What’s up, weirdos? Welcome to Awfully Good, where we celebrate some rad trash! Tonight’s movie is Trick or Treat, the heavy metal supernatural slasher from 1986! Before we get into that, let’s cover some ground rules. 1) Just because we use terms like “trash” or “cheesy” or what have you, that doesn’t mean we don’t love these movies. Some of my favorite films are cheesy trash. 2) Don’t, under any circumstances, hang out with Gene Simmons. With that out of the way, let’s drop the needle on Trick or Treat!!!
Who is Sammi Curr? I’m glad you asked. Trick or Treat revolves around a legendary metal singer. This guy can do it all: he bites the head off a snake, does sick spin moves off the drum riser, plays a B.C. Rich Ironbird, wears leather pants, and testified before Congress. They call him Rock’s Chosen Warrior, and he was slated to mix up some metal mayhem at his alma mater’s Halloween dance. Unfortunately, two things are stopping him: he’s banned from performing at the school, and he just died in a hotel fire.
I have to take a step back here and address something that I’ve never seen anyone on the internet mention. Trick or Treat is a cult classic, and tons of digital ink has been devoted to this movie, but no one seems to care that Sammi Curr’s singing voice is the guy from Flogging Molly. Like, Drunken Lullabies Flogging Molly. That blow my mind!! Dave King was the lead singer of Fastway. Fastway recorded the soundtrack for Trick or Treat, which serves as Sammi Curr’s in-universe music. This also means that Sammi Curr’s guitar skills are none other than Fast Eddie Clarke’s. Not a bad choice, he played on one of the greatest metal albums of all time. With that bit of real-world trivia out of the way, let’s jump back into Trick or Treat.
Eddie Weinbauer‘s a teenage metalhead, and a devoted Sammi Curr fan. All the other Adult Teenagers at school bully Eddie for being into this weird, aggressive music. Also, presumably, for not being 40. When Eddie finds out Curr died in a fire, he takes the news really hard. Luckily, his friend the local DJ has the only copy of the last thing Sammi Curr ever recorded. That DJ’s name? Gene Simmons.
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Back at school, a Hot Girl invites Resident Weirdo Freak Eddie to a pool party. Not recognizing the most obvious setup in the world, Eddie goes to the party so the popular kids can pick on him. They should have been bullying him for being stupid, not for liking Judas Priest. But you don’t watch Trick or Treat for the stunning realism.
Eddie listens to the record he got from Gene Simmons and discovers a backmasked message! Emboldened by his discovery, he decides to turn the tables on his bullies at school. He flips the Head Jock in Charge’s entire lunch onto his shirt, then runs off. If Eddie liked sports, he could make a good running back. The kid’s way fast!
Speaking of Fastway, Eddie keeps playing his record backwards until he can decipher the message. Through the power of backmasking, and a little black magic, he can communicate with his fallen idol! Sammi‘s message is clear: kill all the phonies. The next day, the middle aged bully corners Eddie in the shop class. He throws a bunch of tools at him, but then he learns a quick lesson on securing all loose articles of clothing around heavy machinery when a piece of equipment comes to life, grabs his tie, and very nearly impales his brain! Eddie shuts off the machine in the nick of time.
Looking to turn over a new leaf, Eddie presses a copy of the record onto a tape and leaves it in the bully’s locker as a peace offering. That evening, the bully and his girlfriend go parking and they’re about to smush when the bully gets out of the car to pee forever. The girlfriend fires up a Walkman and starts listening to the tape that Eddie gave the bully. As the music plays, some strange things start happening. Just when she thinks she’s gonna get smooched by a sexy ghost, she opens her eyes and sees some manner of goblin instead! We’ve all been there.
Anyway, she starts freaking out, and the jock boyfriend’s like “it only took me ten minutes but I’m done peeing now” and comes to the rescue. The headphones have fused to her face! Gross! This is one of the better effects in Trick or Treat. Back to Eddie, he’s starting to have second thoughts about all this revenge stuff. The bad news is that Sammi Curr has manifested in the physical world, and frankly I’m starting to think that the guy who bit the head off the snake and drank out all its blood might have some scary ideas.
Sammi‘s determined to play the high school dance, a very “the show must go on” attitude from the magical shock rock ghost. He’s not gonna let anything stop his high-voltage explosive performance, and he just might melt some faces with his guitar solos. I’m gonna duck out here, though, because I don’t wanna spoil the third act of Trick or Treat, including one of my all-time favorite scenes in a Halloweeny movie!
Trick or Treat is a full-on headbanging Halloween classic. It’s cheesy, dumb, the acting is pretty bad, and it goes on about twenty minutes too long, but this is a must-see for fans of 80s metal or 80s horror movies. It’s a little bit Nightmare on Elm Street, a little bit Carrie, and a little bit Maximum Overdrive. Doesn’t that sound rad?!
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