Now a cult classic, anthology film Trick 'r Treat ended up sitting on a shelf at Warner Bros. for two whole years before it was finally released. Anthology horror, by its very nature, tends to be hit or miss, often within the same film. After all, the stories included within such films are wildly varied. Of course, that's in many ways what's great about the sub-genre, as if one doesn't like a certain story, the next one will be along to possibly win them over soon.
One of the better regarded anthology horror films in recent memory is Trick 'r Treat, directed by Michael Dougherty, who would more recently helm Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Unlike most anthology movies, where unconnected stories are joined by some type of host or wraparound segment, Trick 'r Treat took the novel approach of directly weaving together all its horror tales, incorporating serial killers, ghosts, werewolves and more into the same mix.
Despite its current status as a beloved entry in the horror genre canon, Trick 'r Treat was treated quite poorly by distributor Warner Bros. Here's how Trick 'r Treat ended up shelved for years.
Trick 'r Treat Sat on Warner Bros.' Shelf for Two Years
Trick 'r Treat was based on a 1996 animated short film called Season's Greetings, also directed by Michael Dougherty. That short introduced the adorably deadly character Sam, who basically serves as the living embodiment of Halloween tradition. Trick 'r Treat was done and all set to be released in October of 2007, just in time for the holiday. Then, Warner Bros. abruptly pulled the film from its schedule, with no publicly stated reason as to why. Some reports suggested not wanting to compete with Saw IV at the box office, but that certainly wouldn't explain anything beyond a few month delay. Other reports also suggested Trick 'r Treat's delay had something to do with Superman Returns flopping at the box office, as Bryan Singer had vouched for and produced Dougherty's film. Still another floated explanation was Warner Bros. being hesitant on how to market a film in which multiple kids die.
Whatever the reason truly was, the result was the same, Trick 'r Treat being indefinitely shelved. In the meantime, those who had seen Trick 'r Treat at one of its prior festival screenings continued to talk up the film, and complain about Warner Bros. sitting on it. Still, sit on it they did, until October 6, 2009. Sadly, Trick 'r Treat bypassed its originally planned wide theatrical release, arriving direct to DVD and Blu-Ray. Doing that comes with a stigma about lack of quality, but thankfully, fans still found Doughterty's film, and championed it. Trick 'r Treat is today itself a Halloween tradition for many, although it remains to be seen if we'll ever get Trick 'r Treat 2.