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The Rotten Truth: A Letter to Warner Bros.

The Trick is on us again

Dear Warner Bros.,

Happy Halloween. I hope you’ve got a cool costume picked out for today. The hip guise to wear seems to be the Joker this year. Purple suit Joker. Nurse Joker. Cop Joker. Guess we got you to thank for that. But that seems like the obvious route if that’s what you went as, so on second thought, find something else. It’s too early for anything from Watchmen. Iron Man, perhaps?

Look, the reason I’m writing is because you have a good film on your hands. A great film in fact. It’s called Trick r’ Treat. Maybe you’ve heard of it? I know, I know…that was sarcasm, but you’re acting like the movie doesn’t exist.

The public should have seen TrT (let me call it that for now) last Halloween when you gave the trailer prominent placement on DVD for 300. You stiffed us on a release, however. The trick, it seemed, was on us. Well, another October has gone by and now you’re just acting like the old hag down the street in the big spooky house who denies children candy on Halloween night. TrT still isn’t being seen on a wide scale. If there was any time to release it in 2008, you’ve missed your window. And you certainly don’t want to open it in November. That would look a bit weird if you put it up against your own Four Christmases, yet another tired-looking Yuletide comedy (Question: Where’s Tim Allen, isn’t he a fixture in these movies?).

I’m starting to hear you’re considering a 2009 fall DVD release. Why? You gave Michael Dougherty a budget to play with and he came back with a vivid, visually stunning film that deserves to enjoy some sort of life on the big screen. Those screenings set up by Screamfest and the AICN this month proved that. And so did the numbers who filled the seats to see it. Granted, that’s what is going to happen when you hold a film back then offer a one-time screening. Of course people are going to turn out. But you can’t ignore the raves that followed. Save for one sourpuss or two who insisted it was just “good,” everyone I’ve met who has seen it love it. In the rabid sorta way.

But the critics’ darling is being snubbed by its own home (that’s you).

The reason for the hold-up is unknown to me. You’ve done a good job of keeping us press folk in the dark, but that hasn’t prevented insiders from talking. One source told me a top dog within your walls despises TrT. Too bad. I can’t see the reason for the hate. The film is accessible across the board. It’s fun. Scary. And it taps into a lucrative holiday. The promotion would be as easy as gutting a pumpkin. Open it in early to mid-October, work out the Halloween holiday tie-in promotions, enjoy a theatrical run and reap the decades-worth of profit in the home video release and (inevitable) re-releases.

To address the elephant in the room, yes, I’m aware there are a lot of dead kids in this film. TrT earns its “R” rating. But the deaths are not exploitive, they’re handled delicately and are no less shocking than any of the deaths presented in your Harry Potter series. And sure, “if it’s Halloween, it must be Saw” – how about you prove that tagline different. Five films in, the Lionsgate franchise is still going strong at the box office, but have you seen the latest entry? Woof. There’s plenty of room in October for more horror offerings and I think TrT can easily take out any Saw entry from this point on.

I don’t expect you to make any decisions on TrT‘s release this year, but I hope you’ll consider giving Trick r’ Treat a deserving wide release. Horror needs a swift kick in the pants. And, believe it or, you own the film that could lead the charge in “original” genre offerings.

Thanks for your time. Now, go get some candy!

Source: Ryan Rotten, Managing Editor