TRICK OR TREATS (1982) Reviews and overview

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‘ …when Halloween night stopped being fun!’
Trick or Treats is a 1982 American horror film with a satirical tone written, photographed and directed by Gary Graver (Roots of Evil; Evil Spirits; Moon in Scorpio; and a cinematographer on many productions).

The movie stars Jackelyn Giroux, Peter Jason, Chris Graver, David Carradine, Carrie Snodgress and Steve Railsback.

A babysitter is stuck watching over a young brat on Halloween night who keeps playing vicious pranks on her. To add to her trouble the boy’s deranged father Malcolm has escaped from the Western State Hospital asylum and is planning on making a visit…


“Clearly made for the sole purpose of cashing in on the slasher movie boom of the early 1980s using Carpenter’s Halloween as the basis, this is actually mostly a trick on the viewer as there’s very little actual horror content here, no suspense, no gore, no style and a massive amount of fake scares, filler and flagrantly unfunny “comedy” bits.” The Bloody Pit of Horror [recommended read]

” …slasher fans who have to see it all – as well as fans of Graver’s output as cinematographer and director – will find this to be a compelling train wreck of a film. As obnoxious as little Christopher is, it’s hard to sympathize with Linda since she continually falls for the kid’s pranks which do not exactly escalate and are not that impressive even at their most elaborate…” DVD Drive-In

” …the “action” concerns Linda and the spoiled brat she has to babysit. For about an hour, we watch as Linda gives trick or treaters candy. Then Christopher plays a dumb practical joke on her. She acts huffy. Rinse, repeat. The movie’s almost over before anything even remotely resembling a slasher movie starts.” Hysteria Lives

” …comparing it to its nearest likeness Halloween, nearly 70 minutes of the running time here is taken up by Jackelyn Giroux settling into the babysitting job and dealing with Chris Graver’s pranks…” Moria

” …it captures the spirit of Halloween, however vaguely. It’s rough but obviously affectionate towards exploitation filmmaking, as evidenced by a weird sense of showmanship reflected in both Christopher’s pranks and the bits of the gore film we see unfold on the Moviola.” Oh, the Horror!

“Everything about this picture is not only slightly dull but fairly tame and so much so that it could have been a television movie of the week. The only interesting part of it all was the fact that David Carradine appeared and more than likely only for a paycheck…” The Telltale Mind

” …nothing remotely resembling a threat of violence happens for well over an hour into the 92 minute film. Until then, it’s a never ending cycle of the bratty kid playing a prank on Linda, that she always falls for, and some trick or treaters coming to the door. Again. And again. And again. Until death. Your death. From boredom.” Vegan Voorhees

“The whole thing could’ve played out as a short film and it would’ve worked much better.  Even though Trick or Treats is heavily padded, there are one or two funny asides (like the scene where two women edit a cheesy horror movie and the part when a live newscast is taken over by mental patients) that keep it from completely running out of gas.” The Video Vacuum

Cast and characters:
Jacqueline Giroux … Linda
Peter Jason … Malcolm O’Keefe
Chris Graver … Christopher O’Keefe
David Carradine … Richard Adams
Carrie Snodgress … Joan O’Keefe Adams
Steve Railsback …Brett
Jillian Kesner … Andrea
Dan Pastorini … FirstAttendant
Tim Rossovich … Second Attendant
Paul Bartel … Bum
Catherine E. Coulson … Nurse Reeves
John Blyth Barrymore … Mad Doctor

Filming locations:
Los Angeles, California

Technical details:
91 minutes
Audio: Mono
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1

Trick or Treats was released in the USA on October 29th 1982 on VHS by Vestron Video.

On 11/09/2013, the film was officially released on DVD by Code Red DVD. It is currently available on Amazon Prime

Fun facts:
Trick or Treats was budgeted at approximately $55,000 and was mainly filmed in Carrie Snodgrass’ house.
Orson Welles is credited as the magical consultant.
William Shakespeare’s plays Hamlet and Julius Caesar are mentioned.

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