Trick or Treat (1986)
by Charles Martin Smith
Trick or Treat is
an 80s horror movie that should appeal to anyone who loves rock 'n'
roll and prefers supernatural horror over blood and gore. The central
character is a high school student named Eddie Weinbauer (Marc
Price)—Ragman to his friends, but he doesn't have many of these. Eddie
is one of those kids who does not fit in at school and is constantly
bullied and humiliated by the high school jocks. He's also a metalhead,
and a fan of Slayer, Anthrax, Kiss, and many other metal bands, but his
rock idol of choice is a rather angry individual called Sammi Curr
(Tony Fields) and the opening scene finds Eddie jotting down his list
of woes in a letter to Curr, and the easy manner in which he shares his
frustration suggests a regular correspondence. Eddie feels the rocker
is the only one who understands how he feels because he grew up in the
same town, went to the same school, and—as Eddies sees it—rose above
all the crap.
is coming up and Curr had the intention to returning to town to perform
at the Lakeridge High Halloween Ball, but the town council blocked his
request because they believe he set a bad example. Eddie is naturally
disappointed that he will be robbed of the chance to meet his idol, but
his frustration soon turns to anguish when his hero dies in a
mysterious hotel fire.
Not long after Curr's death, Eddie visits the local
radio station to talk to his DJ friend Nuke (Gene Simmons). Nuke grew
up with Curr and is under no illusions about the dead rocker, who he
describes as being "always angry", but seeing how badly Eddie is
grieving, Nuke gives him a demo record containing Curr's last
recording. It is the only copy in the world and Eddie is over the moon
with it, but later finds hidden messages when he plays the record
backwards, and then discovers he can communicate with Curr via his
promises to help Eddie get even with the school bullies, but his
methods of getting even are as hard core as his music and would cost
the bullies their lives. Eddie may have an axe to grind, but he does
not want to kill anyone. The wheels have been set in motion though, and
there is no going back. Curr has his own agenda and he warns Eddie,
"You should be loyal to your heroes. They could turn on you." In the
end that is exactly what happens and by that point the dead rocker has
developed the ability to materialize through audio systems throughout
the town and has every intention performing at the Halloween ball.
It's hard not to like this movie. It has a strong cast and the
soundtrack rocks in all the right places and is always a perfect fit
for the onscreen activity. Marc Price provides a believable performance
as the rebelling teen who has had enough, but still refuses to cross
the ethical boundaries required to keep on the right side of his idol.
Kiss leadman Gene Simmons puts in an equally good performance as
Stetson-wearing, hip DJ, Nuke, but he only makes a couple of brief
appearances throughout the entire movie. For my money though, Tony
Fields steals the show, and looks every bit the part as angry rocker
Sammi Curr—dead, but not forgotten and still rocking with attitude even
though half his face has been burned off in the fire.
a dark vibe is sustained throughout the movie, Trick or Treat is
also rather amusing in places and the scene where Eddie's friend Roger
is trying to clean up the incinerated remains of a high school teacher
is worthy of a smile just for the determined way as he runs the vacuum
cleaner back and forth over the carpet.
Sabbath singer, Ozzy Osbourne also puts in a couple of appearances. He
plays a TV minister who is critical of the suggestive content and
obscenity in Curr's music. It is strange to see the self-proclaimed
prince of darkness playing such a clean-cut guy, and there is a certain
amount of irony involved because Ozzy is known for biting the head off
a live bat on stage, and once scene in the movie shows Curr biting a
live snake in half, as part of his stage routine. The scene is also
notable because it is possibly the only one that shows any blood.
who are used to fast paced movies, with blood and guts by the
bucketful, may not be too impressed with Trick or Treat.
It's pretty tame by modern standards, but the movie works just fine
without the need for shock tactics. It is a supernatural horror movie,
with a little humour thrown in here and there to lighten things up.
It's never laugh out loud funny, and viewers are not likely to soil
their pants in fear, but Trick
or Treat is a very entertaining movie that should be of
particular interest to anyone who has fond memories of the 80s and 80s