Trick or Treat (1986)

As I’ve frequently pointed out on this site, it’s usually a bad move to make films based purely on a musical subculture, which is usually just some excuse to get more money for music royalties. This film in particular seems silly, and that’s mainly because it was the product of a time in which there was a silly moral panic over heavy metal music “corrupting the youth”, which films like Trick or Treat cynically attempted to exploit for some easy money. The actual film isn’t bad, and it has its moments, but it’s certainly a relic of time, with much of the cheese that comes with it.

The plot is simple enough. It revolves around a metalhead teenager named Eddie Weinbauer, who is constantly humiliated and treated like an insect in a painfully typical high school setting. The one comfort in his life is the music of heavy metal superstar Sammi Curr, but that’s all torn away from him when he suddenly dies in a hotel fire. His friend DJ Nuke (played by guest star Gene Simmons) gives him a copy of Sammi’s last and upcoming album, which apparently allows Eddie to communicate with the spirit of the dead rocker when he rotates it backwards (a play on the whole “Satanic backmasking” scare). The spirit helps Eddie get his revenge on the people who bullied him, but eventually he begins to get more murderous in his intent, and eventually comes out of the record in order to raise some hell.

The story is pure nonsense, and its based almost entirely on the moral panic, but it’s also another boring teen film setting, which just as well gets you thinking about the terrible state of American teenage life in 1986, which is something a film like this shouldn’t do but it’s so repetitive and stereotypical that it does that anyway. That’s my problem with exploitation films like this – the writers think only in stereotypes. I’m not saying there’s no truth in stereotypes, but it’s just lazy. On the plus side, it is good to see Ozzy Osbourne playing the kind of person that always complains about him being a bad influence. The irony of it is entertaining as it stands.

The acting isn’t really bad, though to be fair it’s rather uncharitable to except fine acting from a low budget horror film. The characters themselves weren’t exactly works of great imagination. I’ve seen more original characters in Future Cops. They may as well be cookie-cutter characters brought to you by the PMRC.

There’s a reason this sort of film ended up in the bargain bin. It’s cheesy, badly written, and it’s much of a horror film, or even a comedy since this isn’t really a serious film. On the plus side, it does have a good soundtrack courtesy of a band called Fastway, and if you happen to be a metal fan anwyay, you’ll probably ignore everything else and just focus on the music. Given some of the reviews on IMDB, some people probably did.

  • Score: 63%
  • Grade: C
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