The school bus massacre scene from Trick r’ Treat has a delightful and mesmerizing setting. Like the entire film, it draws you into the movie and enriches the themes of youth, tradition and legends. We have all grown up with these strange fantasies. The foreboding forest where a town witch resides. The dilapidated house or the strange hermit that is rumored to be crazy. Certain places we should not go at night.
Most towns have these kinds of legends and myths. Point Pleasant has the Mothman. The Pine Barrens of New Jersey has the Jersey Devil. It’s a pastime of the American child. It’s very likely any kid from the 80’s and early 90’s has some story they could share. We all look back at it with laughter because after-all, no kids really did die in that house. The woods outside of town really aren’t haunted. I mean, Mr. Jennings down on Maple Ave. is probably a guy that likes his privacy. He’s not hiding anything. Wouldn’t the cops arrest him if he was bad?
That’s why I love this scene. It reminds me of those moments of being a stupid kid. For me, it was the witch in the woods. Where my house was, there was a large forest that stretched for a couple of miles in all directions. One road had a dead end with a path which lead into the woods. At this dead end, I and other kids from the neighborhood would park our bikes and just stare into the conclave of trees before us.
The best times for this always took place around dusk. Those few precious moments of time between a setting sun and a nefarious night. A street light at this dead end, which gave off a golden dome of protection from the evil that lurks; was our focal point of security. The sanctuary that housed us in from the outside occult. There we had our church-like testimonies. All of us enthusiastically spouting false stories of some kid we knew that went into the woods and saw her. One of the big brothers or sisters of a friend would join us and keenly rooted our wild speculations. Lying to us by telling us they saw her. We had to believe them! If Mike Cates’ older teenage sister saw the witch then it has to be true! She was hot and I accepted everything she said.
Myself, I was always that one moron that would act like I was going into the woods. Then turn around just before my foot met the onset of saplings. I thought I was cool in my X-men shirt and riding my BMX. In truth, when we did grow a pair and actually enter the woods; we never found anything. There was no witch. In fact, my dad would take walks through the wood all the time. He never came back with wild stories or with a missing head! But then again; we only went a little ways into the forest. Maybe we didn’t go far enough. Maybe she’s still there today. Brewing her festering concoctions and stripping the flesh from an inquisitive child that had the courage to enter a little farther than I did? Maybe, just maybe.
What are your memories?