Countdown to Halloween #9: Sam

Sam is the governing body who resides over all Halloween traditions in 2007’s Trick ‘r Treat.  He is the physical embodiment of all things Halloween.  He’s the trick or treater, the scary story, the full moon, the blowing leaves.  Everything that makes Halloween what it is, he is an integral part.  He is all that’s evil, all that’s good.  His only demand is that you abide by tradition.  What ever you do, don’t run out of candy.

Have you ever blown out a jack o lantern before midnight?  Wrong!  Have you ever pretended not to be home when trick or treaters stopped by?  Wrong!  Never steal a trick or treaters candy.  Never take more than one piece.  These are simple rules that we can all follow.  If not, your destined to meet Sam, #9 on the Grizzly Bomb Countdown to Halloween.

The development of the character stems from the originations of the holiday itself.  All Hallows Eve is the time in which the border between the living and the dead is at its thinest.  Pagan traditions were established to keep the dead satisfied so they would not enter into the world of the living.  These traditions evolved into the Halloween that we know today.

Sam is the creation of writer director Michael Dougherty.  He was originally introduced in Dougherty’s short titled Season’s Greetings.  Sam is a patrolling trick or treater wondering around after the festivities have ended.  Shortly there after, we see that Sam is being stalked by an unidentified shadowy figure.  As offered up earlier in the short, we know that children have gone missing in the area and we suspect this unidentified man may be after Sam.  To our surprise, the prey was really the predator all along.

This short served as inspiration for the full length feature film Trick ‘r Treat in which Sam was truly brought to life.  The anthology also stars Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, and Dylan Baker in four interwoven stories.  Present in all stories spanning the course of thirty years is Sam, the spirit of Halloween. Sam’s name is derived from the term Samhain, the Gaelic celebration that coincides with Halloween in which the light half of the year is separated from the dark half.  The derivative of the holiday is in part, a portrayal of Sam as well.  He is trapped between good and evil and sometimes falls on either side.  We see his active participation in all four stories, and aside from the brutal dismemberment of Leslie Bibb, his actions all seem fairly reasonable to protect the holiday.  He is the checks and balances of Halloween.  In most instances, evil is punished in this film and for those who were not, their time will come.  Sam will make sure of it.

Sam physically takes shape as a trick or treater.  He wears orange footie pajamas, and a burlap sack over his head.  He has the hands and feet of a child, but revealed during a fight scene with Brian Cox we see that he is not as sweet and innocent as presumed.  All the more telling that Sam is the essence of Halloween, his head is a combination of a pumpkin and a skeleton.  His guts are actually pumpkin guts.  He is indestructible and timeless.

The film was also transferred to a graphic novel published by Wildstorm in December of 2009.  It is primarily a true adaptation with little movement from the original story.  For this reason, I would recommend checking out the film before anything else.

I love Halloween.  I can’t quite explain it, but I know it’s there.  I love the atmosphere, the excitement, the mystery.  Growing up in Michigan, the weather would always be perfect.  The air smelled amazing.  There was always this lingering feeling of haunt and fright dangling in the air.  Fun and mischief were at every corner.  I have associated the horror genre of film with this time of year, and I can think of no better film that captures that feeling better than Trick ‘r Treat.  Because Sam is the driving force of this film, I can think of no greater character that belongs on the Grizzly Bomb Countdown to Halloween.

Keep an eye out as another character on the Countdown will be revealed every night at 12:01 am for the rest of the month. You’ll also be able to find them HERE.

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