Trick or Treats (1982)

Spread the weird

RATING– ★★★

DIRECTOR– Gary Graver

PLOT– Linda is a small-town, simple, film-editing girl just tryin’ to make it in this world. Her boyfriend Bret is a community theatre actor… and we all know how much that pays.

So when a local jet-setting couple, Joan & Richard Adams, want to hire her to watch their young boy for a day while they party it up at a Halloween night bash in Las Vegas, well… Linda has to break the news that she won’t be able to attend her boyfriend’s performance of Othello. It’s too much money to pass up.

Linda heads on over to the Adam’s house and is immediately cornered and sexually harassed by Mr. Adams (because that’s the first thing everyone does when meeting their new babysitter???)…

David Carradine is at it again

Mrs. Adams informs Linda “That’s why I married him”…

… what?!??

Then Mrs. Adams informs Linda that her son, Chris, is an aspiring magician and oddly states “he will find you”…

Chris finds her and, let’s just say, this frickin’ kid isn’t just an “aspiring” magician, he’s full-blown OCD about magic… he immediately starts tormenting his poor babysitter with trick after cheesy trick until Linda realizes this Halloween is going to be a nightmare.

Over at the local hospital for the criminally insane, inmate/patient Malcolm is plotting to escape and exact his revenge on his ex-wife who had him committed against his will… nonother than the now Mrs. Joan Adams, the woman who has hired Linda to babysit.

It seems that years ago, Joan was tired of Malcolm pretending to be a big shot businessman and that, instead of inviting over neighbors for breakfast, she invited over two NFL players-turned-psycho wardens who throw a straight jacket on Malcolm and haul him away… never knowing that Joan was pregnant with their son.

Meanwhile, Linda is enduring countless, even more, terrible tricks from 10yr-old Chris. At her wit’s end, she informs the child for the 28th time she’s “had enough”.

“You’re just a midget Doug Henning!”

Across town, Malcolm kills a nurse, steals her dress to escape, takes a bus, stops for coffee and a butcher knife, steals some whiskey from a clearly nearsighted drunk, and strips a homeless person.

Over at the Adams’ house, Chris has tortured Linda with his 339th trick of the night (this little kid may have inherited a little of his father’s unhinged qualities). Linda gets a call from her film-editing girlfriend, Andrea, letting her know that she has finished editing a truly wonderful film about a forgetful surgeon, who’s also a vampire, and the nurses who think very little of him.

Dr. Acula!… ***Sorry, I’ll just show myself out

Linda invites her friend over… just in time for Malcolm to also arrive and mistakingly kill Andrea off.

Malcolm also mistakes Linda for his ex-wife and tries to kill her.

Linda runs out to the shed where his ex-wife has hidden all of Malcolm’s possessions. He’s distracted by his old motorcycle helmet and typewriter just long enough for Linda to escape back to the main house where she convinces Chris to commit patricide by guillotine.

Great idea, Linda.

She runs downstairs to call for the police… as Chris sneaks up on her with his father’s butcher knife and…

The end.

Was he about to commit murder like his father or was it just another trick?

I guess we’ll have to wait for the sequel, from this 1982 movie, to be released so we can find out! (I’m not holding my breath)

3 THINGS WE LEARNED

  1. You can have your spouse committed to an insane asylum for any reason whatsoever
  2. There should be a law allowing people to kill magicians of any age
  3. If, while babysitting for complete strangers, you get your clothes wet, it’s perfectly okay to wear their underwear

REVIEW– Hmmm… what do you say about Trick or Treats?

The movie really should’ve been a 30-minute long episode of The Twilight Zone. It’s the same scene over and over and over again.

Chris, the child magician, plays tricks on Linda, his babysitter, while kids ring the doorbell looking for candy… then a crazed killer shows up.

That’s it.

So i should give it a low rating, right?

Wrong.

Why? Well, that’s kinda hard to explain…

It’s got a certain charm.

An early 80s feel, a silly storyline, somewhat endearing characters, and never feels too drawn out… despite the repetitive nature of the same type of scenes.

It has that feel of one of those child-centric films that Steven Spielberg seemed to champion in the 80s.

…think The Goonies or ET or Poltergeist or Stand By Me… only not nearly as polished.

But the fact that it reminds me of those films speaks of the familiar feel (and unrealized potential) Trick or Treats throws up on the screen.

If it had a bigger budget it probably could’ve worked in a few much-needed rewrites of the script, better direction, and more fleshed-out sets and it would’ve been a far better film… and, consequently, a film that Faulty Flicks never would’ve reviewed.

That would’ve been a shame. (I’m feeling so conflicted)

What’s all this mean to you?

Do you like the films Flight of the Navigator or The Monster Squad or The Sandlot or The Last Starfighter or Heavyweights (you get the idea)…?

If you said yes, I think you’ll enjoy Trick or Treats… maybe not as much as those listed, but enough to have a little nostalgic fun.


Seriously, the Jehovah’s Witnesses will stop at nothing.