Trick Or Treat (1986)

Rating: **
Review Date: 8/25/03
Music: Fastway
Cast: Marc Price, Tony Fields, camoes by Gene Simmons, Ozzy Osbourne

This cheezy horror movie camps on the exploding popularity of the 80's metal scene and preaches about the dangers of rock and roll music. Eddie Weinbauer (Marc Price) is your typical high school kid, socially ostracized and mercilessly teased and humiliated by all of the jocks and popular girls. He finds refuge in heavy metal music, and one overly theatrical performer in particular named Sammi Curr (Tony Fields). Unfortunately, Sammi dies in an accident, leaving behind an unreleased album full of demonic goodness. As fate would have it, the album ends up in Eddie's hands, and he unwittingly raises a hellish Sammi back from the dead when he plays it backwards. Will Eddie be able to defeat the dark prince of rock and roll and save the girl of his dreams from Sammi's evil clutches?

As a full blown 80's metalhead, many elements of this movie hit WAY too close to home for comfort. Having suffered the endless persecution of testosterone fueled jocks and cruel teenage girls, Eddie's complete helplessness and desire for revenge are highly resonant and tangible. Marc Price does a very good job portraying the pangs of adolescent isolation as rock and roll's Everyman, and the movie is a painfully honest and true to life portrait of high school life (except that he manages to win the heart of the nicest and prettiest girl in school, which is pure fantasy). But the real selling point of the film are the brief cameos by rock legends Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne, who amusingly receive star billing and are prominently displayed on the DVD case. Gene plays a DJ at the local radio station and Ozzy does his best impersonation of an uptight religious PMRC whacko. While it's a clever and amusing concept, Ozzy fumbles unconvincingly through the execution. The biggest letdown is Sammi Curr himself, who is a laughable parody of artists like Gene Simmons, Ozzy Osbourne, David Lee Roth, and Alice Cooper. He doesn't quite capture the nuances of rock and roll presentation and looks more like a professional dancer than anything else. As a horror film, "Trick Or Treat" is exceedingly lightweight and severely lacking in horror elements (similar to other mainstream fare of the time, like "The Wraith" (1986) ). What disappointed me the most was the lack of monsters - especially for a Halloween themed movie. There's only one monster in the film, and it gets less than ten seconds of screen time. But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the film is the contradictory double message that it sends. The film both reveres and reviles heavy metal music at the same time, and I found it ironic that both Gene and Ozzy are featured in a film that has such a negative view of the music that they're famous for.