Trick R Treat / Trick Or Treat
Mahoning Drive-In Theater - Lehighton, PA
The second to last night of the 2022 season at the Mahoning Drive-In Theater is a double feature of Halloween-themed classics with similar titles: the 2007 anthology horror flick Trick 'r Treat, and the heavy metal horror themed movie from 1986, Trick Or Treat.
The poster art for this show was designed by Tom BiFulco, and it would make for an incredible Halloween decoration even if you didn't attend this show.
The concession building was decked out for Halloween with lights, decorations, and an awesome photo staging area featuring Sam from Trick 'r Treat.
I didn't realize until after we got back to the car that I'm standing directly in front of the lit jack-o-lantern that was a part of this display.
There was a car decorating contest on the lot, and a lot of folks put in a hell of a lot of work and came up with some incredible displays. My favorite one was the Killer Klowns From Outer Space car from The Mutant Mom and her family. She, her husband, and her daughter are three of the kindest and most talented people I've met at the drive-in (or anywhere else, for that matter). I am envious of both their creativity and their drive to bringing their visions to life.
The Killer Klowns car hit up all of the most memorable parts from the movie, including a balloon dog, cotton candy cocoon, a pile of whipped cream from acidic pies, and even the puppet show from the back of the vehicle. The only thing that was as impressive as their car were their costumes, including their daughter dressed as Shorty, complete with boxing gloves and ready to knock the block off of any bikers who dared to harass the Klowns.
The costume contest was projected onto the movie screen. This is something that they've really started to perfect this season, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they do with the technology. Most of my pictures came out a little blurry, but the creativity on display here is plain to see despite my lousy photography.
As always, there was a trailer reel prior to the first feature of the night, but I don't ever remember seeing this Coming Soon card from the West End Drive-In in Allentown, PA. I think that I remember Jeff mentioning that he ran this drive-in when it was open, but I may be mistaking it for another one.
The first movie of the night was the 2007 film Trick 'r Treat. I hadn't seen this film before last night, but I've heard a lot of good things about it and I was pretty familiar with the Sam character from all of the merchandise and other references that I've seen that have featured him. The movie is an anthology with several mini-stories like Creepshow, but they're all loosely tied together as taking place on Halloween night in the town of Warren Valley, Ohio.
If I'm being completely honest, this movie was disappointing. I didn't think it was bad, but it fell short from living up to the hype. The Sam character is hardly in the movie at all, and the segment that he's in didn't do him justice. Overall, the storytelling just wasn't particularly interesting. The principal's story arc was kind of silly, and the young ladies that his story intersected with had a twist that could be seen coming a mile away. I was expecting vampires instead of werewolves, but the results are the same. The only one of the stories that really held my interest was when the kids tried to set up Rhonda to be scared by the wreckage of the school bus, but even that wasn't anything that blew my mind or anything. The highest compliment that I'd give it is that it would have made a pretty good episode of Are You Afraid Of The Dark.
I can't imagine why Trick 'r Treat was given an R rating. My takeaway was that this movie wanted to be the modern equivalent of the classic anthology horror movies and television shows of the 80's, but a heavily sanitized version that tries to walk the tightrope of trying to be edgy while catering to an over-sensitive modern audience. Frankly, I think you could any four episodes at random of a show like Tales From The Crypt, Tales From The Darkside, Monsters, or even Amazing Stories and come up with something just as good or better. I feel kind of bad writing this review because I didn't think it was terrible, but for as visually impactful as the Sam character is, I was left thinking that he should be featured in a better movie.
They played two vintage cartoons from original 35mm prints during intermission. The first was a 1968 Woody Woodpecker short called One Horse Town, and the second was a Merrie Melodies cartoon from 1956 called Wideo Wabbit, featuring Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. I remember that they showed each of these over different nights during the Catherine & Kelli Save The World weekend, but I certainly don't mind seeing them again. I could watch these old classic cartoons every day and never get tired of seeing them!
The second half of the double feature is one of the most underrated horror flicks of the 80's: the 1986 cult classic Trick Or Treat. I've heard this movie described as being Christine, but with a rock musician instead of a car, and I can definitely see why. It's about a metalhead high school kid named Eddie who gets picked on by the jocks. His rock hero, Sammi Curr, was recently killed in a fire, but has come back as sort of an electric ghost after Eddie plays his last unreleased record backwards. The movie has cameo appearances from Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons, and it brilliantly pokes fun of the ridiculous Satanic Panic that had uptight people clutching their pearls throughout most of my childhood. If you haven't seen it before, I highly recommend giving it a shot.
There's only one more night and one more movie remaining this season at the drive-in. Man, this year went fast!