Wicked Wendesday

Wicked Wednesday: Uninvited (1987)

Is there anything more majestic than what a B-movie really just leans into its gimmick? Sometimes low-budget films almost act embarrassed of what they are. They’re boring. What we need are more movies that are enthusiastic, as enthusiastic as 1987’s Uninvited.

If I had to describe this utterly bonkers movie in one sentence it would be: Trump-meets-Epstine millionaire gets on a boat with a bunch of kids only to get picked off by a cat…with a demon in its mouth.

And yet, it’s so much more than that.

At a research facility, a cat-experiment escapes and kills its handlers. Out on the run, the cat finds safety in the hands of two girls on Spring Break, Suzanne and Bobbi. When the two girls find themselves without a hotel to stay at, they’re saved by creep extraordinaire, Walter Graham.

Walter invites the girls to join him on his yacht the following day. He plans to go to the Cayman Islands with his associates to evade prosecution for…something (honestly, I couldn’t follow and didn’t really care). But before the girls head off, they invite a trio of random boys to join them.

The whole gang, cat included, board Walter’s yacht. In exchange for joining the journey, the boys must work as the captain’s crew. The captain, Rachel, is not thrilled. Only, she’s trying to buy back the yacht from Walter, who managed to take it from her father when he owed money (or something – again, it was about money, and I didn’t really care).

A cat aboard should bring good luck. Maybe it does. But the demon in its mouth is probably cancelling out anything good the cat brought along. It begins killing everyone off starting on the first night with its poison. It also messes with the boat, stranding everyone at sea. It’s honestly the worst pet you could ever ask for, and it’s amazing! 

As the group is stranded longer and longer, they begin to make increasingly desperate decisions. Sure everyone seems to be an idiot. But it’s an 80s slasher, it’s not too below the standard of the genre. Plus it makes it all the more rewarding when they die!

Is Uninvited good? No. Is it fun as hell? Hell yeah!

The cat puppet is easily my favourite part of this movie. The beast is so hellbent on destruction. Why? Well, we don’t really know why other than ~scientsits~ but it’s easy enough to go along with things. Especially since the death scenes are pretty excellent. There’s splurting blood, knawed-off fingers, and poisoned food. Could you ask for more?

This is certainly not high quality. But I do think it’s worth popping on if you want to have a laugh. And it’s unique. How many other demon-in-cat mouth movies can you name?

Wicked Wednesday: Amityville Dollhouse (1996)

I have quite the confession to make: I don’t watch horror movie franchises. This is sort of happened organically instead of intentionally. But something I’m slightly embarrassed about nevertheless.

One of my goals for this year (because in 2021 we no longer believe in resolutions) is to watch at least one franchise in its entirety. For example, there are 12 movies in the Friday the 13th series. I could watch one a month!

But I wasn’t expecting to get a start on this goal with Amityville Dollhouse. To be completely honest, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I chose this to watch. It wasn’t until I started reading up on the movie that I learned that this was just one in a series of movies not based on the Lutz family’s experiences or the DeFeo murders, but rather haunted objects linked to the house.

While they’re certainly stand-alone stories, this still felt like being dropped into the deep end of a cold pool.

Amityville Dollhouse follows newlyweds Bill and Claire as they move into a new home that Bill built in the desert. Their children and stepchildren are all reluctant about their new home and families. Strained relationships abound from the start.

A series of unexplained experiences begin for the Martin family when Bill finds a dollhouse in a shed on the lot. Bill and Claire decide to give the dollhouse (an exact replica of 112 Ocean Avenue) to the young kid, Jessica, for her birthday.

Once the dollhouse makes its home in Jessica’s room, she begins to notice strange things about it. Her aunt Marla, a New Age hippie of sorts, makes Jessica take notes about everything that happens. Marla and her husband, Tobias, both have suspicions about the house, particularly the house’s creepy dolls.

And suspicious they should be. The dollhouse is up to something, and it certainly isn’t nice.

