Trick or Treats (1982)

Article 3628 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-6-2011
Posting Date: 7-21-2011
Directed by Gary Graver
Featuring Jacqueline Giroux, Peter Jason, Chris Graver
Country: USA
What it is: Horror comedy

On Halloween, an aspiring actress takes a babysitting job for a child hooked on magic and practical jokes. However, the former husband of the child’s mother has escaped from an insane asylum and is headed for the house intent on revenge.

On the surface, the movie seems like a rip-off of HALLOWEEN, but, to its credit, it only borrows the bare bones of that movie and comes up with its own approach to the story. It is, in fact, much more of a comedy than a horror movie. That’s not to say it works; in fact, the movie is a disaster. It’s both too broad to be taken seriously and too blandly tame to be funny, the psycho is too much of a chatterbox to be scary, the familiar names in the cast (David Carradine, Carrie Snodgress, Paul Bartel) are all wasted, the succession of practical jokes that makes up the first hour of the movie is tiresome, the pacing wouldn’t challenge a snail, and the overall effect is that of muted awkwardness. The most jaw-dropping credit is seeing the name of Orson Welles as a magic consultant; apparently, director Graver and Welles were good friends. Still, this may well be one of the worst movies Welles was ever associated with.

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