Trick Or Treat!

What are you afraid of? It’s only rock & roll.

TRICK OR TREAT (1986)

Marc Price, well known to 80′s TV lovers as the wacky next door neighbor “Skippy” from “Family Ties” stars as Eduardo “Ragman” Weinbauer, a loser teenage metalhead who is constantly tormented by bullies at his high school. Ragman spends his free time writing fan letters to his favorite rocker – the controversial and flamboyant Sammi Curr. Ragman idolizes Sammi Curr because Sammi went to the exact same shitty small town high school when he was a teen, and just like Ragman – he was hated by the students and staff. The bastards wouldn’t even let Sammi come back and play a free Halloween concert for the kiddies!

When Sammi suddenly dies in a mysterious hotel room fire Ragman is completely devastated. In sheer frustration, he tears down every heavy metal poster in his room, including some really rad Judas Priest, Ozzy, KISS, & Raven posters. Then the shit REALLY hits the fan when Ragman is incredibly given a rare test pressing of the unreleased brand new Sammi Curr record by his super cool radio DJ pal, Nuke. (played by none other than Gene Simmons from KISS!) Nuke warns Ragman not to follow in his fallen idol’s footsteps, but being a stereotypical 80′s metalhead Ragman immediately decides to play the record backwards, and the Satanic spirit of Sammi Curr is unleashed!

Sammi’s sinister voice, his explicit instructions, and the supernatural power of his Satanic spirit help Ragman become a man and finally get revenge against all of the jocks and preps that had been pushing him around for years. A metal shop confrontation with the skinny leather tie sporting lead bully (who asks Ragman if he considers him to be a “wussy fucking weak tit!”) nearly ends in bloodshed, thanks to Sammi’s malevolent spirit. At first Ragman (I never get tired of typing that name!) loves getting the upper hand against the bastard bullies that had been making his life miserable. But Sammi soon goes too far for Ragman’s tastes, and his sinister spirit manifests itself as a demon lizard that molests a topless skank in a car before melting her ears with the fire of his rock n’ roll!

Ragman then realizes that he’s really just a pawn in Sammi Curr’s deadly game of revenge against the high school. Ragman’s dream of meeting his metal God in the flesh becomes a rock n’ roll nightmare when he watches Sammi’s charred corpse reach into a television set to attack his moral crusading critics. (Including Ozzy Osbourne himself in a hilarious cameo!) Ragman then has to race against time to try to destroy the record containing Sammi’s spirit before Sammi can resurrect himself in the flesh at the big Lakeridge High Halloween dance and make the entire school suffer…after midnight. Sammi’s fans won’t let him die. He won’t let them live. 

TRICK OR TREAT is the true definition of a heavy metal horror flick. It cashed in on the raging heavy metal “controversies” that were making headlines at the time, and was clearly manufactured and marketed to appeal to the rabid legions of 80′s metal heads. The blistering hard rock soundtrack is performed exclusively by Fastway, featuring the one and only Fast Eddie Clarke from Motorhead. Fastway provides some really good tracks here, including the clas-sick title track, After Midnight, Tear Down The Walls, Don’t Stop The Fight, and Get Tough. The music compliments the action in the movie perfectly. Metal heads will also love Ragman’s bedroom, as it is full of clas-sick heavy metal posters and records. There’s a great scene where Ragman’s annoying mom leafs through his record collection and gets a steaming eyeful of his Megadeth, Possessed, and Impaler platters!

Sammi Curr is played to perfection by the late great actor and former Solid Gold dancer Tony Fields. (RIP) Tony is absolutely electric in this role and even gets to break out some of his dance moves during the big musical number towards the ends of the film. Marc Price also does a great job in the lead role. A lot of people over the years (including myself) have said that Marc is a bit of a miscast as a metalhead, because he’s just too damn geeky. That is bullshit. All high school metal heads were geeks and losers. The sad reality is that Eduardo Weinbauer lives inside all of us, we just don’t want to admit it. The other positive of casting Marc is that it’s completely believable watching him get his ass kicked. Special credit should also go to uncredited co-writer (and future horror director) Glen Morgan, who plays Ragman’s best bud Roger. Glen is absolutely hilarious in this flick. The “comic relief best friend” is usually a real buzz kill, but Roger is actually amusing.

High school angst is clearly the real star here. There is some heart string tugging drama along the way as Ragman is stripped and humiliated in gym class, and later shoved into a swimming pool with a backpack full of weights. You really do have to feel for the kid as he is continually humiliated throughout the beginning of the film. There’s also a slew of very memorable lines in this baby, especially in the opening scene where we hear a beautiful letter that Ragman is composing for Sammi. “You did it man. You beat this fucking school…it’s like you say: Rock’s chosen warriors will rule the apocalypse.” FUCK YEAH!!! This flick is fairly soft in the horror department. No blood, just lots of wacky demon hijinks including the aforementioned melting ears and the awesome sight of Sammi Curr reaching into a TV set and pulling out the shriveled and charred remains of an obnoxious anti-rock & roll crusading hag.

The biggest selling points of this flick were the cutting edge makeup, visual, and special effects, the soundtrack, and the cameo appearances of Ozzy & Gene. Sadly, “Trick Or Treat” didn’t exactly light the box office on fire when it was first released just in time for Halloween of 1986, but it eventually went on to be awell known and loved cult clas-sick on home video. I’ve personally been a big fan of this one ever since I bought a used vhs copy when I was in high school.I still make a point of watching this one every year for Halloween. I would even go as far as calling this one the very best Halloween horror film that doesn’t have the word “Halloween” in the title.

TRICK OR TREAT is currently available on a cheap-o bare bones dvd from Platinum Entertainment, with a truly shitty cover featuring gross recent photos of Ozzy & Gene. You can also sometimes find it in an amazing double feature dvd set along with the Charlie Sheen/Clint Howard clas-sick “THE WRAITH!” Your head just might fucking explode from the sheer awesomeness of that double feature. These dvd releases are better than nothing of corpse, but I for one DEMAND a special edition two disc release with commentary from Marc Price and director Charles Martin Smith and a bonus documentary on the life and career of Tony Fields! Someone…Shout Factory, Synapse, anyone…please make this happen as soon as possible! What are you afraid of? It’s only rock & roll!

 

KEEP THE BLOOD FLOWING!!!

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