This film brought my appreciation of genre cinema to a whole new level when I first saw it as an impressionable kid way back in the mists of time. Mixing together 80s horror tropes with 80s hard rock and metal, a misfit outsider kid and cameos from Ozzy and Gene Simmons, Trick Or Treat blew my mind. It comes in for some flack from some people due to some script inconsistencies and a fair few cliches, but I love it so damn much I don't care about what the naysayers may think of it.
Very much in the vein of a Nightmare on Elm Street movie, Trick Or Treat feels very much like the makers were trying to set off a franchise, but that didn't pan out. However, the mix of comedy, horror and rock music works perfectly for me and still to this day provides me with a huge amount of entertainment value. From the second the film starts and we hear the opening notes of Fastway's awesome soundtrack, Trick Or Treat drags me in and makes me its own for the duration.
The plot was the perfect concept for my young mind at the time - a young metalhead invokes the demonic version of his recently-deceased musical idol via subliminal messages on an album, and chaos ensues while the demonic form of Sammi Curr (Tony Fields) wreaks havoc on all and sundry.
It starts out as Sammi giving our hero Eddie Weinbauer (Marc Price) what he wants, in the form of entertaining revenge against high school bullies, but things soon take a much more sinister turn and people start to die. eddie ends up waging war against Sammi, resulting in a climactic showdown at a radio station studio after a Carrie-esque massacre at the high school.
There are so many things about the film that I connected with as a kid, and those things still resonate with me now. Eddie Weinbauer is an unpopular metalhead, a bit of a geek, and thoroughly despised by the cool kids at school. That was me in a nutshell back in the day. As soon as I saw Eddie's bedroom (an awesome attic room stuffed with metal albums, metal posters and believable clutter) I could relate to Eddie, and I could also relate to the esteem in which he holds the rock star Sammi Curr.
Like many young and impressionable rock fans, I believed that rock and metal would never die (a thought I maintain and am constantly justified in), and often dreamed of getting caught up in some supernatural battle for survival (don't we all have days like that?). Plus I always also wanted to meet a girl like Leslie (Lisa Orgolini) because she's actually a pretty nice character, and I was a sucker for 80s teen movies in my own teens during the bland and annoying 1990s. For me, Trick Or Treat has everything – horror, comedy, metal, a geek as the main character, comeuppance for the jocks, lightning effects, cameos from rock legends and a tale of the underdog overcoming the odds.
Of course, the film is absolute fluff of the highest order and in no way a masterpiece of cinematic artistry, but dammit, I love this bloody film so much I have a shrine to it in our house. Seriously. I have the vinyl soundtrack framed, the VHS release poster framed, the original big-box rental VHS and the soundtrack on CD, as well as clippings and posters from horror magazines of the era.
The film has some weak parts, such as the tacked-on scene in the second act where a girl listens to Sammi's possessed tape and somehow her clothes vanish, followed by the appearance of a demon flicking its tongue over her. This wasn't just needless- it wasn't even in the script! It suffers from a few plot inconsistencies and the fact that Sammi, as awesome as he is, just isn't scary in the slightest. You just kinda see him and think he's cool.
Trick Or Treat is the perfect film for my addiction, and remains a firm favourite of the VHS era and the 80s metal scene that I have always loved so much. Trick or Treat is mostly a treat, and I will always love it for what it is – fun. Now you must go and watch it and appreciate it for the piece of perfect trashy art that it is. As I bid farewell at last to Diary Of A Genre Addict, I shall go and do the same in celebration of the film, the Diary, you brilliant people reading this and everyone like us.
Andrew Hawnt, 2014
TRICK OR TREAT - TRAILER
Thank you all so much for joining me on this journey. Thank you for fuelling my addiction to genre cinema. Thank you all for being just as screwed-up as me. Thank you for reading. I hope we meet again.