I will always remember the day I first saw Trick R Treat. In what is now one of those legendary Hollywood stories of misfortune turning into grassroots success, Trick R Treat got lost in distribution limbo after Warner Bros couldn’t figure out how to market it, and only played a short festival run in 2007 long enough to develop positive buzz from the few lucky enough to catch it. It was obviously the subject of much interest in the online Halloween community, with every potential development met with prayers and crossed fingers. So by the time a home video release was finally hammered out two years later, the film was already something of a cult hit before most people had even seen the thing.
With that in mind, I arranged a viewing party in October of 2009, on the day the blu-ray came out, and within moments all there assembled knew this little indie film was destined to be an annual tradition. It’s a safe bet to say that if you’re reading IRememberHalloween.net, you are well familiar with Trick R Treat. You know how well it plays to an audience. You know about the sense of fun and mischief, and the authenticity of the Halloween spirit splattered across every frame of celluloid. I wrote as much in my poorly-written original review from the early days of this site.
Of course, I still own that original disc, and while it’s perfectly adequate as far as modern blu-rays go, it did feel a little slight, and underwhelming compared to the stature the movie itself has accumulated over the past nine years. Now, just in time for Halloween, we have a collector’s edition from Scream Factory. So thus begs the perennial question for all physical media enthusiasts: Is it worth buying again?
If you happen to be a Halloween fanatic who still buys blu-rays, of course the answer was already yes before I started typing this sentence. For everyone else, read on…
The original 2009 release of Trick R Treat was pretty decent, all things considered. Special features included a commentary from director Mike Dougherty, the original “Seasons Greetings” animated short that became Trick R Treat, deleted scenes, the trailer, a special effects reel about the “school bus massacre” scene, and the centerpiece feature – a pretty delightful documentary about the origins of Halloween traditions narrated by Brian Cox. I’ve watched many, many similar programs and they’re always a fun and educational burst of Halloween spirit. The one on the Trick R Treat disc is one of the better ones.
Like I said, it’s not exactly a barebones release, but the disc had a couple of odd details that made it feel like a bit of a rush job. One, it’s one of those dastardly blu-rays that begins with un-skippable trailers for 2009-era home video releases, then jumps straight into the movie without going to the menu. In fact, there is no nested menu in the traditional blu-ray sense, with scenes, setup, and special features divided into their own sections. Just a single static screen with the list of bonuses and a little “play movie” link at the bottom.
Second, and this is probably something only I would ever take issue with, the cover art is a closeup of Sam’s unmasked face, which is actually a spoiler in a way. The disc came in a cardboard slipcover featuring the vanilla poster art, but I always toss those. I didn’t know what I was looking at when I first bought the movie, of course, but after watching it I came to dislike that image and wished I’d kept the slipcover.
The Collector’s Edition remedies both my gripes with a cleaner menu system (no unskippable trailers!) and brand new, gorgeous cover art. The flipside contains an alternate cover choice – the original theatrical poster of a solo Sam with his iconic pumpkin sucker. I went with the alternate art, because I’m a hard living rebel who plays by his own rules.
On the disc itself you get a new “2K scan” of the movie, which to me seems pretty superfluous given there was absolutely nothing wrong with the transfer on the old blu-ray, and this is not yet available on a UHD disc anyway, but whatever. All the special features from the first blu are carried over, which is fantastic for people like me who don’t care for having duplicate copies of movies in the same format. In addition to those listed above are four new short featurettes about the making of and release of Trick R Treat. Traditional making-of features were the one conspicuous absence from the original blu-ray.
These are fine, and feature new behind the scenes footage and more current interviews with Mike Dougherty and other creative minds behind the movie, but I would have preferred one long, in-depth documentary style feature covering all this, split up into chapters. That’s pretty nitpicky, and terrible from a marketing standpoint, but a handful of featurettes just feels less substantial to me than one long, broad “making of”. The most interesting one is probably about the ill-fated official release, and how it turned out to be a blessing in disguise by allowing the film to achieve cult status before it was even out.
Rounding out the new features are a storyboards and artwork stills gallery, a digital version of one of the Trick R Treat comic books, and some FEARnet shorts that played as bumpers during one of their Halloween season movie marathons. I never really get much out of still galleries and such, but your mileage may vary.
So is it worth buying again? Yes and no. If you don’t own Trick R Treat at all, then you are doing it wrong, and you should remedy that immediately by getting this version. If you merely like the film and already own the first DVD or blu-ray, there’s probably no need to double dip just for the new featurettes, but if you’re one of those who just can’t stomach the thought of an October without Trick R Treat, you may as well own the complete experience. Just don’t expect a reverent, comprehensive set bursting with features like the Creepshow one released at the same time. This is more what the original release should have been.