Trick or Treat (1986 film)
|Trick or Treat|
Original film poster
|Directed by||Charles Martin Smith|
|Produced by||Michael S. Murphey
|Screenplay by||Joel Soisson
Michael S. Murphey
|Story by||Rhet Topham|
|Music by||Fast Eddie Clarke
|Edited by||Jane Schwartz Jaffe|
|Distributed by||De Laurentiis Entertainment Group|
High school outcast Eddie Weinbauer is writing a letter to his hero, heavy metal musician Sammi Curr. He puts the letter in an envelope and starts doing his chores. Watching the news at the same time, he is shocked to hear the worst words to ever reach his ears: Sammi Curr has died in a mysterious hotel fire. Eddie is completely devastated. He goes to his friend "Nuke" (Gene Simmons), a radio DJ who knew Sammi Curr personally. To take Eddie's mind off the death of his idol, Nuke gives Eddie the only copy of Curr's last and as-yet unreleased album, "Songs in the Key of Death", on an acetate disc. Nuke has recorded the disc onto high quality tape and plans to play it in its entirety on-air at midnight on Halloween as a tribute since, according to Nuke, that was always Sammi's plan for the album's debut.
Once back home, Eddie falls asleep while listening to the record and has a strange dream about the fire that killed Sammi Curr. When he wakes up he finds that the record is skipping and after listening to it for a few seconds he comes to realize that something is not quite right about the lyrics that the record is stuck on. Having previous experience with hidden lyrics, Eddie plays the record backwards, but receives more than he imagined: Sammi Curr speaking to him from beyond the grave.
Sammi instructs Eddie on how to go about getting revenge on a group of bullies who make his school life a torment, since Sammi himself was bullied constantly in high school and he wants to now take the revenge on Eddie's bullies that he never got to take on his own. Eddie explains the situation to his best friend Roger, who is highly skeptical of the whole thing. At first the revenge is innocent enough, but before long the plans start to become more sinister, with the potential to cause real physical harm and eventually building towards murder. Having no desire to take things so far, Eddie determines to sever ties with the dead rocker, but Sammi has no intention of letting that happen. When Eddie is alone in his room, Sammi causes some soda to spill on the record, initiating an electrical surge that gives him just the amount of energy he needs to escape out of the record and become able to carry out his murderous plans without the help of another. Eddie smashes his record player and stereo system after a personal, face-to-face visit from Sammi, hoping to make sure he never sees the dead rocker in his room again.
After a cassette tape Eddie copied of the album puts his worst bully's girlfriend in the hospital simply from listening to it, Eddie recruits Roger to steal the tape out of the bully's car, and orders its destruction. Out of naivety and ignorance to the severity of the situation, Roger lies to Eddie about the tape's destruction and instead plays it on his own stereo system, earning Roger his own visit from Sammi Curr himself. Sammi orders Roger to play the tape of "Songs in the Key of Death" at the high school Halloween dance, or die.
Roger does as he is told, and goes to the dance to play the tape over the PA system. Eddie learns of the tape being played, and quickly attempts to reach the school to stop Sammi from causing any more damage. When the live band takes the stage for their performance at the dance, however, Sammi literally explodes out of the lead singer's guitar amplifier and proceeds to steal the show. The delighted students think it is all a Halloween tribute to Sammi Curr, even as Sammi begins to fire electric bolts from the neck of his guitar, disintegrating audience members. After the first few deaths, however, panic erupts as the young revellers realize the danger is very real, and Sammi wreaks havoc as the dance attendees flee in terror.
When Eddie reaches the school, ambulances and police cars surround the building. As he goes about trying to save the people still inside, Eddie realizes something; Sammi can only travel through radio signals, so, no radios, no way for Sammi to carry out his plans. Eddie sets about destroying every radio he sees in an attempt to prevent Sammi from continuing his rampage, leading to a final confrontation between the young metal fan and his former idol. After reaching the radio station in a futile attempt to stop the midnight broadcast of Sammi's demonic album, Eddie succeeds in luring Sammi (in a cassette tape) into a police car and starts baiting him with insults until he breaks out and tries to attack Eddie from behind the car's security grill. Eddie drives on to an unfinished bridge and speeds over the edge, launching the car into a river, short-circuiting the tape and finally destroying the malevolent rocker.
Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P. was to originally play Sammi Curr. Ozzy Osbourne plays a televangelist decrying the evils of heavy metal music. "Lunch of the Dead" is displayed on a cinema marquee. According to The Internet Movie Database, no such film exists. It was likely an invention of the props department.
Director Charles Martin Smith (known for his acting roles in motion pictures such as American Graffiti and Never Cry Wolf) takes the helm of this project as his directorial debut. In a brief credited cameo, Smith plays the high school principal, killed by a bolt of electricity fired from Sammi Curr's guitar during the Halloween dance.
Alice Nunn plays Mrs. Sylvia Cavell.
Special effects for the movie were created by Kevin Yagher, who would go on to provide the effects for such horror icons as Freddy Krueger and the Crypt Keeper from HBO's Tales from the Crypt. Yagher also had a cameo in the movie as the lead singer/guitarist for the band, The Kickers, playing at the high school Halloween dance (Sammi Curr's hand reaches through the amplifier and explodes Yagher's head).
All Sammi Curr music was composed by the band Fastway and upcoming composer Christopher Young. In the stack of records the mother looks at, the last LP is a copy of Megadeth's Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!, with a cut corner. Normally a record with cut corners denotes that it was a radio promo, or was for discounted sale only. The other records in the stack were also real releases. Included was a 4 song E.P. by U.S. heavy metal/horror rock band Impaler, Rise of the Mutants, and Canadian thrash metal band Exciter's 1986 LP Unveiling the Wicked and Savatage's 1984 release The Dungeons Are Calling. On the walls in Eddie's room, there are posters of Judas Priest, Anthrax, Raven, Twisted Sister, Mötley Crüe, Ozzy Osbourne and KISS. On his locker door in school there is also a sticker with Lizzy Borden. Co-composer Christopher Young went on to compose music for the films The Gift, Urban Legend, Ghost Rider, Spider-Man 3, Drag Me to Hell and The Uninvited. Gene Simmons was originally offered the role of Sammi Curr, but he did not think much of the script and ultimately agreed to do only a cameo as radio DJ, Nuke. Simmons later said in an interview that he chose to play the role as a childhood hero of his, Wolfman Jack.
The film was released theatrically in the United States by De Laurentiis Entertainment Group in October 1986. It grossed $6,797,218 at the box office. It was released on VHS by Karl-Lorimar home video the following year.
The film was released on DVD in the United States by Platinum Disc Corporation in 2002. This version is currently out of print. Some people believe the DVD cover to be misleading because it shows Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne starring in the movie, when actually they only make very brief cameo appearances. On the back of the DVD artwork are also scenes from the making-of.
Anchor Bay Entertainment was all set to release a 20th Anniversary DVD in 2006, but due to music copyrights, the release was cancelled. Anchor Bay so far has no plans to release any kind of DVD.
- 10 of the Cheesiest Heavy Metal Horror Flicks of All Time!
- "Trick or Treat". boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 2011-04-01.
- "Trick or Treat". dvdempire.com. Retrieved 2011-04-01.