Well… Would you look at that? It’s Halloween. The best month in all the world for all history and stuff is over, but on maybe one of the best days ever! What better way to celebrate than with a movie from 1986 called Trick or Treat?
In years past, B-Movie Enema celebrated Halloween by discussing Halloween: Resurrection, Halloween III, and Night of the Demons (the 2009 one). As you can see… October is pretty well liked around here. But you know what else we really like? Rock and Rollsploitation! The 80s, somehow, had a lot of people believing in demonology as an ultimate evil, so they tuned into televangelists to learn about how toys, cereal, rock and roll, and whatever else was going to lead you to damnation eternal.
Oh yeah… Rock and roll. You had people who were questioning the direction the genre was headed. Gone were the days of the 60s pleasantness, political protest, and psychedelic good vibrations. The same kids defending their love of the Rolling Stones and Beatles from parents claiming the bands were leading their daughters to sexual deviancy was now claiming their kids were being led to outright devil worship.
Anyway, I have covered rock and roll horror a few times before. At least enough for the sub-sub-sub-sub-genre to have its own tag on my articles and get representation in that clever little drawing of me in a movie watching shitty movies and being generally pissy about it.
Trick or Treat is an interesting little flick in some ways… Totally 80s in others… And pretty standard run of the mill slasher fun. First of all, it was directed by Charles Martin Smith who has 88 credits of his own as a character actor going all the way back to 1971 when he was a teenager and appearing in an episode of The Brady Bunch. Trick or Treat was his directorial debut. However, for the most part, he’s mostly known for directing episodes of television series and making, of all things, family movies.
The movie’s stars are fascinating. First you have the pair that was featured mostly in the marketing of the movie – Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons. Neither of them appear in more than a few scenes with Simmons playing a radio DJ and Ozzy playing a religious nut trying to shut down rock and roll. Heh… See what they did there? They were big names to draw in rock fans, but they really are not the stars of the film. The main star was Marc Price who most everyone knows as Skippy who was the love struck puppy that followed Justine Bateman’s Mallory around on Family Ties. At least I think… It’s been far too long since I saw an episode of Family Ties. I need to rectify that IMMEDIATELY!
Alright, now I’m back. What a fun little trip down memory lane. Anyway… Shit. I didn’t watch an episode with Skippy in it. I guess I should recti… Fuck it.
The movie is about nerdy outsider Eddie Weinbauer (Simmons… J/K it’s played by Price) who idolizes a particular hard rock superstar. The rocker dies and he comes into possession of the guy’s final album. When Eddie plays the record, that guy comes out of it to help him deal with his bullies and get the attention of the pretty girl, but he’s also a super evil killer ghost demon dude. So… Bada bing bada boom and you got yourself a Halloween movie!
The movie begins with a shot showing off lots of hard rock and heavy metal posters and such in Eddie’s room. He looks like he has a room in an attic or something which is kinda cool because that’s a huge room. However, I am very disappointed this room doesn’t have a roach in an ashtray or a couple crazy ass giant bongs around. This guy would 100% be hitting the Mary Jane HAAAARD. Maybe he’s straight edge. I feel like maybe he shouldn’t be, ya know? Smoke a bowl, kids. It will keep you from shooting up your school.
Well, at least it will keep you from unleashing evil devil rock stars on your school.
Anyway, he’s writing a fan letter to his most favorite rocker, Sammi Curr. He explains that the world is full of braindeads and airheads and pretty much every day sucks. He goes to school and the popular jock kids fuck with him. He has eyes set on Leslie who is one of the popular girls, but also really cute. But also doesn’t seem to know he exists. So… Womp womp.
I will say that Leslie does eventually notice him. That’s because he has a terrible prank pulled on him that basically finds him in the gym after a shower without a towel and while the girls’ volleyball team is practicing. One girl takes Polaroids of him while Leslie looks on feeling bad for him.
What makes everything that much worse, Eddie has just finished up his (practically love) letter to Sammi and gets it ready for the mail while he does some laundry. He sees a report on Sammi about him sticking it to the man and whatnot, but… The story ends with the news lady saying he died as a victim of a hotel fire. That brings me to the below screenshot I took… This is amazing.
First of all… In 1986, I had an AOC TV. I had it for several years before getting a larger TV. It wasn’t one of the knobby kinds like this one. It had a digital tuner on it but still… Sweet.
Second, look at that freeze frame on his face and his angry little rebellious rock and roll grimace. That’s great. It comes from a hearing about censorship or something about morality. He’s so angry that one, isn’t he?
