It’s hard to believe now, but Michael Dougherty’s Halloween anthology Trick ‘r Treat almost didn’t get released at all. Bowing theatrically at a festival or two, the once-hyped project went quickly to DVD, garnered a cult following, and has now become a seasonal staple on cable akin to A Christmas Story. Part of its lasting appeal can be attributed to its scary-cute mascot, Sam – a boy in a sackcloth mask with a pumpkin-shaped head, who’ll stab you in the neck with a jagged lollipop if you disrespect the unwritten rules of the horror holiday.
This coming Monday at 7:30 p.m., a star-studded screening in Hollywood will take place at 7:30 p.m. PST that you can follow online at Legendary Entertainment’s Facebook Page. In attendance will be Dougherty, Brian Cox, Dylan Baker…and Sam himself, Quinn Lord, who is now a teenager with a lengthy list of credits that includes Supernatural, Smallville, and movies by Terry Gilliam and Joe Dante.
I was delighted to speak to Lord about his days as the Ghost of Halloween Past…
Luke Y. Thompson: Your career is incredibly impressive from an early age. I looked you up and thought this might be your only role, but you’ve got a resume that would make anybody jealous with all the sci-fi and horror. Was this always the kind of stuff you were interested in? Because it’s from such a young age, I wondered if that was your interest initially, or your parents, or your agents, or whatever.
Quinn Lord: It was definitely my interest, and I remember in the very early years of my career, I was doing lots of commercials – “Smile for the camera! Smile for the camera!” – and I was like, “Ugh. I’m sick of smiling. Let’s do some creepy stuff.” Then I continued on, doing – I was on Smallville, Supernatural and quite a lot of other horror and other serious kinds of movies, and I remember I really enjoyed working on Trick ‘r Treat because it was serious, but at the same time it gave you sort of a laugh at some parts too.
I remember one of my personal favorite scenes – I’m not even sure if it made it into the movie; I think it might be a deleted scene. My character, Sam, throws an egg at the character Charlie, and then Charlie looks around to say “Wha-wha-wha-what just happened?” And then he turns around and sees me, I flip him the bird and run away. I remember that was one of my favorite scenes to do because you couldn’t see my face – I was smiling throughout the entire scene!
LYT: Was it a big change for you to have as much make-up and special effects? I’m assuming maybe you had a harness when you were walking on the walls and ceiling and stuff.
QL: Oh – yes, there was a harness involved for the ceilings, but for that small bit, that wasn’t actually me. That was my stunt double for when I was walking down the ceiling until I got all the way down onto the floor and got shot a couple of times. That was not me.
LYT: Was it you when the face was revealed?
QL: I did get to wear the mask, but also the scene where the mask was torn off, that was the only other part that was not me. Everything else in the entire movie was me.
LYT: With the combination of the movie not coming out right away and you being so young having done it, how long did it take before friends of yours who were your own age started seeing the movie, and sort of started being impressed by the fact that you were in this one, or maybe making fun of you for it, or whatever? How long was it before that awareness got out among your peers?
QL: I remember I worked on it in 2007, and then it was released in 2009, I think it was – and then I think I bought the DVD and I watched it, and then I think it was a couple of months later that everyone was starting to talk about it, and it was already getting quite a fan following, within a few months of its release. It just continued to grow from there, and it was quite the interesting thing to watch, to watch this fan base just grow and grow and grow, like the sky’s the limit.
LYT: How cool is it to have an action figure of yourself?
QL: I think that is the coolest thing, I swear! I always wanted an action figure of myself. I’ve got the small action figure still in its box with a little ribbon on it that I still haven’t taken off. I also have the 15″ vinyl figure, which I thought was just the coolest thing. It’s perfect for hiding under a bed.
This goes for $85 now…
LYT: As a teenager now, is it weird to see yourself sort of frozen as a 7 year-old in so many people’s minds? I know Jake Lloyd had a real issue with that in Phantom Menace. What is it like for you?
QL: It’s actually kind of amazing, if you will. Looking back and seeing myself half my own age today, doing all this stuff – it’s quite an extraordinary feeling, because every time I watch this movie, on Halloween and I actually watch it sometimes multiple times throughout the year, and it’s just one of my favorite movies to watch, because you can rewatch it and rewatch it and rewatch it, and you can virtually never get bored with it, really.
