review for Trick or Treats on AllMovie

Trick or Treats (1982)
by Fred Beldin review

An inert sub-slasher without thrills, tension or even a decent body count, Trick or Treats will disappoint all viewers, regardless of their threshold for junk horror cinema. Genre fans generously overlook bad logic in exchange for action and overkill, but the plot holes that litter director/screenwriter Gary Graver's story are never plugged with the cheap spectacle that might have given this by-the-numbers stalker film a reason to exist. Trick or Treats is predicated on the notion that a woman can have her rich husband falsely committed to an insane asylum and none of the doctors on staff will be able to assess the patient's true mental state, leading to a four-year internment. Slasher films usually take an archaic, simplistic view of mental illness, but Trick or Treats is a flagrant offender, packing its madhouse scenes with giggling, staggering imbeciles for apparent comedic relief. The vengeful ex-husband escapes with the intention of killing the woman who betrayed him, but by the time he reaches his former home, his character has morphed from righteously indignant to psychotic. An utterly silly conclusion features one cast member "accidentally" falling onto a guillotine (which kills despite being a magic trick) and yet another sudden, unprovoked plunge into homicidal madness. Cast as a mischievous child with a talent for macabre magic is the director's son Chris Graver, an unpleasantly plump little boy with the face of a 40-year-old. Prominently billed Carrie Snodgress and David Carradine appear only briefly, and cult film director Paul Bartel (Eating Raoul, Death Race 2000) cameos as a wino. Cinematic legend Orson Welles is credited as a "magical advisor," presumably assisting his friend Graver in assembling the myriad magic props that clutter the young boy's bedroom.