I think a large part of why I felt so confused was that much of the “whys” and “hows” here aren’t explained. The family see visions, have awful dreams, are visited by decomposing husbands. It’s all linked to the dollhouse, but we’re never really sure how. Demons? Why not! And why is no one recognise that this dollhouse looks just like one of the most famous murder houses in American history? I don’t demand everything make sense in my horror movies, but a line or two of guidance would be nice!

Putting my thoughts together for this one is difficult. Learning that it was the eighth (and final) in the original series sort of messed with my perception of the film. That begs the question: does someone need to watch all seven previous movies in order to have an opinion on something?

There are some really cool moments in this movie. It looks great in parts. It even gets a bit twisted in a V.C. Andrews sort of way. And yet, I found it impossible to engage with. I might have even dozed off for a minute (though that says more about my sleeping habits than the film) judging by the fact that when I rewatched the trailer, I didn’t recognise some of the footage from the movie.

Are people fans of the Amityville franchise? Is it worth revisiting the other six I’ve missed in order to appreciate this one? Or is it really the film’s fault for just this once? I can’t even recall the 1979 movie and Margot Kidder was in that one for goodness’ sake!

Wicked Wednesday: Better Watch Out (2016)

Has this year turned me into a grinch? Because I’ve disliked all three ‘Christmas’ horror movies I’ve watched this year.

Better Watch Out was recommended to me many times over the past couple of years. This was the year I finally got around to watching it after another co-worker told me to watch it (and it was on Amazon’s £1.99 sale). But unfortunately, this one…really made me angry.

It’s difficult to watch Better Watch Out without spoiling any of its plot twists. But the premise is essentially this: creepy prev 12-year-old has a crush on his babysitter and movie seeks to make the audience as uncomfortable as possible for 90 minutes. There is a home invasion of sorts. Though anyone who tells you this is a horror movie version of Home Alone is completely lying (though if anyone would like to make one, please do).

I love a movie villain that you love to hate. You certainly get that here. Though I’m not sure I loved to hate the villain, as much as I really couldn’t bare them. The young actor was incredibly good at making me feel both disgusted and angry.

My main issue with this movie is that it didn’t develop its characters beyond their basic tropes nor did it establish a strong motive. Even a simple additional line or two of dialogue could have sorted this. If the villain was really a psychopath, there really needed to be a final act to cement whatever it was we were supposed to believe about them. And no I don’t think the last bit was good enough.

Unfortunately, I also think this movie was a great disservice to our final girl. I wouldn’t even call her that. You know nothing about her, but still have to root for her. She’s never given an opportunity to take control beyond the first 20 minutes or so. Actually, I don’t think Ashley’s character at all fits the formula of the Final Girl.

Basically, if you enjoy watching a young woman get tortured for 90 minutes – this is for you! But Krista, you may hypothetically ask me, isn’t that what all horror movies do? Terrorise women?

Yes and no.

Usually, women have more agency in these movies. If anything, they’re at least given a chance to face their attacker for a final time. But here we have to settle for a half-hearted ‘twist’ that goes out like a fart. I mean, if we want her to lose, at least commit to it Omen style!

I do appreciate the film trying to tackle the “simp” trope (according to Dictionary.com, “slang insult for men who are seen as too attentive and submissive to women, especially out of a failed hope of winning some entitled sexual attention or activity from them”). It really had the groundwork to be great and satisfying. With a few tweaks, I think Better Watch Out could have been the classic it’s being presented as. Imagine if a woman would have been involved in the screenwriting or directing process. Lord almighty could that have changed things for the better. This could have been a really clever way of addressing the sinister side of women having to deal with ‘nice guys’ would have been really clever. But this film attempts none of that.

Anyway. My husband liked this. Not sure what that’s saying. Many people really like this one. So I really, really think I’m in a very small minority here. As I said before, I’m such a grinch this Christmas I just can’t wait to watch regular movies again.

If anything, there are two very bright points here that make this worth watching: the actors and those really tall door knobs.

