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Sam, or "Samhain", is the brainchild of film director/writer Michael Dougherty, appearing first in Dougherty's 1996 short film Season's Greetings, and then in the 2007 horror movie Trick 'r Treat. He was played by child actor Quinn Lord in the film.
Sam appears as a seemingly innocent young trick-or-treater, dressed in orange footy pajamas with yellow patches sewn on the front and tattered brown gloves. His large, round head is covered by a simple burlap mask tied around his neck, with black button eyes and a stitched-on grin. Once his mask is removed, however, it reveals his demonic nature- his bald, bulbous head is covered with sickly orange flesh, and has a wide mouth full of sharp, crooked teeth. Combined with his black, angular eye sockets and a triangular hole where his nose would be, Sam's head resembles a traditional Jack-O-Lantern. He also carries around a large burlap sack full of candy, razor blades, and possibly a live cat. When shot and dismembered, Sam's insides are shown to be made of pumpkin guts.
Behavior and Purpose
Sam is the spirit of Halloween night, symbolizing both its innocent whimsy and underlying darkness. He appears in a different town every year on Halloween night, ensuring that the Halloween spirit is kept alive and punishing those who would ignore or defy the ancient traditions, often in a sadistic and ironic fashion tailored specifically to his targets. His weapons of choice are a large jack-o-lantern lollipop (bitten into to create a shiv) and later on in the film, a chocolate bar with a razor blade sticking out. Even unarmed, Sam resorts to clawing and biting his victims. Despite his sadistic and amoral nature, Sam is shown to give mercy to those who change their ways and respect Halloween- just before he stabs Mr. Kreeg, he is placated by a chocolate bar Kreeg uses to block his attack, and leaves the house, believing this counted as trick or treating. Later, Kreeg is shown giving out candy to kids he once scorned as Sam watches from a distance, as if to warn him that Sam will be watching. Unfortantely for Kreeg. Despite Sam sparing him he is still found and killed by the zombies of the troubled kids Kreeg killed on the bus.
Sam's known abilities are:
- Immortality: Sam has been in existence ever since the ancient Celtic Pagans celebrated Samhain.
- Regeneration: Sam is shot by Mr. Kreeg which temporarily subdues him, Kreeg then proceeds to blow off Sam's right hand. Sam awakens moments later and reattaches his hand.
- Wall climbing and scaling: Sam can crawl on his hands and feet across solid surfaces.
- Necromancy: Sam can raise the dead from their graves as zombies to do his bidding. He demonstrates this ability by raising eight deceased children back from the dead to seek revenge on the man who killed them.
- Teleportation: Sam is shown to disappear and reappear from different locations throughout the film.
- Telekinesis: Sam can move solid matter with his thoughts alone. He uses this power to open Mr. Kreeg's door.
- Supernatural Strength: Sam can easily break a grown man's arm with seemingly no effort.
- Supernatural Aura: Sam can cause supernatural happenings with his presence alone.
- Shapeshifting: Changed into the form of a small child.
- Possession: Sam can possess and control people.
- Clairvoyance: Sam was able to sense that a jack o' lantern had been snuffed out by a human rather than natural causes. And he was able to know the person who did it: all by simply touching it.
- Pyrokinesis: Sam was able to light a pumpkin in Mr. Kreeg's bedroom with fire supernaturally.
Sam's Known Rules
- Always give candy to trick-or-treaters.
- Always wear a costume.
- Never extinguish the flame of a jack o' lantern before midnight.
- Respect the dead.
- Emma: Throat slit with a lollipop for breaking rules #1, 2, and 3.
- Sarah Perry: Dragged away and eaten by zombies he raised for breaking rule #3 and pranking Rhonda.
- Chip Winslow: Same as above.
- Macy Rutherford: Same as above.
- Sam Hader: Same as above.
- Mr. Kreeg: He is assaulted for breaking rule #1 and is later killed by Sam's zombies.
- Sam's full name, Samhain, is pronounced as it is spelled, as opposed to the Celtic holiday's pronunciation "Sow-en".
- In a deleted scene of the film, Sam is shown flipping the bird to Charlie.
- Sam may resemble a child, but he is actually hundreds if not thousands of years old, and known by various names and guises by various cultures throughout the world. the graphic novel Trick 'r Treat: Days of the Dead, one of the stories concerns a 19th century pioneer girl named Sarah who befriends an Indian tribe living on land that her railman father wants to develop. The tribal chief's daughter gives Sarah a handmade doll of Sam (Whom the tribe at one point refers to as "The Great Autumn Spirit") that she says will protect her from harm. This leads Sarah to ask if he is a good spirit, and the chief's daughter responds "I would not say that. But the shaman told me he is very old, and very powerful.".
- Quinn Lord, who plays Sam in the film, described his character as being a demon who was born in a pumpkin patch.
- Dougherty described Sam's head as a cross "between an embryo and a pumpkin".