This goes over about as well as you might think. Eddie visits the radio station where a friend of his, DJ “Nuke”, tells Eddie that he’s gotta lay off this “rock warrior” hero worship shit. He tells him that Sammi did it to himself. He bought into his own hype too much. Strangely, Nuke also tells Eddie he should spend his allowance on KISS stuff instead. They aren’t so much rock warriors, but they are really good at marketing.
Nuke does give Eddie a gift – the only copy of the yet-to-be released final Sammi Curr album, Songs in the Key of Death. Nuke planned on playing it at midnight on Halloween night. That’s not the only thing coming up Milhouse for Eddie. Leslie makes nice with him over that stupid prank put on by the jocks. She invites him to a pool party at the school that night.
Naturally, the jocks hassle Eddie. Like all cool guys like me, Eddie cannot swim, so they push him into the deep end of the pool. Before drowning, Leslie saves him, but Eddie thinks this was all a set up to fuck with him and she was a part of it. When he gets home, he plays that last album of Sammi’s. He has a freaky dream about Sammi in the burning hotel. When Eddie wakes up, he hears backwards music. Eddie gets an idea from the music to fight back against the jocks. He sets up a couple booby traps for the jocks and tricks them into spraying a bunch of teachers with the fire extinguisher.
Eddie is unable to convince his friend, Roger, that the back masking is an actual message for Eddie. After Roger leaves, he plays with the record some more and Sammi speaks specifically to Eddie by calling him “Ragman” – Eddie’s rock and roll nickname. He tells Eddie that the plan is to smash all their asses since they are preps and probably listen to some shitty pop band or something.
Anyway, the bullies mess with Eddie the next day, but because the Sammi Curr album is playing, the bully’s tie gets wrapped up in some shop machinery and he almost gets his face fucked up.
The bullies aren’t the only ones haunted by heavy metal. Eddie’s mom is picking up some clothes and she looks through his record collection. She sees the typical heavy metal business from the 80s, and suddenly some music plays super loudly until Eddie comes home. That night, the Sammi Curr album makes a mixed tape for him to give to the bully, Tim.
After school, Tim and his girlfriend, Genie, go to the park and play a little game of hide the sloppy teenage sausage in the back of my car. Apparently, Tim just has to go and take a piss in the middle of getting it on with Genie. Dude… You ever piss with a raging high school boner? It ain’t happening. He might as well finish the job at hand before going off and doing that, but I digress.
Genie puts Ragman’s tape into a Walkman and listens. The ghost of Sammi Curr’s music fucks the shit out of her.
I like the little ghost hand pulling at her panties. Anyway, you know the saying “I’ll fuck you so hard you’ll see God!” Well, the ghost music fucks her so hard she sees… whatever the fuck this is.
It causes the headphones to melt Genie’s ears.
That’s a pretty cool scene, but it does beg a question… What was it supposed to do to Tim? Was it also supposed to fuck Tim’s ears and balls? I mean, was the ghost hands going to tug at his panties too? Was the green ghost mist aware that a girl was listening to the music and not Tim, so decided to have some fun first? Was it a ghost that was also into girls as well as guys so that’s why Genie got the sexy time too?
I am seriously perplexed by the plan there and how it played out.
Eddie asks Sammi’s spirit what happened to Genie, and Sammi says they need to all die, and fuck them, and what have you. Eddie is starting to have some pretty serious second thoughts on the whole get revenge on some douchebags plot. He especially has some issues with Sammi wanting Leslie to be the next victim.
Seeing that Eddie may not have a whole lot of commitment to Sparkle Motion, he manifests himself from the record. Now… I like this movie, but I do have some questions. First, what is Sammi Curr? Second, is he a demon, a ghost, a poltergeist, a zombie? I know he did some devil shit at that hotel where he died in the fire, but how is he a physical being. I get being a disembodied voice possessing a record and telling a kid to kill his bullies and shit. I don’t get the ultimate end goal. I think maybe he plans on unleashing some serious hell shit on Halloween night? But it feels pretty flimsy. It’s like token evil guy stuff in a movie with a lot of other cool demon/ghost stuff.
Eddie sends Roger to get the tape from the back of Tim’s car to make sure it doesn’t get played anywhere else. Sammi confronts Roger and warns him that he has to play his tape tonight or he will die. Roger, being a little pencil neck geek, agrees to play the Sammi Curr tape at the school’s Halloween dance. Ever notice that schools have Halloween dances in movies. Did anyone ever go to a school that actually had a Halloween dance? Even the 2018 Halloween had one of those. Leave a comment in this webzone if your school had a Halloween dance.
