Trick 'r Treat is being called the ultimate Halloween horror flick by just about everyone that sees it. Derailed from a theatrical release because of its too-gruesome-for-Cineplex moments of gore, the long awaited holiday-themed anthology has finally made its way onto DVD and Blu-ray. The film follows four interwoven tales of harrowing madness that are sure to spurt blood all over your living room carpet in glorious hi-def. These spooky cautionary tales include a high-school principal who moonlights as a vicious serial killer, a college-age virgin who's saving herself for that special someone, a woman whose hatred of Halloween is only exceeded by her husband's love of the mischievous holiday, and a callous group of teens who carry out an unforgivably cruel prank. Tying all of these gleefully morbid vignettes together is the truly iconic presence of Sam, a mysterious pint sized trick-or-treater in a burlap pumpkin mask that makes an unexpected appearance in all four fables. Sam serves as a friendly reminder to all those that decide to break the Halloween traditions. He is played by ten-year-old actor Quinn Lord, a prolific performer who has appeared in over twenty-five films and television programs since his start in the business. Not only does he create a memorable monster in Trick 'r Treat, he also appears as a fearful spook in Joe Dante's The Hole and has a small part in Terry Gilliam's long awaited fantasy epic The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. We recently caught up with Quinn to talk about all three projects:
That's actually you under that burlap sack. How difficult was it to emote under a mask of that nature? Did you have to change your acting style a little bit?
Quinn Lord: No. I just really got into the character. I found it to be a lot of fun. I loved Sam, and I've always wanted to imitate that sort of presence. I found myself acting like Sam even when I was at home.
Was applying the prosthetics and wearing that costume on set something you looked forward to?
Quinn Lord: Yes. It was really hard, but I enjoyed it. Trick 'r Treat filmed almost two years ago, so that is nearly one fifth of my life. It's hard for me to remember all of it. Michael Dougherty is really fun to work with. He has a very twisted sense of humor, just like me.
How much direction were you given, or did you create Sam's methodical presence on your own?
Quinn Lord: I didn't really have to take that much direction to get into the character. It was "turn-on/turn-off". It was really cool. When I was filming, our crew was like one big happy family. One very twisted family, actually. We all loved this film, and its being released today. It's really exciting for all of us to finally see it come out.
At ten, have you seen the film? Or is it something you're parents wont let you watch until you're a little bit older?
Quinn Lord: I am not very scared of horror movies. But don't take that to mean Trick 'r Treat won't scare other people. I might want to cover my eyes at parts, but I think it's a cool film. I've watched it a couple of times already. I actually play another character in the film, but you'll have to watch to see me without the bag on my head. I have to say, I am really lucky to be in this movie.
Of the four tales in the film, which one was your favorite?
Quinn Lord: My favorite is going to be the Sam story. Because Sam is pretty cool. He is pretty funny. He scampers around with all these cats in a sack. That was just a bunch of fluff, and they edited in sounds. We didn't have any real cats.
Why do you think audiences have had such a strong reaction to the film, and your character in particular?
Quinn Lord: I think audience really like this movie because of all the scampering I do. They love the acting, and they love all of these cool characters. There are a lot of cool actors in this movie. It was amazing to work with these people. Brian Cox? Wow!
Were you disappointed that the film never made it into theaters?
Quinn Lord: It was a bit of a disappointment that it didn't make it into theaters. But I got to see it in a theater at a screening. Which is as close as it can get to a theater. So I was okay with it.
There's a rumor that your character is involved in such hideous acts, the film couldn't be shown to a mainstream audience? Do you think it's really that scary?
Quinn Lord: Yes. This is a movie where people are definitely going to get scared at parts. But really, it's more like a horror comedy. It has a lot of humor. It was fun to do the jokes and stuff. Like I said, we were like a big twisted family.
Your character stands out as a truly iconic piece of horror fiction? How exciting is it to have Sam on your resume knowing kids will be out there walking around in that costume for years to come?
Quinn Lord: Ahhh...Kids dressing up as Sam when I am thirty? That will be hilarious. Sam is the spirit of Halloween. He inforces the rules. You should never blow out the pumpkins, and you should always hand out candy. He will be around forever.
Sam is up there with Jason and Freddy. What does that mean to you, to have created a Halloween mainstay that will be around forever?
Quinn Lord: It means that I've gotten to the goal. I have gotten the prize. I don't know. Its something that is hard to explain. It is simply amazing. I already have two Sam dolls. They are in my bedroom right now. Every time it gets closer to trick-or-treating, I say to my Sam doll, "I am going to hand out candy, and I am going to dress up in a good costume." If I don't let him know I am going to do that, he might just get me.
Are you looking forward to Halloween this year? What is your reaction going to be when you open the door and see other kids dressed as Sam?
Quinn Lord: It's going to be hilarious. I am going to hand out special little Sam candies. I am planning on making those in the future. Because we filmed throughout December, I dressed up as Samta Clause. I wore my Sam pajamas with a Santa hat and beard, and I handed out presents. Everyone called me Samta Clause. This year for Halloween I am going to dress up as Ash from The Evil Dead. I will have my chainsaw and boomstick. Do you have one I can borrow?
