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Review: Trick or Treat (movie)

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Trick or Treat (1986)

Directed by Charles Martin Smith

Trick or Treat DVDTrick 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.

Halloween 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 stereo system.

Curr 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. 

Although 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.

Black 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.

DVD: Trick or Treat (1986)

Buying & Rental Options

Viewers 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 rock music.


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