Trick ‘r Treat: Days of the Dead by Michael Dougherty

trick r treat coverWhen Trick ‘r Treat was finally released after a two year delay, it instantly became a cult classic. It’s a staple of my Halloween; rarely has a film captured the spirit of the season so well. It also brought us a new horror icon in the sack faced Sam. Writer and director Michael Dougherty is back to bring us more tales in the form of the graphic novel Trick ‘r Treat: Days of the Dead.

Following the format of the film, we’re presented with an anthology, this time of four interwoven stories. On Halloween night, a grandfather tells his grandaughter some tales of Halloween to show her what a magical night it is.

Seed takes place in Ireland in 1640, where witches are scapegoats and are being slaughtered for their alleged sins. One man sees that there is more to an imprisoned witch than it seems.

Corn Maiden is set in the Old West in the 1850s. A railroader needs to run a track through a Native American village and doesn’t want to take no for an answer. His daughter finds a culture steeped in tradition and connects with those who live on the land.

Echoes brings us forward in time to Los Angeles in the 1950s. In this noir tale, we have a hard-boiled detective given a job by a curvy femme fatale. It’s fully of gritty detective lingo as he looks for a missing girl and goes on the trail of a serial killer.

Monster Mash brings us to a typical small American religious town. A reverend’s son Halloween spirit gets him in to trouble. It ties the stories together brilliantly and was my favorite of the bunch – a really triumphant end.

The artwork for each story is very different and provides a welcome contrast in styles giving a different feel to each tale, especially when coupled with the range of time periods and settings. All the stories share a common theme, being steeped in mythology and Halloween tradition. They are fairy tales or fables that have a moral core at the heart of them, holding a mirror up to who is really good and bad. Unfortunately, as in life, both the good and the bad suffer. There is a bitter sweetness to the stories.

The Halloween spirit and sense of magic is ever present throughout and is as joyfully captured as it was in the film. If you can’t wait for Trick ‘r Treat 2, then this is the perfect stop gap. Bring a little Halloween to your summer.

8.5/10

Book Cover Blurb:

From the twisted imagination of creator Michael Dougherty (director of the upcoming Krampus and Trick ‘r Treat, screenwriter of X-Men 2 and Superman Returns) and a top-notch team of artists including Fiona Staples (Saga), Stephen Byrne (Buffy/Angel), Stuart Sayger (Bram Stoker’s Death Ship) and Zid (Son of Merlin) comes this 4-part collection that paves the way for the Trick ‘r Treat film sequel.      Days of the Dead ventures through the ages for this chilling collection of Halloween-time stories: from old-world lovers whose romance takes a darker turn, to pioneers who discover more than they bargained for out West, to an edgy 1950s Los Angeles tale dripping with horror noir, and straight through the heart of small-town America to teach a couple of a trouble-making pranksters a lesson they’ll never forget.   Across the centuries of Halloween horror, wherever fear lies, Sam will be waiting.