LYT: When you’re a kid on the set of a movie like that, do they go out of their way to sort of shield you from some of the gorier stuff that they’re doing on the set?
QL: Not too much, but I think that had to do with the fact that I was interested in the gore. I was like, “Oh, what’s that? It’s a big bucket of red peppers.” I remember being taught that on the set of Smallville, where I had to pull red peppers out from behind someone’s “lifeless” corpse, and it was red peppers – I just stuck my hand right to the bottom and grabbed a few and pulled it up, like “Ruhr!” That was quite awesome! And then after that scene, I had all these red marks up and down, I think it was my left arm.
LYT: I assume they weren’t the kinds of red peppers that burn your skin.
QL: Oh, no, no, no! They weren’t spicy. I’m pretty sure they weren’t.
LYT: So I saw you were also in The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, is that right?
QL: Yes, and I really, really enjoyed working on that. Even a small role on such a big production like that is quite extraordinary, because just being on that set you get to meet all of those people. I can’t even describe the feeling, I …I’m speechless for that. It’s one of my favorite things that I’ve done so far is work on such a big motion picture and get to meet all those famous people, like Terry Gilliam – he’s awesome!
LYT: He seems like he’d be kind of a big kid.
QL: Yeah. [chuckles]Unfortunately, though, the people I didn’t get to meet were the characters of Valentina and anyone who played – I think it was Jeff, the guy they pick up later on in the movie.
LYT: That was Heath Ledger?
QL: Yeah. I didn’t get to meet any of the actors who played him, unfortunately, but I’ve got to say – they did a good job playing that character.
LYT: And as a contrast to playing Sam, you’ve also done the voice of Linus in Peanuts. That’s quite a very different range.
QL: Yeah, and I remember seeing somewhere on the internet that someone created a picture in a drawing program, where it’s Linus, sitting in a pumpkin patch, and Sam’s holding Linus by the neck, and I’m like, “Oh, that’s awesome! I’m literally holding myself by the neck!”
LYT: Who do you root for in that scenario? That turns bad fast.
QL: Yeah, to make it a fair fight, I’d probably root for Linus. [laughter]
LYT: So people are always talking about how they’d like to see another one of these Trick ‘r Treat movies, and I don’t know how feasible that is, but they’d probably have to recast Sam younger – would that be kind of weird, or would that be cool?
QL: That would be kind of cool. I mean, if I tried to play Sam again, I’d be like an adult kind of Sam. It would be kind of awkward, in a way. But I could – what I thought was kind of interesting was I talked to someone recently about a Trick ‘r Treat sequel, and I was like, “Hey, maybe I could be the peeping Tom role again, but just older.” It would be the same person playing the same character, but older, so it would be kind of an homage to the first Trick ‘r Treat. I thought that was kind of interesting.
LYT: What do you have on the horizon? What’s coming up next for you?
QL: I haven’t really worked on too much this year, because it’s been kind of quiet. I’ve been mostly growing this year, so I’m actually quite a bit taller than I used to be. What I have recently that I worked on this year – I think it was about less than a month ago, I worked on a TV show called The Hundred. I don’t think the TV show is out yet, but I just play a small part in it, and I got to meet Dean White as an executive producer. He was the same person who directed the Hansel and Gretel Once Upon A Time episode.
And also, I got to meet the sound guys off of Trick ‘r Treat again, which I thought was kind of cool too, because it was almost like a reunion, because I knew someone from one show, and I knew a couple of other people from another show.
LYT: Do people have to get your approval for new Sam merchandise? It doesn’t show your face, so they’re not necessarily using your likeness. Do you know how that works?
QL: I don’t think they do. I’ll have to look into that.
LYT: Do they still approach you for new products?
QL: So far that I’m aware of, that I remember, I don’t think that they have approached me for any new Sam products, no.
LYT: All right, Quinn, thank you so much for taking the time – we appreciate it, and congrats on the movie going so strong! It’s really cool.
QL: Yeah, it’s great. Thanks!
Trick ‘r Treat is probably airing somewhere on cable right now – but we recommend checking out the all-star screening live online Monday night.