TRICK OR TREAT (1986)
The last few years have brought us a number of cool heavy metal documentary films, but few and far between are the actual fiction movies with an overt metal theme. One of my favorites has always been the 1986 film, “Trick or Treat.”
Not to be confused with the 2007 film, “Trick ‘r Treat”, our 1986 film tells the tale of perennial loser and metalhead Eddie “Ragman” Weinbauer. Eddie’s walls are adorned with posters of Judas Priest, Lizzy Borden, Anthrax, Ozzy Osbourne, and Twisted Sister, but his favorite metal artist is the fictional Sammi Curr.
The movie opens with Eddie writing a letter to his hero. We then see Eddie at school and meet the girl he has a crush on and the jocks that torment him. When Eddie finds out that Sammi Curr has died in a hotel fire, he loses his shit and in a rage tears down all the aforementioned posters, stopping just short of trashing his Sammi Curr poster.
Eddie visits his radio DJ friend “Nuke” to commiserate. A bearded cowboy hat-wearing Gene Simmons plays “Nuke.” After a discussion where “Nuke” tells him that he didn’t know the real Sammi, “Nuke” gives Eddie a copy of the unreleased vinyl acetate of Sammi Curr’s final album.
Eddie tries to hook up with his crush, Leslie, and she invites him to an after hours pool party at the school, which is attended of course by all the jocks and beautiful people. An uncomfortable Eddie tries to fit in so he can spend some time with Leslie, but ends up being made a fool of by the bullies once again.
Depressed, Eddie finally listens to the album that “Nuke” gave him, and has a dream about Sammi Curr in a burning hotel room performing some ritual within a burning circle of flame. Eddie wakes to the record skipping and repeating on what seems to be a backward message. He plays the record backwards and begins receiving messages that inspire him to get revenge on his tormentors.
While Eddie finally starts getting some of his self-respect back, things eventually go too far and shit starts to get a little too real. I’ll let you watch the movie for yourself to find out what happens from there.
Gene Simmons isn’t the only metal madman to make an appearance. Ozzy Osbourne has a brief cameo as a TV evangelist preaching the evils of rock and roll music.
My favorite part of this movie, and one that I haven’t touched on at all yet, is the soundtrack. The entire soundtrack was recorded by Fastway, and let me tell you, the songs are killer. This turned out to be my favorite Fastway album, and one that still shows up today on best-of lists from the 80s.
In 1986 when I saw the movie for the first time at the State Theater in Ann Arbor, Michigan, I was so happy to have a movie about heavy metal that I was blind to the film’s faults and loved it unconditionally. All these years later, I can see how campy and cheesy the movie really is, but now I have a fond nostalgic feeling towards the film, so I still enjoy it.
The movie plays into all the clichés about heavy metal and Satanism, but I still think it’s a fun film to watch when I’m feeling down and persecuted by the rest of the world. So check this movie out; you can pick it up from Netflix or order your own copy from Amazon. At the very least, check out the great soundtrack.