Wicked Wednesday: Anna and the Apocalypse (2018)

I love a horror-comedy. When my husband and I started dating, we watched Dale and Tucker vs Evil together on a date. Krampus is one of my favourite Christmas horror movies. And of course, classics like Night of the Creeps and Gremlins are among some of my favourite movies full stop.

So I was intrigued to watch Anna and the Apocalypse from the moment I first learnt about it back in 2018. Throw in some musical numbers and it sounded like a recipe for something really fun and new.

Now that it’s 2020, I finally sucked it up and bought the movie to watch it. I promised my husband we’d watch it together once I finished watching it for this post.

Yeah. That’s just not going to happen.

Anna and the Apocalypse follows, unsurprisingly, a girl called Anna. She lives with her widower father in a small Scottish town. Around them, the zombie apocalypse is happening. But Anna and her friends seem oblivious as they prepare for the Christmas festivities.

The night of the Christmas show at Anna’s school, the pandemic spirals (and still everyone is oblivious). When Anna wakes in the morning for school, she meets her friend John in the cemetery. It’s there where they meet (and behead) their first zombie.

They head to the bowling alley where they work to find their friend Chris there with exchange-student Steph. The group of kids decide to hunker down until they can go to the school, where Anna’s dad and Chris’s girlfriend are.

The rest of the film focuses on the students’ journey to the school and the inevitable climax when they arrive there. An additional villain pops up along the way, but it’s handled so haphazardly that I didn’t understand it a bit.

The tone in the last third is especially uneven. That’s kind of to be expected when you get a horror-comedy. Rarely is it be pulled off. Shaun of the Dead, the movie which this is constantly compared to, is the prime example of this. And I don’t think this musical holds a torch to that, to be honest.

I unfairly had high expectations for this movie. Disclaimer here: I’m not huge on musicals. So why did I think I’d like this one? I always root for a movie that subverts the norm. Everything about this could have been everything I hoped for. My favourite movie is Phantom of the Paradise and my favourite musical is Toxic Avenger (god that says too much about me). So horror and musicals together are not something I’m new to.

Since I’m pretty biased, I broke my golden rule and read some reviews on Letterboxd. Quite a few people really enjoyed the songs. Personally, I can’t recall a single one, and a lot of them made me physically cringe as I watched. So I think it really comes down to taste preferences. That being said, I think the songs shined best when they were more tailored to the movie. Some numbers like “Hollywood Ending” felt pointless. They could easily be slotted into any other teen film.

Sometimes when we watch movies, we need to remind ourselves that we aren’t always the target audience. Not everything is for us! This is clearly meant for 14-year-olds. Hell, I was at the height of my zombie obsession at that age. I would have loved this to bits back in 2005. And this is exactly how this movie feels: 2005. It’s not really doing anything new here that wasn’t done over a decade ago.

Ultimately, though, I was hoping for a horror musical. But Anna and the Apocalypse is a musical first and foremost. The horror and comedy are a very distant afterthought. While I didn’t like it, I do think there’s a niche for it out there. It certainly has the ability to become a cult film for many.

Wicked Wednesday: The Scooby-Doo Show S3E3 “A Scary Night with a Snow Beast Fright”

By golly, it’s December already. Time for cozy scarves, hot chocolate and warm fires… Wait. What’s that? It’s still in the upper 40s in London? I’m still sweating in my light autumn jacket? Well. It might not be winter in weather, but it can winter in spirit, right?

Even at the best of times, I struggle with Christmases and ‘winter’ in Britain. Living the first decades of my life in Wisconsin prepared me for brutal months of endless, horrible weather. So in a place where the weather never seems to change, my body is constantly confused.

This year I’m trying desperately to get into the mood for Christmas. It seems more important than ever to care about this month. So despite the incredibly mild weather: a very snowy episode of Scooby-Doo was needed.

Now. I adore Scooby-Doo, but one thing I’ve noticed the more I’ve watched these older episodes, the more I realise that this show was definitely, 100% created for kids in mind. Each episode follows the same exact formula to a T – “A Scary Night With a Snow Beast Fright” is absolutely no exception.

