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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 horror film Trick 'r Treat. He was played by child actor Quinn Lord in the film. Appearing as a seemingly innocent masked trick-or-treater, Sam is revealed to be a demonic pumpkin-like creature who acts as the enforcer for the rules and traditions of Halloween, and is willing to do anything to make sure these rules are honored. A fan's viewpoint might be that Sam is the embodiment of Halloween in a more modern sense.
Sam's name originates from Samhain, the origins of Halloween itself. He is depicted as a child dressed in a Halloween costume, which consists of an orange set of pajamas, and a mask made of a burlap sack with buttons for eyes. Sam drags a dirty sack around with him throughout the film, but its contents are unknown, presumably candy (although the blood stains on the sack and the cat screeching when he drags it down the stairs would strongly suggest otherwise). Despite his childlike appearance, it is established that Sam is more demonic than he appears, hiding a pumpkin-shaped head resembling a skull. Dougherty described Sam's head as a cross "between an embryo and a pumpkin". Quinn Lord, who plays Sam in the film, described his character as being a demon who was born in a pumpkin patch.
Behavior and Purpose
Sam acts very much like a child, being mischievous and appearing to love chocolate. In a deleted scene of the film, Sam is shown flipping the bird to Charlie. Sam is the personified being of Halloween itself as well as the enforcer of its traditions and rules. He visits a different town every year on Halloween and appears in Trick 'r Treat to enforce the rules of the holiday and punish those who ignore and defy them. As enforcer of the rules and rituals of Halloween, Sam takes it upon himself to punish those who break tradition in the most brutal and mischievous way possible. Interestingly enough, Sam's killings seem to demonstrate a cruel sense of irony. For example, his attempted killing of Mr. Kreeg involved Kreeg falling down a flight of stairs covered with candy, razor blades, and broken glass. This was of course after Kreeg angered Sam by not handing out trick-or-treating candy. Sam utilizes his weapons: Creating a sharp blade from a half-bitten lollipop and using a razor blade hidden inside a chocolate bar.
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.
- Fear Manipulation: Sam seems able to project fear into the hearts of even men.
- 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.
- Magical Knowledge: Sam has more than 2,000 years worth of knowledge and experience in many forms of Magic including Dark Magic and Witchcraft.
- 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.
Sam's known rules
- Always give candy to Trick or Treaters
- Always wear a costume
- Don't extinguish the flame of a Jack-o-Lantern before midnight
- Respect the dead
- Emma: Throat slit with a lollipop for breaking rule#1,2,& 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 spite of his childlike appearance, Sam is apparently hundreds if not thousands of years old, and known by many cultures around the world in one way or another. In 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."