Trick Director Patrick Lussier Reveals How He Crafted the Serial Killer Thriller and His Joy of Halloween

For hundreds of years, the Halloween season has embraced horror iconography, whether that be creepy animals or villains from literature, with the month of October often being a horror fan's favorite time of year. The celebration of things that go bump in the night regularly results in films embracing all elements of the festivities to reimagine them in all manner of unsettling scenarios. That trend continues with this year's Trick from director and co-writer Patrick Lussier, who takes a number of different familiar holiday events and reimagines them in a twisted new scenario. Trick lands in theaters and On Demand on October 18th.

On Halloween night in 2015, Patrick “Trick” Weaver massacred his classmates at a costume party. After being arrested, he managed to escape police custody, but not before being shot five times by Detective Mike Denver (Omar Epps). Everyone believes Trick must be dead, but when a masked killer reappears the following Halloween, and every Halloween after that, they realize the nightmare is not over. With Trick wreaking havoc and killing innocent people in increasingly terrifying ways, Denver will stop at nothing to finish what he started and bring the carnage to an end.

ComicBook.com recently caught up with Lussier to discuss the new film, his influences, and his favorite Halloween-themed films.

patrick lussier trick movie 2019
(Photo: Patrick Lussier)

ComicBook.com: Your film fully embraces the spirit of the season and could become a go-to film for fans every Halloween, but do you yourself have particular favorite Halloween-themed films that help you get in the mood for the holiday?

Patrick Lussier: I have particularly favorite movies I watch around Halloween, but probably I would say my favorite of them is the Tom Atkins classic, Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Just because it's got Tom Atkins.

You're preaching to the choir with your love for that one, it's my favorite sequel in the franchise.

I totally agree. I edited [Halloween H20: 20 Years Later], and Season of the Witch is still far and away my favorite. And I think there needs to be some sort of Silver Shamrock miniseries.

And those Silver Shamrock masks made their way into last year's Halloween so maybe you need to work with Atkins again and continue the Season of the Witch legacy with an ultimate Halloween team-up.

That's exactly what it would be. Yes. They should definitely bring back Mr. Atkins, that's for sure.

Speaking of Halloween, that's a pretty famous franchise known for a masked killer attacking on October 31st. When developing Trick, how did you actively avoid drawing comparisons to other Halloween-themed movies and what were the important parts of the holiday you knew you had to embrace?

I think one of the main things we wanted to do when we started setting it around Halloween is the idea of that being the time when people assume a different identity, and you get away with it. That's the time when you can be a monster and blend into the crowd, that your masked face is often your true face. You can put the real monster face on and go out and do horrible things, which is part of the holiday. I mean, horrible being a relative term. But in the case of Patrick Weaver, horrible is pretty specific and literal.

That was something we were really interested in. And the other thing we wanted to do was really have a detective element to it. I remember talking to Omar about it and pitching it to him as a slasher-noir story, having the three main characters, the believer being the detective who believes a certain thing. The sheriff, Jayne, played by Ellen Adair, being the skeptic, and then Kristina Reyes' character, Cheryl, being the innocent who goes from a potential sacrifice to becoming a warrior.

The death scenes, both in how you shot them and in the effects used to pull them off, are especially effective. Do you have a particular favorite death scene in the movie or do you have one that you thought would be easy to pull off that ended up being a nightmare on set?

None of them were really nightmares. It was interesting that the whole sequence inside the church, where the movie is being projected, two days before we shot it, it took place at a drive-in. But we had 60-mile-an-hour winds, so we had to leave. It was unsafe to shoot in the drive-in, we couldn't go there. And it would have been like 15 degrees and freezing, and none of the lights would have stayed up, so we rewrote it and redesigned it for this church within a day.

And luckily, the gentleman who is the caretaker of the church, was a huge fan of Omar's, and he said, "Absolutely. Bring him in." And then we built part of the maze in the part of the unused graveyard behind the church. And the graveyard, I think the newest tombstone I could find there was from like 1920, and most of them were in the 1800s or older.

It was the first church in the U.S. to have electricity, and the electricity was put in by Edison himself.

So, he kind of worked on the film, essentially.

It actually turned out to be a way better thing, and all of us were like, "Thank God. We're not freezing our asses off at the drive-in." As we were inside this church shooting, we were just so grateful that the weather had forced this choice because it had forced it to be much better.

Shooting on the barge, it was our first two days of shooting. It was incredibly cold. You can see the icing around the barge there, and you're right on the river and the wind is blowing off. But I wouldn't have traded any of that. It wasn't easy, but it, visually, was stunning. It was a great location.

And all the deaths and the killings, certainly there's a series of them at the end, which I won't elaborate on, but I would say that perhaps the final one is my favorite. But beyond that, I don't think I could say anything else.

The way the church scene was shot and lit was especially effective, with the audience members in the crowd being the weirdos who would rather watch a movie than go out and party on Halloween.

The interesting thing is we used a lot of projector light, because you're just reflecting the light off the screen back, playing the classic Night of the Living Dead, George Romero's movie. But that's actually, you don't have to add a lot of light. That actually is lighting the scene.

One of your big breakout films was the remake of My Bloody Valentine, which was a lesser-known slasher so you were able to reimagine it and bring more attention to the original. You've made a number of your own original projects since then, but do you think there are other lesser-seen horror films you'd love to bring back to the forefront?

Well my favorite film has long been the 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers. And I think there needs to be more snatcher movies. When in doubt, fear the pod.

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Trick lands in theaters and On Demand on October 18th.