The gang are called by Professor Kruger to go to the North Pole. But when they arrive, they discover that the village the professor was staying in was destroyed by something. Something big.

During their initial sweep of the place, the gang meets the chief of the village’s tribe. He tells them that a snow beast has been terrorising the village. It supposedly came to life when the tribe built on sacred land, according to their legends.

The chief then points them into the direction of the professor’s hut, where they meet the prof’s disgruntled assistant. This guy is clearly the culprit because he’s the only crabby person in the episode. But you know, just pretend to be amazed later on. (This is what I deserve for watching shows for small children.)

While searching the professor’s hut, they discover drawings of the totem poles they had seen earlier. They go to check out the totem poles where they are attacked by the titular ‘snow beast’. They track it to an ice cave where they discover submarines and a couple of dudes locked in a room.

It’s no surprise when the assistant is revealed to be the mastermind behind the ‘snow beast’. The very-advanced engineer had built himself a robotic beast suit to wear. And something something oil.

The episode is pretty cute. Certainly not iconic by any means. For one, it’s a bit racist. The chief has that accent and the episode uses the term Eskimo. So. There’s that trash.

But Scoob is cute. His crush on the sled dog is adorable (she melts the ice around him with a kiss). I certainly don’t think anything here is revolutionary, perhaps that’s why this episode’s original season was cancelled halfway through. But there was snow, and that ticked my only box. Perhaps next year I need to try one of the more modern movies, as there seems to be a cult following for the early ones (I spy Chill Out, Scooby-Doo!).

Believe it or not, it’s time to begin watching Christmas movies starting next week. I applaud anyone who has already started.

Wicked Wednesday: The Cleansing Hour (2019)

Exorcisms. We love them. Horror loves them. They probably exist more on our screens than they ever have in real life. The Exorcist, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Last Exorcism, Chi sei?. The list is seemingly endless.

The Cleansing Hour (which I will probably accidentally misspell as “The Cleaning House” on one or more occasions in the post) is one of the latest in a long legacy. But when a subgenre is as well-travelled as this one, what can you do? Well, make it as modern as possible.

Friends Max and Drew are a couple of charlatans. Each week they broadcast a live stream of an exorcism on their show, The Cleansing Hour. Led by ‘Father Max’, every week a new person is freed from the demon within them. It’s pretty handy that they always find someone new that’s possessed and always in time for a new show!

My initial thought was that modern audiences would never go for something like this as truth. Then I remembered how successful ghost hunting shows are and quietly stayed in my place.

But one night, the friends run into some trouble: their guest doesn’t arrive. So at the last minute, Drew’s fiance Lane steps in as the possessed. But once the show gets going, the cast and crew soon realise that Lane is a little bit too good at being possessed. When she goes off script, spews blood and sets a man on fire, everyone on set realises that Lane is actually possessed.

The demon gives the two men until the end of the stream to “lift the veil” otherwise Lane and seemingly everyone else is doomed.

As the viewer count rises, Drew and Max must outwit an actual demon. Only the demon gives them an incredibly difficult time. They must admit their sins to the world, watch their friends die and go through intolerable pain.

Each revelation brings Max’s lies to the surface. But he and Drew are finally able to keep the demon at bay enough to begin exorcism rites. Though is that all the demon wants? Or are the men truly playing with something they should have never dug up?

It wasn’t too surprising to me when I discovered that this was initially a short film. It has the right amount of story to fill 20 minutes. Here, things feel a bit padded. I see no reason why this needed a 90-minute run-time. (Dear filmmakers, studio execs and everyone else in between: we don’t need long movies.)

I didn’t really see anything wrong with The Cleansing Hour but I certainly didn’t enjoy it. There were some fun, gimmicky bits, but I found my mind wandering more often than I’d like to admit.

