As is appropriate for the two most popular and publicly celebrated holidays, more than enough movies have been made about or around both Halloween and Christmas. There are plenty of options to choose from when deciding what to watch to get in the spirit of the seasons, including-but-not-limited-to the Jasons and Freddies, the Screams, A Wonderful Life, Ernest Saves Christmas, and Die Hard. But only one movie from either holiday gets the privilege of a 24 hour marathon on cable television every Christmas Eve for over a decade: A Christmas Story. If you’ve seen the movie — and at this point very few of us haven’t — it isn’t hard to see why it’s held in such high esteem to audiences of all ages. Quite simply, the movie gets everything about the holiday season and our feelings for it and the day itself exactly right. The movie is probably the only one in existence where the sight of a disembodied leg brings shouts of joy rather than screams of terror, not to mention the most profitable piece of its merchandizing puzzle. A Christmas Story is just the right amount of nostalgia without ever overstaying its welcome or overstating its purpose.
Oddly enough, for a holiday that actually has a series of successively terrible films named after it, Halloween doesn’t really have any movies that our culture has collectively deemed the perfect distillation of what that holiday means to us and also what it feels like whether you’re in costume or not. Halloween has no movie that’s trope-filled and terrifying enough to air repeatedly in a single 24 hour sitting, at least not one that’s been universally recognized. Unfortunately, the recently released Fun Size won’t be able to fill that jack-o-lantern-sized hole, either. But there should be, and thankfully that movie was already released some time ago, after years of delays and being relegated to the home video marketplace: Michael Dougherty’s Trick R Treat. For those who have seen it — and that is a decidedly smaller number of people than those who have even heard of A Christmas Story — deeming it the quintessential Halloween flick shouldn’t be too surprising.
For the rest of you, here’s why you should be gearing up for your own Trick R Treat marathon for the rest of All Hallows’ Eve and throughout All Saints’ Day: