Michael Dougherty’s anthology horror film Trick ‘r Treat has become synonymous with Halloween; released in 2007, the stories are tied together by a mischievous imp named Sam (who just happens to be one of the most iconic horror villains of the 21st Century). Dougherty recently spearheaded a collaboration between Legendary Pictures (who own the rights to Trick ‘r Treat) and AtmosFX, the premier designers of digital decorations, in an effort to bring Sam directly into your home, just in time for his favorite holiday!
Digital decorating innovators AtmosFX, Inc., today announced a licensing partnership with Legendary Pictures and filmmaker Michael Dougherty. This new product will allow fans to digitally decorate their homes and yards this Halloween season with unique animations that capture the spirit of Dougherty’s horror classic “Trick ’r Treat”.
These “Digital Decorations®,” are animated displays that enables anyone to easily project dynamic moving images onto walls, windows, props and more. Since 2007, AtmosFX has been the market leader in this new type of holiday decorating, creating more than 18 original titles, with sales in more than 100 countries.
The “Trick ‘r Treat” digital decoration focuses on the mythology of the original movie, written and directed by Dougherty, and the character of Sam, the mysterious child in the burlap-sack mask who ties together the film’s intertwined Halloween-themed stories.
Each vignette features Sam as he dispenses his own unique brand of grisly justice. Home decorators can make it appear as though Sam is in their home or yard:
- Responding to the neighborhood bully who attempts to trick-or-treat without an adequate costume
- Exacting revenge at a residence where healthy snacks are given away for Halloween
- Turning the tables on an old curmudgeon who steals candy from neighborhood kids
- Re-decorating the home of a homeowner who removes his Halloween decorations before the night is complete
- Conducting a mesmerizing symphony of fire from a cauldron of unwanted sweets.
In addition, the “Trick ’r Treat” digital decoration will highlight Sam in several shorter “startle scares,” designed to surprise unsuspecting viewers.
Horror Freak News sat down with Dougherty and AtmosFX Co-Founder & President Pete Reichert to discuss this unique and exciting project.
Horror Freak News: How did this this collaboration get off the ground?
Michael Dougherty: I’ve always really enjoyed dressing up my house for Halloween, and I thought it was time to up the arms race, so to speak. I wanted to do things with holograms and projectors, like the ones used in The Haunted Mansion [at Disneyland] with projections cast on thin veils to look like ghosts; like in the ballroom scene. I started looking for companies to collaborate with and, lo and behold, one of the first ones I looked at, AtmosFX, was run by two guys I used to work with. It was a coincidence I couldn’t ignore; I was like: “Let’s get the band back together!”
Pete Reichert: Mike and I had met almost 6 years ago when we both worked at Mtv in the animation department. He had come across our digital decorations online, gave us a shout-out, and we immediately began discussing how to incorporate Sam from Trick ‘r Treat.
HFN: Are there any tie-ins with Trick ‘r Treat 2 in the decorations?
MD: Not specifically; just the character Sam.
HFN: Do you have a favorite among the upcoming decorations/vignettes?
MD: It’s hard to say, because they each have their own appeal. Each vignette captures the tone and vibe of the characters. It’s a suburban Halloween nightmare! You’ve got that cranky old man, the crazy cat lady, the kids pulling a prank—everyone is a potential victim!
HFN: Do you guys plan on doing a series based on [Dougherty’s Christmas horror movie] Krampus for December?
PR: We loved working with Mike on incorporating Trick ‘r Treat into our digital decorations, and we have talked about how fun it would be to do the same thing with Krampus.
MD: Nothing would make me happier than turning Christmas into a terrifying holiday!
HFN: Who would win in a cage match between Sam and Krampus?
PR: I think it would depend on whether Krampus brings in his evil gingerbread men!
MD: Sam and Krampus are friends; they each have their own territory, so there’s really no reason for them to fight. They’re drinking buddies.
HFN: What was your inspiration for the character Sam?
MD: It wasn’t one specific thing. I was thinking about how Christmas has Santa and Easter has the Easter Bunny—even St. Patrick’s Day has Leprechauns. Halloween has vampires, and ghosts, and witches, but I wanted to create one iconic character, an embodiment of the spirit of Halloween. I imagined that if Halloween took on a physical form, he could pass as a child, but take off the mask and he’s something else entirely. Sam’s like a mixed bag of treats, created from things I thought were cool at the time: Michael Myers, Jack Skellington, and scarecrows are a few.
Dougherty and Reichert talk more about the project in the video at top, which give fans a behind the scenes peak at the process of bringing Sam to life.
AtmosFX was founded in 2005 by Pete Reichert and Pete Williams, two former MTV animators and producers with a combined 47 years experience in the animation and entertainment industries. Inspired by the high-end video installations they were producing for museums and amusement parks, Williams and Reichert shifted their focus to develop a product line of animated content for the consumer market. Their idea was simple yet innovative: by using a projector or television and an AtmosFX Digital Decoration, consumers could display original animated vignettes on walls, windows and objects, creating an entirely new way to decorate for Halloween, Christmas and other holidays.
There are currently 17 AtmosFX Digital Decorations on the market, as well as additional peripheral products. The company has experienced record growth in recent years, and has customers in more than 100 countries worldwide. For more information about AtmosFX products, visit www.atmosfx.com
Legendary Entertainment is a leading media company with film (Legendary Pictures), television and digital (Legendary Television and Digital Media) and comics (Legendary Comics) divisions dedicated to owning, producing and delivering content to mainstream audiences with a targeted focus on the powerful fandom demographic. Through complete or joint ownership, Legendary has built a library of marquee media properties and has established itself as a trusted brand which consistently delivers high-quality, commercial entertainment including some of the world’s most popular intellectual property. In aggregate, Legendary Pictures-associated productions have realized grosses of more than $12 billion worldwide at the box office. To learn more visit: www.legendary.com.
About Michael Dougherty
MICHAEL DOUGHERTY is a writer, director, producer, and artist who has established a name for himself in a diverse range of genres. Most recently he co-wrote and directed the hit horror-comedy “Krampus” for Universal and Legendary Pictures. Starring Toni Collette and Adam Scott, the film grossed over $60 million worldwide on a $15 million budget. Previously, Dougherty wrote and directed the cult favorite Trick ’r Treat (2009), a horror anthology that stars Anna Paquin, Brian Cox and Dylan Baker. A sequel is in the works.
In addition to directing, Dougherty helped pen the blockbusters X-Men 2 (2003), Superman Returns (2006), and X-Men: Apocalypse (2016). Dougherty is also an accomplished animator and illustrator. His award-winning animated films have appeared on MTV, SyFy, and Spike & Mike’s Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation, and his morbid illustrations are published as greeting cards by Nobleworks.
A graduate of New York University’s film program, Dougherty was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, and currently resides in Los Angeles.