This movie is getting mostly good reviews. Which brings me to the same conclusion I almost always come to with contemporary movies I don’t like: aesthetically I hated everything about this. For a movie released in 2019, it feels so dated. It looks dated. The dialogue is dated. The way the characters are handled is beyond dated. And as someone who likes movies to look nice, I just couldn’t get my mind engaged.

I am sorry. But I never claimed to be anything other than shallow!

The Cleansing Hour was brought to my attention when I saw someone discussing it on Twitter. Their argument at the time was unlike most horror movies these days, The Cleansing Hour actually had a solid ending. According to the discussion, it’s “lazy” to have ambiguous endings.

And yeah. When I read the thread I thought “Oh definitely! I love when things happen in movies!” But upon watching this, I realised I just love ambiguity in an ending. Things left up to the imagination is often what I love best about horror (prime examples of this: Black ChristmasIt FollowsThe Thing). I don’t think leaving things up in the air is lazy at all. Or perhaps the original reviewer and I had two very different things in mind.

Unfortunately, I did find a lot of The Cleansing Hour ambiguous despite its “concrete” ending. I found myself constantly referring back to the incredibly-detailed summary on Wikipedia to help me. There’s no shame in needing help, and I certainly needed it here.

Exorcisms movies are really difficult to make unique and special. At its core, you’ll always have the same elements. Despite the daunting battle to stand out, The Cleansing Hour certainly makes a valiant effort.

Wicked Wednesday: The Company of Wolves (1984)

For years Angela Carter’s work has tempted me. Her mixture of feminist themes and fairytales seem so appealing… and yet, I haven’t gotten around to a single story yet.

But after watching The Company of Wolves, I feel even more intrigued by her work.

This movie could only exist in the dreamy corners of 1980s Britain. It’s bleak, for one, with nearly all the colours being drained from the screen. The one colour that stands out? Red. Red lips and a red cloak.

Rosaleen is a stroppy child. When her parents return home from a trip, she refuses to leave her room to see them or her sister. Her mother puts it down to being “that age”.

That night Rosaleen begins to dream, and we enter a fairytale world filled with wolves. In her dream, her sister Alice is killed off by a wolf. Thankfully, a wolf that is, has Granny puts it, “hairy on the outside” not the inside.

In some ways, The Company of Wolves plays out like an anthology movie. Only here the framing story dominates and the short stories in between are fleeting. Following Alice’s funeral, Granny warns Rosaleen about men whose eyebrows meeting the middle (also known as a unibrow, Gran). She then tells her grandaughter a story about a woman, her two husbands and a werewolf.

As Rosaleen’s village is terrorised by wolves and werewolves, the fairytales march in and out of her dream – sometimes unannounced. As she draws closer to a sexual awakening (of sorts – actress Sarah Patterson was only a very young teenager here), hands and heads begin to fly.

It’s quite clear that The Company of Wolves was made on a budget. But I think that only adds to the fairytale ambience. It feels like we’re looking into an imaginary world, one that exists in dreams and is most definitely not real.

The special effects also impressed me. The movie doesn’t shy away from showing its werewolf transformations. For the most part, they look excellent (though fairly dated).

Now, I’m not saying this movie should be remade, but I could see A24 doing incredible things with the framework. I think a modern take could be more daring with both messaging and imagery. The film seems to be holding back at times. I think that’s due to a few things: 1) the age of the main actress and 2) censorship in British cinema at this time. Without either of those restrictions, I think this film could have really flown.

But Angela Lansbury would have to reprise her role as Granny, obviously.

The Company of Wolves is definitely the type of film you revisit. It’s filled with enough imagery and symbolism that you could take something away from it each viewing. It’s beautiful and soft yet dangerous and pretty disturbing at times.

Everything said – this movie was partially produced by Cannon, which both pleases and amuses me to no end. We love you, Cannon.

Wicked Wednesday (ok it’s Thursday, close enough): Mortuary (1983)

For the first time in years, I actually forgot to post on Wednesday. Oops?

