by John Wenz
Ahh, the 1980s. A time for walking closet cases, borderline economic collapse, mounting paranoia, questionable taste, and best of all, motherfucking metal! Perhaps nothing exemplifies the potential of the 1980s generation better than the sheer classiness of “Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter” by Iron Maiden, or “Black Metal” by Venom. C’mon, you know it, everybody now: “Lay down your soul to the gods’ rock n’ roll, BLACK METAL!” They did kick out the jams motherfuckers, becoming the spokesman of homoerotic Dungeons and Dragons head wizards who spent their evenings discussing which was better — Fates Warning or Mercyful Fate.
And just as grunge had its “Singles,” this golden generation of lonely masturbation-addicted future serial killers had their own answer. Filled with celebrity cameos, nonsensical plot, annoying actors, but with a better fucking soundtrack, “Trick or Treat” is a Celtic Frost fan’s “Reality Bites.”
This was the real shit. This was what it was like man. You lie in bed awake at night, listening to King Diamond shriek “Out of the Asylum,” sure that the “Them” referenced in the album title were creeping all around you. You could swear, any time, with just the right flicker of satanic candle light, that the demons these artists harbored would arise and sacrifice your soul to the great heavy metal gods, and you would be forever condemned to trade Agent Steel tapes featuring that slammin’ song “The Locust is Rising” in search of the cassette-only Megaforce release of Metallica’s “Whiplash.” After scoring this prize, you were sure the devil would make you kill your neighbors with an axe and then bathe in their blood, naked and insane.
Hey, it happened to young Eddie Weinbauer (Marc Price, better known as Skippy of “Family Ties” fame, mulletted to the utmost authenticity). Poor, poor borderline psychotic, sexually confused Eddie only wanted to be left alone to the pitch black gospel of his heavy metal idol, Sammi Curr. Eddie, the daily brunt of school bully abuse and object of female scorn, was the kind of boy no one understood. Nobody except Sammi, whose antisocial, anger-drenched lyricism served as Eddie’s only companion during those trying times. After Sammi Curr is banned from performing at a Hallow’s Eve dance at Eddie’s school, Curr dies in a tragic hotel fire. Enraged with grief, Weinbauer curses the society that shunned his messiah and he both. Who, now, will understand Eddie, and his rambling manifesto fan letters? Who can Eddie turn to for his inner strength? Luckily for Eddie, his indecent obsession with Curr does not have to end so soon. Nope, Eddie’s buddy Nuke (Gene Simmons), a local radio DJ with nothing better to do than hang out with underage boys, has an acetate of Sammi Curr’s final album. Ooh, spooky.
Eddie soon discovers that the album is seemingly imbued with the spirit of Curr, offering wisdom on how to overcome his daily tribulations hidden in back-masked messages. Soon, Eddie takes action against his school foes, with triumphant results which he credits to the album. But before Eddie falls completely under the Satanic tome’s influence, the record’s true sinister nature emerges. By the time Eddie comes to his senses, it’s too late… the record has summoned Sammi Curr from beyond the grave, just in time to headline that “killer” Halloween dance at Eddie’s school. This time, Curr’s no hero. Of course not. He’s a Satanic messenger sent to corrupt children with ROCK AND FUCKING ROLL, BABY!!! WHOO!!! DEF LEP RULES!!! BUT ONLY THEIR NWOBHM SHIT! EVERYTHING ELSE JUST SUCKS!!! And, so it’s up to Eddie and that hot-girl-who’s-nice-to-serial-killers-who-end-up-killing-girls-who-look-just-like-her-because-of-unrequited-love, Leslie (Lisa Orgolini), to stop Curr.
In the same demonic influence vein of “976-EVIL,” with Curr as a prototype for Wes Craven’s Horace Pinker character, the film takes advantage of several opportunities to thoroughly mock “rock filth” crusaders like the PRMC and the Reverend Jimmy Falwell. Particularly notable is the anti-Metal rhetoric of the Reverend Aaron Gilmstorm, hilariously overracted by none other than Ozzy Osbourne.
Seeing this movie reminded me of that song off No Rest for the Wicked that just keeps saying “Jimmy got busted.” “Miracle Man.” Yeah, that’s what it was. Can you tell I used to worship the Ozz, his Blizzard and beyond?
I’m not going to give up the ending for those of you curiosity seekers who want to do what I did and stumble across this gem in the Wal-Mart $5.88 DVD pile between “Grumpier Old Men” and “9 ½ Weeks.” Instead, I’m going to tell you about this soundtrack that will make you piss yourself with excitement. The incredible radio-ready power metal of “Trick Or Treat” is brought to you by a fine man, “Fast” Eddie Clarke, aka one of the Mötorhead guys. With his band, Fastway, they bring the savage, loin-clothed power of evil rock n’ roll that powered this film. And for that we thank them. So Fastway, at various times featuring members of UFO, Waysted and Humble Pie, recorded this totally metal soundtrack. It features classics such as “Don’t Stop the Fight,” “Tear Down the Walls” and “Hold on the Night” (no, not Richard Marx). How can you resist that shit?
So, with a cheese dick soundtrack and an even cheesier movie (or is it the other way around?), “Trick or Treat” is a must own for all of you who once loved your rock loud, your nights lonely and your rock gods ambiguously gay. I mean, with Charles Martin Smith (Terry the Toad in “American Graffiti,” and also director of “Air Bud”) at the helm, how can you go wrong?
You just can’t.