When Leslie calls Eddie to ask if he’s going to the dance, he hears Sammi’s album playing in the background and tries to go to the school to stop it, but Sanmi also takes control of Eddie’s car. So he is also a ghost and/or demon and/or corporeal poltergeist that can be in multiple places at the same time. Don’t let my questions confuse anyone that I don’t like this movie. I actually really do. It’s a pretty great example of mid 80s horror that wasn’t just some guy in a mask and stalking kids in the woods. It’s got some supernatural stuff too which is always nice. However, with that sort of stuff, it’s extra nice to have some rules that we can understand.
What we have in this movie is a guy who has a cool look. Sammi Curr is one of those hair rock guys from the 80s with lots of hair, leather, black fingernails, tattoos… Add the burns to his face, and you have an interesting look. The music is pretty good too. It’s by Fastway and I kind of dig it despite not being big on hair metal from the 80s.
Right, well, after Sammi comes out of the amps at the dance, he locks the kids into the gym and starts to fuck them up pretty bad. However, neither Leslie or Tim are in trouble. Why’s that, well, Leslie decided to get out of her harem girl clothes (god I love the 80s when girls could dress as out and out sex workers and it seemed perfectly normal) and maybe try to see Eddie. Tim followed her into the locker room to… Let’s just say do some very unseemly things. At least twice as unseemly as me making sure to get a picture of her in her bra.
While Leslie deals with Tim, Eddie arrives and smashes the Sammi Curr tape. Eddie finds Tim, but also sees that Sammi is there too. He tries to get Tim to come along, but he refuses and Sammi kills him. Eddie and Leslie find each other and simultaneously run from Sammi and also try to stop him.
Eddie figures out that they need to stop the record from playing on the record at midnight because Sammi is able to manifest when this album plays and I guess midnight will make him fully return to all the way corporeal life. However, it’s set to auto play and begins before they can get to the station. Eddie and Leslie runs home to get his mother’s car so they can cut off the radio transmission.
Something else happens here that seems like it doesn’t help my questions about the rules in this world. Basically Sammi is able to turn all the radios on and turn it to the right station so his record can be heard. If this is the case… Then what really stops him from just having the record play all the time all the places? Does he need the power of the album to just manifest in one place or can he use it to, like, I dunno, duplicate himself everywhere? Now that would be a problem.
These are questions that writers should ask themselves when writing their movie.
So, thanks to some incidental stuff that came along as they were running away from Sammi, Eddie and Leslie are able to commandeer a police car and get to the radio station. They go in and find the security guy like, vaporized and the studio alive with electricity as Sammi grows stronger and stronger. Also, Sammi Curr is basically Thanos. Multiple times, he pretty much reduces people to dust when they get in his way.
Eddie comes up with a plan to finally defeat Sammi. He’s going to take off in the cop car while Leslie stays back at the station. He tells her to count to 100 while he taunts Sammi. The idea is if he leads Sammi away and distracts him, Leslie can go into the studio and destroy the last tape left of Sammi’s unreleased album. Sure ’nuff, it works, though I’m not sure it should have. I mean, Sammi is some sort of electrical guy and Eddie drove off a cliff into the water. THEN we saw her destroy the tape. So I feel like Skippy is a toasty corpse.
Oh whatever, it works and Eddie and Leslie start dating only for him to find out in Trick or Treat 2 that she bet Genie that she could turn Eddie into the prom king after a makeover, some new clothes, and just by dating him.
Again, is the movie bad? Probably, but I don’t care. I like it. I have questions, but it’s fine. Everything’s fine. It’s alright. You know why? Because it’s fucking Halloween, assholes! Go out there, get yourself a bucket full of candy, eat it all, but not until you check it first, of course. Don’t want any of my readers haphazardly eating trick or treat candy and getting razor blades in their throats, faces, and bellies.
That also means, this was your treat from me on this October 31! That also means that tomorrow, yes TOMORROW(!!!), I’m back to my normal schedule with a movie that the box says is called Snapshot, but IMDb calls it One More Minute, but it’s also best known as The Day After Halloween. So… Why not come back tomorrow, which just so happens to be the day after today, for Snapshot!
Oh… Because I didn’t have a good place to drop this earlier in the post, here’s Ozzy in Trick or Treat: