October 23, 2014

Movie Review: Trick or Treat (1986)

The horror genre probably has the most dedicated fanbase of any genre. Period. I really don't think you can argue that (maybe, but that's not the point). Even within the beloved genre, there are movies that should always be remembered, those that should be immediately forgotten, and those that are worth bringing up once in awhile. Yes, that pretty much covers anything, but when you are a big fan of a genre, it takes on a lot more meaning and I am pretty sure many of you had titles jump immediately to mind. One of those once in awhile movies is Trick or Treat, the 1986 heavy metal horror/comedy notable for appearances by Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne.

I must admit that it has been years since I have seen this movie. It has probably been at least 17 or 18 years since I have watched this movie, way back before my horror taste had fully developed. At the time I knew that horror was was going to ultimately be my genre and working at a video store (remember those?) I had plenty of opportunity to check out a variety of horror fare. Of course, I was terrible at paying attention and Trick or Treat just did not stick with me. It had some novelty for the stunt casting and the metal theme, but I never cared for it. So, with this Halloween bearing down on us, I thought it may be worth revisiting.

Watching Trick or Treat now, with a different outlook on the genre, the movie is a lot more enjoyable. It is not exactly great and nowhere near a classic, but it is a movie I have some affection for. It never takes itself too seriously and does a good job nailing the outsider kid who is always picked on. I cannot say I ever bought into it as believable, overall, but it is funny to see a movie key in on the whole backwards messages and Satanic scares in metal without really giving it a lot of realistic credence.

The movie stars Marc Price, who is probably best known for playing the nerdy Skippy on Family Ties. Here he plays Eddie Weinbauer, who likes to call himself Ragman. He is a high school metalhead who is constantly picked on and bullied at school. His escape is in the music of Sammi Curr (Tony Fields), a former student at the same school who grew up to be a Satan worshiping rock star. In a twist of fate, Curr is killed in a mysterious accident before coming to play his home town. This, of course, has a profound effect on young Eddie.

While Sammi may be dead, he is far from gone. Eddie gets his hands on Sammi's last recorded music. He eagerly takes the record home and promptly plays it backwards. Little does Eddie know that this is exactly what Sammi wants. The backwards performance frees Sammi's spirit to wreak vengeance on Eddie's enemies and work towards reincarnation as a more powerful rock star. Eddie, realizing what is happening, is the only one who can stop him.

It is a fun movie. Marc Price gives a solid performance as Eddie. Seriously. He fits the mold of that outsider kid who is forever picked on. It is also kind of fun to note that his best friend is played by Glen Morgan in his one acting performance, he is probably better known as a producer and writer on The X-Files, and writer of movies like Willard, The One, Final Destination, and director of the Black Christmas remake.

The director's chair was manned by Charles Martin Smith, it was his first directorial effort for a man whose career has been primarily in front of the camera. He has more recently been behind the camera for the two Dolphin Tale movies, interesting switch from where he started.

Trick or Treat is fun, it is silly, it is never scary, but it is still an effective story of an outsider overcoming and finding himself. It is a movie to watch every once in awhile for a little bit of fun. It is interesting to see Ozzy play an anti-metal advocate. Pop it in the player, sit back, and have some fun. Oh yeah, the soundtrack from Fastway is pretty solid, too.


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