July 23, 2009  San Diego, CA
Article and photos copyright Suzanne Philips
Michael Dougherty, Lauren Lee Smith, Brian Cox
Michael Dougherty, Lauren Lee Smith, Brian Cox

Producer Bryan Singer and Writer/Director Michael Dougherty bring us TRICK R’ TREAT,  a dark, comic look at the scariest day of the year – Halloween.  The film is in the vein of the hugely popular CREEPSHOW and TALES FROM THE CRYPT and consists of four interwoven tales set during Halloween night.  The segments star Brian Cox, Anna Paquin and Lauren Lee Smith, among others.  Michael Dougherty, Brian Cox and Lauren Lee Smith hit the 2009 Comic Con to talk about the film, which comes out on DVD in October.

Writer/Director Michael Dougherty did a short film while at NYU which was the basis of Sam, the creepy trick r treater in TRICK R TREAT.  “I grew up loving Halloween.  My birthday is October 28th and all of my birthday parties turned into a Halloween theme. The film is set in a fictional town in Ohio, where I grew up.” says Dougherty.  The film really reflects his experiences during his many Halloween celebrations. “The clothing and masks used in the film are very non-specific as to time period.  Only once cell phone exists in the whole film.  We wanted to do all that we could not to date the film.  We tried to use costumes that reflect the things that I found creepy growing up.”
Brian Cox
Brian Cox


Veteran actor Brian Cox (THE BOURNE SUPREMACY, TROY) thinks that TRICK R TREAT is a change from all of the recent “horror-porn” films.  “It is nice to have a film really firmly placed in it’s traditions.  A lot of films end up “dogs dinner” – without a fixed point or a fixed vision.  TRICK R TREAT is an unusual film because it doesn’t deal with chainsaws or hockey masks.  It has demonic/pagan aspects.  It’s fantasy.”  Cox thinks that the audience will be there to support the film.  “The audience knows how to handle this film. The powers that be don’t but the audience does.”
Actress Lauren Lee Smith (“CSI”, PATHOLOGY) plays the older sister to Anna Paquin’s character Laurie.  Her segment consists of 4 friends who travel to a small town for Halloween night.  They are looking for a guy for her sister.  They rent costumes and hit a party and then all Hell breaks loose.  Smith was “pleasantly surprised”  when she read the script.  “The women are not victims running around screaming.  We are the bad ones.  It’s fun!  It’s much better to be bad.” 

Lauren Lee Smith and Brian Cox
Lauren Lee Smith and Brian Cox
Smith also had a great time with costar Anna Paquin.  “Anna is awesome.  She is great.  It is always awkward when you don’t know each other beforehand.  We all got along really well.  It helped that we were all in the storybook costumes and corsets and shooting in Vancouver and it was cold.  We spent hours getting the prosthetic makeup and we bonded.”
Michael Dougherty thinks that TRICK R TREAT will find it’s audience despite inherent problems.  “It’s a weird movie.  Warner Bros. is mostly a franchise studio.  A twelve million dollar film is not really high on their priority list.  Studio films are a “fear-based” way of making movies.  They need to make money.  I feel like this film really snuck it’s way into a studio.  It’s not a formulaic horror film.  It’s not an easy sell.  It’s 4 short stories with no common villain.  It’s a mish mash of tones.  It jumps between stories and keeps the audience guessing.  You never really know who the bad guy is.  It’s fun and different because you are never quite sure who will be alive at the end of the night.”
You can feel the horror of TRICK R TREAT when it premieres on DVD this October.
Author: Suzanne Philips
Film, TV, Theatre reviewer. Mad Dance Skillz, Crazy in a good way.


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