I just might. Maybe Sam can fight Ash in the sequel. Seriously, Sam could return in a second set of horror tales for Halloween. Do you think you will still be able to play him, or will you be too tall?
Quinn Lord: They will probably get me to play a different character. I'm not sure. They might put me in as the same character. I don't know. It would be really cool to be in a sequel. I haven't heard what their plans are for a sequel yet, but I think it would be really, really cool. That would be amazing. I would love to be involved with that.
You're also the voice Linus in the Peanuts cartoon. Have you had any run-ins with The Great Pumpkin?
Quinn Lord: No, not yet. In ten years of living, I have not ran into the Great Pumpkin. I did do a voice over for a Great Pumpkin episode. It had the Pumpkin flying through the air and stuff. Do you want to hear my Linus voice? "Okay Charlie Brown, this is my Linus voice."
Let's say The Great Pumpkin and Sam meet one dark Halloween Eve. What do you picture happening in that scenario?
Quinn Lord: I don't really know what would happen if the two of them were to meet. The Pumpkin would probably fly through the air. I don't think that they might meet at all. But Sam might attack the Great Pumpkin. And win. If they are to meet.
You are also working with Joe Dante in the 3D film The Hole? Were you able to see that film when it played at Toronto this year?
Quinn Lord: Yes. The Hole is about two brothers that move into a brand new house and they find this great big hole in their basement. When they look into the hole, their darkest fears come true. And yes, I am one of those fears. The film is like Trick 'r Treat in that it's also a horror comedy. It's really good. You should definitely see it when it comes out.
Can you tell us about your presence in that film? You play the embodiment of a young girl's fears, right? You live inside the hole?
Quinn Lord: That is correct. But I can't tell you anymore. That is all you can know. I was also in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. It's a small role, but it's amazing to be in a film directed by Terry Gilliam. Terry is so awesome. One day in the future, we will have advances in technology so great, we will be able to look inside his head and see what he is thinking of. It is going to be so cool.
How did you enjoy the 3D process of The Hole? Do you have any particularly frightening 3D scenes in the film you can tell us about?
Quinn Lord:Yes, but I can't tell you about them. Being in a 3D movie is quite fun. I think this was my first one. They had a wrap party for The Hole, and they had the new holographic TVs there. They had 3D screens, and without the glasses, you could still see the 3D. It wasn't perfect, but it still looked pretty good. They haven't nailed the technology, but it was very close. The image was kind of fuzzy.
So you've seen the new 3D televisions that don't require glasses? That's pretty exciting. I don't think to many people have seen those yet.
Quinn Lord: Yeah, I know. Not too many people have seen it yet. But they will definitely be seeing it in the future. Images slightly stick out of the screen, and there is a lot of depth to the film. The 3D is actually sticking out and when you move left or right, you get to see different angles of it. I think we are advancing in technology a lot faster than I thought we would. In 2000, we were just coming out with the Internet. Now, we are mastering it. Soon, there will be hologram films, and that will blow my mind.
I think that might just blow everyone's minds. How do you think that will change you as a performer?
Quinn Lord: People would see all sides of you. You'd have to direct people to go in specific directions. At specific times. It would be like you are in the movie. You'd be in a different place while all of this stuff is happening. I think, when that technology takes hold, I will become a director. I will be a director and an actor. Starting young, I will have skills that other people won't have. I am already doing really well with the 3D. I work on CGI animation on my computer. It's not too high of quality, but its pretty good. I am getting better at creating stuff. Sooner or later I am going to have a high res model of my own guy. And all the stuff to make a movie.
I also read that you are into Hovercrafts. What is your goal with that?
Quinn Lord: I love Hovercrafts because they float above the ground. There will be more surfaces for buildings to be built. And magnetic roads. You won't need wheels or gas. Solar power, wind power. People are already starting to do that. The future is going to be quite interesting. Solar Power can lead to different kinds of power. We will eventually get solar powered PSPs, or something.
Have you seen Back to the Future II?
Quinn Lord: Yes, but I haven't seen it recently.
Do you have plans to make the Hoverboard in that movie become a reality? That is something people have wanted for a long time.
Quinn Lord: First of all, people would have to turn it on. Then, they would have to try and ride it. Which would be very tricky. Just because McFly has experience riding a skateboard doesn't mean he'd be able to ride a Hoverboard in two seconds. I don't think that could happen in real life.
You are discounting the scientific nature of Back to the Future II?
Quinn Lord: Yes! If I could invent a time machine, one of my wishes would be to go into the future. I have a whole bunch of wishes written down on a piece of paper. One of my wishes came true. Paragliding. I got to do that already. Yes, I already did it. And it was a lot of fun.
What one message does Sam have for Trick 'r Treaters this year?
Quinn Lord: His message is to love Trick 'r Treat and respect Halloween. Make sure that you do the rules right, or he will have to do his job. Which means he will come and get you!
Trick 'r Treat is available in stores right now. Hurry up and go buy it before you miss out on the biggest Halloween release of the year.