We can probably blame two things: 1) England’s new lockdown really has messed with my perception of time. 2) My pre-order of Second Sight‘s gorgeous Dawn of the Dead set arrived in the mail. I was so excited to force my husband to watch the Romeo classic that I completely forgot all about Wednesday. 

And in my defence, this week’s movie is a touch forgettable. Well, other than that scene where Bill Paxton frolics through a cemetery. Than man could make a mark on anything. 

Mortuary follows young Christie in the aftermath of her father’s death. She’s convinced that he was bludgeoned to death, but her mother, Eve, is more convinced that he died of drowning in the pool. 

But Eve seems to be keeping something secret. One day, Christie’s boyfriend, Greg, sees her performing a strange ritual with the owner of a mortuary, Hank Andrews. When he tells Christie this, she seems even more convinced that her father’s death was not a straight-forward drowning. 

Greg and Christie become concerned when their friend Josh disappears during the ritual. Unbeknownst to them, Josh was picked off by a figure sporting a look not too dissimilar from the ritual participants’. If you’re going to get killed, at least it’s convenient that it’s in a mortuary warehouse. 

The couple begins looking into Josh’s disappearance, but strange occurrences make Christie paranoid.  One day she’s followed home by a strange car. She’s then attacked by a hooded figure that night that she’s convinced was trying to kill her. 

Christie is certain that Eve is involved in the strange happenings. But is she really? Or could the killer maybe – just maybe – be the not-so-right-in-the-head son of the mortuary owner?

I mean. Who’s to say? Certainly not at all a giveaway that the killer’s ‘mask’ is just a piece of white latex that just look like his regular face. 

Mortuary benefits greatly from a good cast. Paxton is wonderfully goofy here, clearly destined for great things. And I’d watch Lynda Day George and Christopher George in anything. The performances certainly elevate the average story to something more entertaining. 

This will certainly appeal to anyone who wants a more sophisticated slasher. It looks nice, and it certainly is worth it – just for this scene alone:

Wicked Wednesday: Slaughterhouse Rock (1988)

Cannibal serial killers. Toni Basil. Demons on Alcatraz. Music by DEVO.

These are all things that, on paper, should make an excellent movie that’s right up my alley. But sometimes what is presented to you in doesn’t quite turn out like you had imagined (a bit like how this election is going).

Slaughterhouse Rock is a 1988 slasher film – at the tail end of the decade where the slasher genre was really starting to feel like well-trodden ground. The film tries its best to shake the formula up by introducing supernatural elements and an absolutely bonkers backstory.

Alex is a seemingly normal college student, only he’s haunted by nightmares of grizzly deaths on Alcatraz Island. He becomes convinced that he’s losing his mind, even more so when his friends tell him that he predicted the murders of a rock band there

As Alex’s dreams continue, they get worse in severity. They begin to blend in with the real world. He sees hands bursting through a wall on a date. His girlfriend and professor find him in a burning bed. He’s eventually convinced by his Introduction to Psychokinesis professor, Carolyn, to go to Alcatraz after his friends find him floating above his bed.

For some reason, Carolyn insists that everyone go to Alcatraz. Guess we need bodies to get up that body count.

She’s informed Alex that his dreams could be trying to tell him something. According to a manuscript by some native medicine men, a white man at the turn of the century had stolen their secrets. Driven mad, the commandant began to kill sex workers and eating them. Carolyn is convinced that the commandant’s body is somewhere on the island and his spirit haunting the place.

Soon after arriving on the island, Alex becomes separate from the rest of the group. He meets the ghost of Sammy (Basil), the lead singer of the band Bodybag, who tells him that she’s the one who accidentally freed the spirit.

As Sammy teaches Alex how to speak to spirits and, I don’t know, hover outside his body or something, the rest of his friends are being killed off. In true American Werewolf in London-style, Alex is haunted by the ghosts of his dead friends. His brother Richard was quickly possessed by the commandant’s spirit and making quick work of the group.

