Halloween isn’t exactly a taboo or transgressive part of American culture – especially in today’s climate of political correctness and heightened parental supervision, which has sanded off some of the holiday’s more dangerous edges and ushered forth a safer, softer version of “spooky.”
But, step back and really consider the customs of this particular celebration, and the outright weirdness of it all really begins to reveal itself. Think about it: on one specific night each year, it’s perfectly normal for masked strangers to walk onto your property, demand an offering of goods, and issue a thinly veiled threat of mischief and/or mayhem if you don’t comply. Pretty bizarre, isn’t it?
“Wants to be both a slasher flick and a home-invasion thriller…”
Of course, that kind of thinking discounts the fact that there’s a real innocence and sweetness to Halloween, as well – anyone who’s so buttoned-up that they can’t happily share some inexpensive candy with the neighborhood kids or good-naturedly gush over a homemade Wonder Woman or Buzz Lightyear costume is probably no fun the other 364 days of the year, either. But still, this hasn’t stopped lots of horror filmmakers from using Halloween tradition as a springboard for all manner of terror and carnage, much of which specifically revolves around the practice of trick-or-treating. In a wildly influential movie that is, right down to its title, the definitive cinematic treatment of the Halloween holiday, John Carpenter posed the question best: on a night when superstition tells us that evil and death are as close to this world as they can possibly get, can you really trust your fellow human beings (especially when they’re, say, hidden behind a dead-eyed William Shatner mask)?
Writer/director Brian Coyne’s Bad Apples is the latest film to exploit this idea, and while, quality-wise, it’s not in the same ballpark as Carpenter’s classic, it proves that the premise – much like Michael Myers himself – will never stay dead for long.