3 Dead Trick or Treaters Movie Review
Written by Daniel Evans
Released by Candle Flame Films
Written and directed by Torin Langen
2017, 73 minutes, Not rated
Released on 26th November 2016
Holden Levack as Paper Boy
Jeremy Charles Singer as Charles Vincent
Raven Cousens as The Girl
Youp Zondag as The Guy
Emma McDonald as The Other
Some things aren’t better left unsaid. The characters in this Canadian Indie production seem to have all lost the ability to speak at a crucial point of the year, Halloween. Imagine being no longer able to tell those annoying bundles of rubbery masked trick or treaters to vacate the premises or you’d don your Michael Myers outfit that’s been gathering dust in your wardrobe! Unthinkable, I know. This film nonetheless sets out to craft several stories within a story (an anthology if you will) without the time old tradition of spoken word to drive the narrative along.
Opening with a scene reminiscent to the squashed armadillo that festers before us at the beginning of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (with a pumpkin instead of the unfortunate armoured mammal), we are introduced to the wraparound story. A paperboy, during his round, discovers the graves of three murdered trick or treaters. Each headstone comes with an attached piece of writing that chronicles certain traits or traditions of All Hallows Eve, all naturally ending in a grisly fashion. Scribbled together by a mad author of pulp (maybe that explains the lack of dialogue), the tales are opened up to us as the inquisitive paper boy reads on.
The first is Fondue, an utterly pointless tale involving a couple of moody teens who, after drawing an F on their hands (F marks the spot) partake in a rather strange Halloween tradition. While still wearing the customary Halloween get up, they involve themselves in something a bit more gruesome than eating sweets and knocking doors.
The second is Malleus Maleficarium, a tale of fanatical religious beliefs in a rural town. Its inhabitants take a passage from Leviticus (20:27 it tells us), and use it to eradicate the presence of a suspected witch from the town, all in the name of the Lord.
Next up is Stash. Homeless teens stalk the local area looking for something to plug the hunger that’s raging in their bellies. Unfortunately these unpleasant individuals are not wholly satisfied by their sweet stash, and begin to give in to a deeper, more bloodthirsty urge.
Last and definitely least is Delivery, the story of two deeply untrustworthy cops and their search for a missing person in the woods.
Written, edited and directed by Torin Langen, the film fails to deliver on its promising synopsis, its wraparound story being more imaginative than the actual stories within it (although the Malleus Maleficarium episode touches on what could have been achieved). Being a brisk 73 minutes long, the segments pass by in a blur and only the middle two stand out to any degree, but Torin has to be given credit for telling his tales with only the visuals. Great anthology films provide little jolts of thrills with only a minor, but enough, emphasis on their characters, but in Torin’s film the characters drop out of nowhere, plonked directly in the middle of the action, say nothing, go about their grisly deeds and are wiped off the screen before the viewer has chance to bob an apple. In the end, all of its great autumnal visuals fail to save it from Halloween 3: Season of the Witch-style oblivion. Now where did I put that Michael Myers costume??