• 3 Dead Trick Or Treaters (Videonomicon) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Videonomicon
    Released on: October 23rd, 2018.
    Director: Torin Langen
    Cast: Holden Levack, Jeremy Charles Singer, Raven Cousens, Lindsay Stewart, Ryan Leandres
    Year: 2016
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    3 Dead Trick Or Treaters – Movie Review:

    Written and directed by Torin Langen, 2016’s 3 Dead Trick Or Treaters opens with a scene where an unusually adult paperboy (Holden Levack) delivers to a rundown house out in the country. He notices that no one has picked up the papers he’s left on the porch for some time now, and with curiosity having gotten the best of him, he starts poking around. Soon enough, back behind the house he finds three wooden crosses, each with a Halloween mask on top and a piece of paper attached. As he starts reading the papers, we learn through the magic of the anthology format, what happened to the three corpses buried behind the house.

    In Fondue, two trick ‘r’ treaters head to a strange house and get quite a bit more than they expected from its resident. Malleus Maleficarum takes us into town (the town of Waterloo, Ontario to be exact) where two kids and their aunt bring home a witch with the intention of punishing her only for her to escape and wreak havoc. Stash follows a trio of homeless people who stash a bunch of candy in the woods, hoping it will get them through the winter until one of them decides to steal from the other two. After that, there’s a fourth story, Delivery, that follow two police officers trying to figure out what’s behind the rash of disappearances in the area. None of these stories end well.

    An unusual and at times somewhat experimental film, 3 Dead Trick Or Treaters plays out without a single line of dialogue against an interesting mix of effectively composed music and sound effects. It’s done well enough that you don’t really notice this until you’re a good way into the movie itself, which is a testament to how well-made this picture is. There’ a lot of very inspired creativity on display here, from the cinematography to the sound design to the locations and to the set decoration, all of which combines to make for a genuinely engaging picture. The anthology format is also used quite effectively here, with the movie cutting back to the paperboy in between each chapter to remind us how this all came about, and the story is wrapped up quite nicely once the film finishes up its seventy-four-minute running time. It’s paced well, never overstaying its welcome, and it easily holds our interest throughout.

    The fact that the movie is done without dialogue also means that it’s able to bypass a problem that plagues a lot of low budget films – bad acting. There are no lines to deliver here, and thus no bad line delivery or awkward posturing. That said, the movie is cast properly, the people that populate this strange world generally look the part – even Levack, too old to really be a paperboy, seems to suit the story appropriately.

    Tonally the film is quite dark, never done with a sense of humor the way a lot of horror anthologies tend to be. Langen and company play everything completely straight and the movie is better for it. The compositions and cinematography are often very impressive, lingering just long enough on the details to let us take them in without spending too long on such things. The movie conjures up an effectively macabre atmosphere and even offers up a few honest to goodness scares along the way. Don’t let the lack of dialogue put you off, this is really nicely done and absolutely worth seeking out.

    3 Dead Trick Or Treaters – Blu-ray Review:

    Shot digitally, the 1.78.1 widescreen transfer on this disc is presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition and it looks quite nice. Colors look really good here, never seeming to be boosted but looking nice and natural throughout. Obviously, there’s no print damage or grain, the image is plenty clean. The colors look good but it does appear that they’ve been intentionally desaturated a bit to give the movie a sort of decayed appearance. It works well in the context of the story being told here, but don’t expect the colors to pop the way that they do on some Blu-rays. Overall though, the transfer here is a good one, an accurate representation of how the movie ‘should’ look.

    The English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track sounds fine. Obviously, a lossless option would have been preferable but this mix is clean and strong. There isn’t much in the way of dialogue here but the score sounds nice and clear and the levels are properly balanced. The music plays a bit part in the effectiveness of the film so it’s important that it come through as nicely as it does here.

    Extras are quite plentiful, starting with an audio commentary featuring director Torin Langen and producer Eric Repke. A second commentary find Torin Langen flying solo. Both of these are quite good and very detailed. Langen really leaves no stone unturned when talking about how long it took to get this project finished. He and Repke talks about casting the film, the locations that were used for the shoot and why they were chosen, the look of the picture, the score and more. Since Langen also served as writer, cinematographer, editor and producer on the picture as well as director, on his solo track he covers much of what went into those aspects of the production. Again, it’s a very detailed track and quite interesting – if you’re someone who enjoys behind the scenes stories both of these tracks are quite enjoyable.

    After that, we get a radio Interview with composer Stephen Schooley and Langen that runs forty-five-minutes in length. Although this does cover some of the same ground that’s gone over in the two commentary tracks, having Schooley on board to do a deep dive into the creation of the film’s unique score gives it plenty of value. Langen pops up again in a video interview that runs just over twenty-eight-minutes in length. Here he talks about the DIY work ethic that went into creating the movie, the film’s distribution methods, the anthology format and quite a bit more

    Rounding out the extras is a stills gallery, three-minutes’ worth of deleted scenes, a thirteen-minute storyboard to film comparison, the film’s original theatrical trailer, bonus trailers for Ogroff The Mad Mutilator and Science Crazed (both essential releases!) and finally, menus and chapter selection.

    Videonomicon has also done a nice job with the packaging for this release, giving fans some cool reversible cover art with a piece by Elijah LaFollette on the front and an alternate piece by Haunt Love on the back. Included inside the case alongside the Blu-ray and DVD discs (this is a combo pack release) is a color insert booklet containing some liner notes on the film written by Videonomicon’s Tyler Baptist. It’s a nice touch.

    3 Dead Trick Or Treaters – The Final Word:

    3 Dead Trick Or Treaters is a strangely compelling picture, a unique slice of indie horror done right that is artistically pleasing as it is engaging. Videonomicon’s Blu-ray looks quite nice, sounds fine and is pretty stacked with extras. Don’t let this one fly under your radar.

    Click on the images below for full sized 3 Dead Trick Or Treaters Blu-ray screen caps!