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Trick or Treats
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by Jack Sommersby

"Far From a 'Treat'"
1 stars

One of those ultra-low-budget oddities that has to be crazily inventive to be brought off, and it's far from that.

The lackadaisical horror picture Trick or Treats is so stupidly misconceived that it’s nothing short of a miracle that the project got green-lighted in the first place rather than being burned at the stake. Directed, produced, written, photographed and edited by the criminally untalented Gary Graver, it serves up as many scares as a merry-go-round and is about as efficient as an Edsel on its last legs. It’s the very definition of “bottom feeder.” The story starts off at an upper-middle-class suburban home where conniving wife Joan (Carrie Snodgress) has committed sane wealthy husband Malcolm (Peter Jason) to a mental institution: two orderlies show up with a straightjacket while hubby’s having his morning coffee and proceed to restrain him and haul him off; how in the world Joan managed to orchestrate such a thing is never addressed. We then forward four years later where Joan is living in the same home and taken on second-rate gigolo Richard (David Carradine) as her lover; she’s living off Malcolm’s wealth, and on Halloween night she and Richard don tuxedos and make their way to the airport to Las Vegas to attend a fancy-pants party. By the sheerest of contrivances, this is also the very same night when Malcolm manages to escape from the state loony bin and makes his way to his former home to enact quite the violent revenge on Joan. But the place isn’t empty -- a struggling actress, Linda (Jacqueline Giroux), whose boyfriend Bret (Steven Railsback) is performing as Othello in an avant-garde Shakespeare production, has been hired by an agency to babysit the couple’s mischievous ten-year-old son, Christopher (Chris Garver, the director’s real-life son), an amateur magician with a penchant for pulling one macabre prank after another on Linda -- he even has an actual guillotine in his room that he fakes a beheading with; he’s something of a pint-sized, impish Stephen King. Not only is it ten minutes past the one-hour mark when the first murder happens (and the person killed is mistakenly done away with because Malcolm thinks she’s Joan; and it isn’t Linda), but we find ourselves in quite the indifferent position because the knife-wielding Malcolm’s bloodthirsty quest is, all in all, understandable. Malcolm hasn’t been painted as a one-dimensional villain, and because Jason plays him rather appealingly we’re not all that anxious in wishing him the demise we usually would a horror-movie antagonist, which throws things fatally out-of-whack. (He didn’t even kill the nurse he overpowered during his escape!) What’s equally baffling is why otherwise-respectable actors Snodgress, Carradine and Railsback agreed to partake in such an egregious cinematic exercise. Did Graver have blackmail material on them? Trick or Treats has zero suspenseful atmosphere and is atrociously made. It’s the kind of abomination that would make even Troma Entertainment mogul Lloyd Kaufman hang his head in shame.

Any five minutes of "Halloween" is preferable to this puerile poppycock.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=28399&reviewer=327
originally posted: 01/23/15 20:45:38
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User Comments

2/13/17 morris campbell crap best i remember 1 stars
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  29-Oct-1982 (R)



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