. Johnson

Patrick is a Ph.D. student and graduate instructor in the SJMC. He comes from nearly a decade of teaching high school journalism and English, and an adjunct professor of journalism and media studies at Marquette University (where he received both his bachelor's and master's degrees). He is a former Dow Jones Distinguished National Journalism Teacher of the Year. His research interests include the intersection of news literacy, journalism ethics, journalism studies, and professional boundary work. He also focuses his attention on issues of deviance within the media industry, particularly as it relates to issues of sex and issues resulting in paradigm repair. Patrick is also deeply passionate about teaching and the role of journalism schools in the professionalization of their students. He focuses a lot of his thinking on mass communication and journalism pedagogy and identifying ways for journalism courses to be both rewarding in content and enriching in skill. He currently teaches Journalistic Reporting and Writing in the SJMC and taught a number of courses at Marquette, including Media Ethics, Visual Communication, Magazine Design and Production, Digital Journalism 1-3, Strategic Communication Writing, and the Journalism Capstone course for the department. His work in curriculum, instruction, and educational leadership includes serving as the Journalism Education Association’s Mentor Program Chair, designing curriculum to accompany Pulitzer Prize winning content for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, reviewing the Praxis national journalism certification exam, and developing a number of courses at the high school and collegiate levels. Patrick served as a 2021 Public Humanities Intern through the Obermann Center where he worked specifically with University Special Collections to develop public-facing exhibits and curriculum materials related to the Tom Brokaw Collection.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: