Trick or Treat (1986)
Director: Charles Martin Smith
Tony Fields/Sammy Curr
Picked on ‚Äúmetal-head‚ÄĚ Eddie (Price) resurrects his recently dead rock idol Sammy Curr (Fields) by playing his last record backwards. The un-dead head-banger goes on a killing spree sporting tighter than tight leather pants and one hell of a shaggy doo. ‚ÄúLong Live Rock 'n Roll‚ÄĚ!
What are you afraid of? It's only rock and roll...
"Trick or Treat" will always be a sentimental favorite of mine. I personally went through the long hair, ‚ÄúIron Maiden‚ÄĚ t-shirt phase and I was able to relate to the film. I remember the whole religious backlash against heavy metal at the time, the backwards messages some bands put on their records (I ruined a lot of LPs trying to reach Satan) and the whole censorship hoopla that came with this brand of music. "Trick or Treat" echoes that era to a T.
The first hour of this flick had me grinning like a metal head sniffing glue. The story is told through an array of slick shots and hard hitting metal tunes‚Ä¶. I was in ‚Äústyle‚ÄĚ heaven. The lead Eddie (Price) is a 3-dimensional character and is very likeable. I felt for the dude. The film‚Äôs build-up is rock solid and the situations are all presented with a pinch of wicked humor. Witnessing Eddie contact the spirit of Sammy (Fields) and getting supernatural help with his ‚Äúsocial‚ÄĚ problems was very engaging and sometimes kind of creepy. Yes, the film had me by the jewels. During that first hour, we do get a useless (and unbelievable) love subplot and a tacky demon popping out of nowhere for no valid reason other than to justify its presence on the box cover, but I was able to let that go.
It‚Äôs when the dead rocker is let out of the bag during the last act that the flick loses its edge. It becomes a watered down version of the later Elm Street films. For all his posing and growling, Sammy winds up being a big pussy (nice dance moves though). He‚Äôs easily tricked, his killing methods are all electricity related (meaning there‚Äôs zero gore) and he even gets tortured by a freaking toilet at some point (hilarious). Add to that, a stretched out finale that doesn‚Äôt cap off when it should and you get a last half hour that‚Äės still mindless fun, but that just doesn‚Äôt measure up to the superior, drawn out first hour.
Although the film is flawed and it plays it too safe, I can‚Äôt help but still really dig it. There‚Äôs a charm about this baby that really appeals to me and in consequence, the faults went down very easy. There are so many classic scenes to be found here. Sammy‚Äôs comeback concert for example with his ballet like dancing moves is priceless! Or the groovy sequence where a ‚ÄúWalkman‚ÄĚ seduces the loose chick of the film. FUN TIMES! I‚Äôm just a sucker for this movie. Long Live Sammy Curr!!!!!!!
Not one drop of plasma is spilled in this film. All of the kills are electricity related; kind of disappointing. We do get a kool part where Sammy pulls this old gal out of the TV screen and turns her into dust though. Slick stuff.
Marc Price (Eddie), who‚Äôs well known for his portrayal of Skippy on TV's ‚ÄúFamily Ties‚ÄĚ, showcases a very natural and credible performance. I bought it! Tony Fields (Sammy Curr) mostly underplays the part of the dead rocker and it works. He does have a few over the top moments that made me chuckle but overall, he‚Äôs top notch. Lisa Orgolini (Leslie) is cute but her part is badly written. She does what she can. Doug Savant (Tim) is very effective as the a-hole jock. Talk about perfect casting!
This is screenwriter Glen Morgan‚Äôs (Roger) first and last essay into acting in films. He does fine but I can‚Äôt say that I was too fond of his character. Gene Simmons (Nuke) is actually pretty good! He‚Äôs got that special something. More of him would have been kool. Rocker Ozzy Osbourne has a funny cameo playing a reverend. If you know and dig Ozzy, you will find his part quite ironic. I assume that was the point. Elaine Joyce (Angie) plays the ‚Äúusual‚ÄĚ puffy haired 80‚Äôs slut. She looks great when she‚Äôs aroused.
T & A
Us dudes get a quick tit shot at a pool party and Elaine Joyce (Angie) showing us her oranges. Everybody else gets Marc Price‚Äôs (Eddie) naked white ass and Doug Savant (Tim) showing off his pumped upper body by never buttoning his damn shirt.
This was Charles Martin Smith's directorial debut and he comes through. He keeps the pace of the film very tight (except for the end), offers us gnarly camera angles, lots of visual panache and sure knows how to couple rock music with images.
Sammy Curr‚Äôs tunes were delivered by heavy metal band ‚ÄúFastway‚ÄĚ. I freakin' love the songs and actually own the soundtrack. Ditties like ‚ÄúHang Tough‚ÄĚ or ‚ÄúTear Down The Walls‚ÄĚ are classics in my book. The seldom-used score by Christopher Young is adequate.
Dino DeLaurentis (who produced the film) openly claimed that he wanted to start his own ‚ÄúFreddy‚ÄĚ-like franchise with this one. In my opinion, he came close. I think with a less mainstream approach, this flick would‚Äôve been more successful. For me, this one is a cult classic and I watch it at least once a year. Sometimes charm and panache make up for a un-perfect script. ‚ÄúTrick or Treat‚ÄĚ is one of those times. Give Sammy Curr a shot...his dancing moves alone are worth the price of rental.
Dancer Tony Fields (Sammy) died on February 27, 1995 from cancer. He was one of the original ‚ÄúSolid Gold‚ÄĚ cast members. That‚Äôs a real bummer, I liked the guy. RIP Tony.
Special Effect artist Kevin Yagher plays the lead guitarist in Sammy‚Äôs band.
Director Charles Martin Smith plays the high school teacher in this flick he also played in "Deep Impact", "Starman" and "The Untouchables".
Screenwriter Rhet Topham knew a guy who lost his marbles. The dude used to say that the Iron Maiden mascot ‚ÄúEddy‚ÄĚ was telling him to do bad things. That‚Äôs where Rhet got the name for ‚ÄúTrick or Treat‚Äôs‚ÄĚ lead character.