There are some incredibly bizarre decisions made throughout the film, sprinkled throughout to give the film its feature-length. My least favourite of the time-wasters has to be the scene where Krista (not me) is raped. She escaped (yay Kristas everywhere) using her own guile, only to be the first to be killed off anyway. AND has the most brutal death scene. I guess if you show your boobs you’re just asking for it.

Cue hard eye-roll.

The demon-brother is blown up. All is seemingly well. The ghosts of the commandant’s victims are seemingly at rest. Hooray.

This is a pretty by-the-books supernatural slasher. I enjoyed parts of it, particularly Toni Basil, the spirits, the commandant’s backstory and the make-up effects on the demon. But ultimately, it was just a bit boring. I really hated the treatment of Krista’s character. Not just because this is the first time I’ve ever seen a character with my name, but because she actually had some spunk. Just a dated way of handling women, I guess. But that never justifies anything.

And I will not hear a bad word about Toni Basil. The woman is a legend. She’s easily the most fun person to watch and her ghostly spirit adds a fun sprinkle of camp. Her costumes are incredible.

Honestly, I was expecting a bit more “rock” in my Slaughterhouse Rock. It’s a missed opportunity to only show Toni dancing once and with no performance scenes! WHERE ARE MY GHOST CONCERT SCENES AT? A true case where the film had the ability to take its unique plotline to 11 but stopped short at a meek 5.

Wicked Wednesday: Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

I’m not quite sure why Trick ‘r Treat passed me by for so long. The movie came out on DVD in 2009 – the year I had first gone to college. My friends and I were obsessed with the local movie rental place in the fancy area of Milwaukee.

So something like this should have been right up our alley. And yet, here I am over a decade finally playing catch-up.

There are probably two reasons I’ve avoided it for so long:

  1. I get this movie confused with Satan’s Little Helper way more than I should.
  2. Movies this lauded always intimidate me because there’s always a pressure to “like” something that everyone else in the community does.

But I was in the mood for something that just bled Halloween spirit. It finally felt like the right time to watch the iconic Trick ‘r Treat that dons everyone’s favourite Halloween movie lists.

And…

Well…

I thought it was ok?

I’m starting to think I might be delusional. Between this and my enjoyment of Book of Shadows, I’m starting to feel like a contrarian even when I don’t want to be.

Trick ‘r Treat is an anthology movie of sorts. Several different stories are woven together over the course of Halloween night. We have a group of terrible teens, a couple of creepy men, and a group of girls out on the prowl for men.

The one image linking them all is the presence of Sam, a small kid-like figure that keeps an eye on everyone. He watches over the town, making sure everyone follows the traditions of Halloween. Those who stray from tradition or ignore the Halloween spirit soon find themselves to meet a gruesome demise.

I struggled the most with the aesthetics of the movie. I love a visually-appealing film, and most movies in this era just aren’t my jam. That’s totally a personal choice. I’m sure most people will love it. If I don’t like a film visually, I tend to check out more easily. That being said, I do love the shots of all the jack-o’-lanterns. So eerie and beautiful.

The pacing was overall pretty snappy until the final scene where Sam fights a grumpy old man. The scene seemed to be twice as long as the rest of the movie. I was so bored by the ‘fight scene’ that I got up, looked for a snack, made a snack because there were no ready-to-grab snacks, and came back to find that the scene was still going on!

I think I’m pretty distracted by my own disappointment that I didn’t love this movie. There were a number of things I really liked about it. The twist in the sort of the women and the serial killer was fun. Though again, I struggled with the pacing. The reveal was revealed, then just kept hitting you over the head with its reveal.

But I’m still confused as to why people love this Halloween movie so much. It’s universally acclaimed. Am I too late to the game that I’ve missed out on the nostalgia? Can you be nostalgic for a movie that’s barely a decade old?

I’d be willing to give Trick ‘r Treat another try in a few years. I loved director Michael Dougherty’s Krampus when I watched it, and I feel like the two have quite a lot in common. Perhaps my anxiety levels are too high to really sit back and laugh at anything. Without a sense of humour, movies like this are impossible to like.