- The Movie – Trick or Treat
- Released by De Laurentiis Entertainment Group
- Country of Origin – United States
- The Band – Fastway
- Genre – Horror Movie / Heavy Metal
Other movies from 1986 for context: The Fly, Maximum Overdrive, Critters, Aliens, Stand By Me
Other Metal Music releases from 1986 for context: Fatal Portrait (King Diamond), Turbo (Judas Priest), Orgasmatron (Motörhead), The Ultimate Sin (Ozzy Osbourne)
Do you feel like watching an 80s Heavy Metal movie about selling your soul to the devil for metal, and coming back from the grave through your Hi-Fi speakers?
Go, bear these tiding to great Lucifer.
Say Faustus doth surrender up his soul.
So he will spare him four and twenty years.
To give me whatsoever I shall ask.
To tell me whatsoever I demand.
To slay my enemies and aid my friends.
And always be obedient to my will.
… and thus begins the 1986 Hollywood Metal / Horror cult classic, Trick or Treat.
Now back in the day, I discovered this move at the local video store. It was a dramatic moment. A movie out of the blue about Heavy Metal, backwards satanic messaging and a sick looking dude with a BC Rich on the cover. I legit couldn’t tell you how many times my mates and I borrowed this one, but its fair to say the VHS tape spent a heap of time playing in our home video player.
A film by the De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (Raw Deal, Weeds, Evil Dead II), starring teen nerd of the day, Marc Price, best known for his role in the Michael J Fox series, Family Ties, as Skippy, with cameos by Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne.
The music for the movie was composed by metal band, Fastway and cinematic composer Christopher Young (The Grudge, Drag Me to Hell, The Exorcism of Emily Rose).
Fastway were a British heavy metal band formed by guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke, of Motörhead, and bassist Pete Way, formerly of UFO.
Without going too hard on spoilers, the premise of the movie is the story of Eddie ‘Ragman’ Weinbauer, a bullied metal head outcast and nerd, whose metal idol, Sammi Curr, dies just before he is about to return to his High School (same school that Eddie goes to) for a Halloween ‘Trick or Treat’ high school reunion concert. Eddie manages to get his hands on the only copy of Sammi’s next album, which ultimately leads to the dead rocker coming back from the grave to extract vengeance on the non-metal community, and then anyone in his path, including ‘Ragman’.
What is really great about this movie from a metalhead’s perspective is that it’s an amazing timestamp of many things that were prevalent at the time of the movie’s creation.
The depiction that metal was not considered cool back in the day, and that metalheads were freaks, and often bullied is truly captured. The level of bullying is next level, and crosses into physically dangerous and life threatening territory, which again is true of the time. Also, the fact that metal actually inspired legitimate fear in many people caught up in the ‘Satanic Panic’ of the 80s is superbly presented in all its craziness. This element is also played on beautifully by Ozzy Osbourne with his guest spot as an evangelist preacher; this is brilliant to watch! Apparently all his lines were him basically freestyling.
And the ‘scary’ scenes of backwards record playing and vinyl backmasking are gold! Back in the day, there was nothing more awesome than finding some type of possible backwards message on a record, or even cassette. Unfortunately, this did result in the odd casualty to my musical assets, in my efforts to reveal these messages. A point well made in the movie!
The way Sammi Curr is presented is a play on bands like W.A.S.P, Twisted Sister and early Motley Crue. In fact, in one scene, the movie shows a scene that replicates Dee Snider vs Tipper Gore, in the infamous PMRC hearings of 1984. Also, in his onscreen concert performances in the movie, there is violence towards a snake, which is a take on the Ozzy bat biting incident, and some very non-metal dance moves, which are pretty hilarious.
Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P was actually offered the lead role of Sammi Curr in the movie, but ultimately rejected it due to the fact that Fastway were doing the music. Same goes for Gene Simmons, however, he insisted he play a metal DJ, as he wanted to pay tribute his own boyhood idol, rock DJ Wolfman Jack.
For metal collectors of historic memorabilia, there are some absolutely amazing merch cameos in this movie, with bands such as Judas Priest, Anthrax, Megadeth, Motley Crue, Ozzy Osbourne, Lizzy Borden and even Possessed’s, all appearing in the background at some point or another, in vinyl, cassette or poster form. Also, Eddie wears some killer pins, and pretty much everything he owns is plastered with stickers and metal band logos. But the scenes of Eddie tearing down the walls is pretty hard to take! (you’ve been warned).
In terms of the soundtrack, for those who like 80s Heavy Metal, the tunes are absolutely epic, with songs such as Trick or Treat, and my favourite, Stand Up, simply killer tracks. The style of vocals are definitely Rock’n’Roll metal and perfectly fit the movie, and noticeably composed to suit what is happening throughout the various scenes.
You can read an interview with Eddie Clarke, where he talks about the soundtrack at this link.
Now, as a movie, although it was labeled as a horror flick, it’s not really scary, and you’ll actually have a good laugh at many scenes. The demon that appears in the famous ‘car’ scene is pretty cool, as well as the electricity guitar solo moments, with all the FX handled by Kevin Yagher (A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter).
But the real quality of this movie is that it captures the essence of metal culture in the mid-80s, whilst also telling the story of the metalhead nerd who rises up to triumph, and along the way gets to extract revenge on his bullies.
The Last Word
If you are a fan of 80s Heavy Metal and want a genuine trip back in time, or if you are an old school metal merch collector, get your hands on this movie, and check out the soundtrack; you’ll love it. The metal cultural references in this movie make it a metal history lesson!
… and the last, last word can go to the great man himself ….
Reverend Aaron Gilstom (Ozzy): “Demonic beasts. Whatever happened to the good old simple love song? “I love you.” That’s what good words use. Nowadays they have to write some sickness. It’s just absolutely sick and bizarre, and I’m going to do my upmost best to try and stop it now.”
Talk show host : “Anything you’d like to add in conclusion?”
Reverend Aaron Gilstom : “These evil people have just got to be stopped.”
Is there any way you can send this post 12 years back in time? I totally forgot about this movie and it would have come in useful when I wrote my first book, “Rock and Roll Children.” It’s about metalheads in the 1980s and I do write quite a lot about how they were mistreated back then. One critic said I overpounded that point but I make no apologies for doing so. I’m going to have to see this film!
One of my favorite movies EVER. I have it on VHS and DVD (the VHS copy has the better – and original – cover). And from a female’s perspective, Sammi Curr was gorgeous, burned face and all. Typical 80s hair metal rocker we saw at the clubs back-in-the-day. Thank Goddess neither Gene nor Blackie played him because NEITHER have/had the ass to pull it off. LOL!! (Tony Fields R.I.P.)