Trick or Treat (1986 film)

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Trick or Treat
Original film poster
Directed byCharles Martin Smith
Screenplay byJoel Soisson
Michael S. Murphey
Rhet Topham
Glen Morgan[1] (uncredited)
James Wong[2][3] (uncredited)
Story byRhet Topham
Produced byMichael S. Murphey
Joel Soisson
CinematographyRobert Elswit
Edited byJane Schwartz Jaffe
Music byFastway
Christopher Young
Distributed byDe Laurentiis Entertainment Group
Release date
  • October 24, 1986 (1986-10-24)
Running time
98 min
CountryUnited States
Budget$3.5 million[4]
Box office$6,797,218[4]

Trick or Treat (also known as Ragman and Death at 33 RPM in foreign markets) is a 1986 American horror film by De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, starring Marc Price and Tony Fields, with special appearances by Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne. The movie centers on a outcast metalhead teenager who is haunted by the ghost of his rock hero.[5] It is the directorial debut of actor Charles Martin Smith, who has a cameo in the film.


Eddie "Ragman" Weinbauer is a teenage outcast at Lakeridge High School who, due to his eccentric lifestyle and appearance, suffers bullying by his jock schoolmates, led by Tim Hainey. A heavy metal music fan, Eddie worships Sammi Curr, an infamous rock superstar and Lakeridge High alumnus, whose vulgar antics earned him a ban from returning to perform at the school's Halloween ball. Upon learning of Curr's death in a mysterious hotel fire, a distraught Eddie seeks comfort from his friend Nuke, a radio DJ and former classmate of Curr's. Nuke hands Eddie the master of Curr's last and as-yet unreleased album Songs in the Key of Death on an acetate disc, which he has copied to reel-to-reel tape so he can play it in its entirety on-air at midnight on Halloween, as per Sammi's will.

Once back home, having previous experience with hidden messages in his records, Eddie plays Sammi's album backwards and hears Sammi's voice addressing him personally. Speaking to Eddie through the record, Sammi's ghost instructs Eddie to pose as bait for a revenge plot against Eddie's bullies, thus also avenging Sammi for the abuse he himself endured in his youth. At first the revenge is innocent enough and helps build Eddie's confidence, but before long, Sammi's ploy becomes sinister and life-threatening, prompting Eddie to rescind their pact. After Sammi designates Eddie's and Tim's shared love interest Leslie as his next target, Eddie attempts to stop Sammi by smashing the record and his own sound system. Before he can do so, Sammi, having acquired sufficient energy, materializes into the real world and berates Eddie, then he escapes by teleporting via sound systems and radio signals.

Eddie recruits his friend Roger to retrieve and destroy a cassette tape copy of the album he had left in Tim's car. Roger steals the tape but, skeptical of Eddie's motives, plays it on his own stereo system instead of destroying it. This summons Sammi, who orders Roger to play the tape of Songs in the Key of Death at the Halloween ball under threat of his life. That night, Roger does as told and plays the tape over the PA system. As a local live band prepares to play, Sammi appears and summarily replaces their singer, proceeding to play his music to a delighted crowd that mistakes him for an impersonator of Sammi. Sammi soon starts disintegrating audience members by firing electric bolts from the neck of his guitar, wreaking havoc as the attendees begin fleeing the venue in terror.

Having heard Sammi's music over a phone call from Leslie, Eddie drives to the school ballroom to find that Leslie is still inside. As Eddie rushes to save Leslie, he runs into an angered Tim, who is killed by Sammi before Eddie can save him. Roger buys Eddie and Leslie time by cutting the school power and temporarily stopping Sammi. As an automated playback of Nuke's recorded voice announces the midnight broadcast of Sammi's album, Eddie and Leslie rush to the radio station and evade Sammi's attacks, whereupon they realize Sammi's electrified body is vulnerable to water. While Leslie remains at the radio station, Eddie speeds away in a stolen police car, taunting Sammi through a radio and luring him into appearing behind the car's security grill. Right as Leslie destroys the last remaining reels of Sammi's album, cutting off his escape, Eddie speeds over the edge of an unfinished bridge, launching the car into a river and destroying the malevolent rocker for good.



Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P. originally was set to play Sammi Curr.[6][unreliable source?] Ozzy Osbourne plays a televangelist decrying the evils of heavy metal music. A film titled Lunch of the Dead is displayed on a marquee at a cinema. According to the Internet Movie Database, Lunch of the Dead does not exist as a movie, and therefore was an invention from the props department.

Special effects for the film were created by Kevin Yagher, who later provided the effects for Freddy Krueger and the Crypt Keeper from HBO's Tales from the Crypt. Yagher also has a cameo in the movie as the lead singer/guitarist for the band The Kickers, playing at the high school Halloween dance.

Scenes at Eddie's school (the fictional Lakeridge High School) were filmed at both Hoggard High School[7] and New Hanover High School[7] in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Gene Simmons originally was offered the role of Sammi Curr, but did not think much of the script and ultimately agreed only to a cameo as radio DJ Nuke. Simmons later said in an interview that he chose to play the role as Wolfman Jack, a childhood hero of his.[8][unreliable source?]

The title of Sammi Curr's unreleased album Songs in the Key of Death is a play on the title of Stevie Wonder's 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life.


All Sammi Curr music was composed by the band Fastway and composer Christopher Young. In the stack of records where Eddie's mother looks, the last LP is a copy of Megadeth's Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!. Also in the stack are albums by Impaler, Exciter, Possessed and Savatage. On the walls in Eddie's room are posters of Judas Priest, Anthrax, Raven, Twisted Sister, Mötley Crüe, Ozzy Osbourne, Poison, and KISS. A picture of the band Lizzy Borden is on his locker at school. Co-composer Christopher Young later composed music for the movies Hellraiser, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, The Gift, Urban Legend, Ghost Rider, Spider-Man 3, Drag Me to Hell and The Uninvited.


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.[9] It was released on VHS by Lorimar Home Video the following year.

The film was released on DVD in the United States by Platinum Disc Corporation in 2002.[10]

In 2014, a three-disc collector's edition of Trick or Treat—containing an all-region Blu-ray disc, region 2 DVD, soundtrack CD, and booklet in digibook packaging—was released in Germany by NSM Records. This edition was limited to 1,500 copies—1,000 copies with cover art A and 500 copies with cover art B.[11]


The film received mixed reviews. Trick or Treat holds a 75% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on eight reviews.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Glen Morgan on Intruders, The X-Files, and Why the 22-Episode Season Needs to Die". Vulture. 2014-08-21. Retrieved 2017-10-17.
  2. ^ "Trick or Treat Movie - The 80s Movies Rewind". Retrieved 2017-10-17.
  3. ^ "Drive-In Dust Offs: TRICK OR TREAT (1986) - Daily Dead". Daily Dead. 2016-07-09. Retrieved 2017-10-17.
  4. ^ a b De Laurentiis PRODUCER'S PICTURE DARKENS: KNOEDELSEDER, WILLIAM K, Jr. Los Angeles Times 30 Aug 1987: 1.
  5. ^ "10 of the Cheesiest Heavy Metal Horror Flicks of All Time! - Bloody Disgusting". 7 January 2010.
  6. ^ "10 Killer Facts about 80s Horror Classic Trick or Treat". Movie Web. 13 November 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Trick or Treat (1986) - IMDb". IMDb.
  8. ^ "'Trick or Treat' (1986) A Rock & Roll Retro Review". Pop Horror. 10 October 2017.
  9. ^ "Trick or Treat". Retrieved 2011-04-01.
  10. ^ "Trick or Treat". Retrieved 2011-04-01.
  11. ^ " Trick Or Treat". Retrieved 2017-06-28.
  12. ^

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