'Trick 'r Treat'

Things are not what they appear in “Trick ’r Treat,” a ghoulishly fun anthology in which the hot girls are predators rather than prey and the nerdy school principal (and his small son) share a nasty hobby.

“Trick ’r Treat” was the reason I joined Netflix in 2008, having seen previews for it more than a year earlier. For whatever reason, the movie was never released in theaters. Instead, it was a direct-to-DVD release in 2009 and has been a cult favorite ever since.

 It felt like the perfect way to draw the curtain on the Anniston Star’s third annual Horrorfest.

“Trick ’r Treat” is an homage to the classic slasher films of the ’70s and ’80s like “Halloween” and “Maniac,” telling four interconnected stories that flip the script on horror movie clichés. It even comes with its own killer who serves as witness to some of the carnage while participating in some of the action himself.

Sam is the harbinger of evil. His name is short for Samhain, the ancient Celtic festival of the dead that has become Halloween. Despite being portrayed in this and other films as an actual god, Samhain is only the name of the celebration.

While he might be little and have a burlap sack for a head, Sam is nothing to be laughed at (though he does try to stab someone with the jagged end of a sucker). He lurks in the shadows of the firelight as a group of lovely young ladies – led by a pre-“True Blood” Anna Paquin – shed their skins and devour their dates. He’s watching when the ever-versatile Dylan Baker teaches his son the real joys of Halloween.

But “Trick ’r Treat” has its best moment with the Halloween School Bus Massacre, in which a group of kids decide to visit the site of a grisly accident and – per usual – find way more than they bargained for. This is the part that ties it all together with a nice bloody bow.

And that’s kinda it.

You’ll have to forgive me for being a little short of gory superlatives. After 31 movies over 31 nights with roughly 20 tweets per film, I’m pretty much horror-movied out. I need to cleanse the palate from all the screams and violence I’ve watched over the past month.

Of course, while I was watching all those movies, my DVR got pretty crowded. I’ve got “The Strain,” “The Exorcist,” a few episodes of “Fear the Walking Dead,” “The Walking Dead” and “American Horror Story: Roanoke” to catch up on. Oh, and Netflix just delivered “Neon Demon,” which looks like one of those “smart” horror movies.

So my horror movie sabbatical probably won’t last too long. But tonight, I’m not watching anything scarier than “The Golden Girls.”

See ya next year.

Brett Buckner is watching a horror movie every night in October for #StarHorrorfest. Follow along on Twitter @bbuckner32 or AnnistonStar.com/Horrorfest.