Monday, October 24, 2011

Trick Or Treat (25th Anniversay Tribute)

Forward: Indeed its already been 25 years since Skippy from Family Ties donned a mullet and took on the lead role of Eddie Weinbauer in Trick Or Treat. One quarter of a century…frig man, headbangers of the 80s are getting decrepitly old. Instead of chugging whiskey we are all going to be drinking liquid fiber soon. I guess the plus side for us dirty old men is groupies at concerts are half our age.

Anyhow, back to Skippy (aka Marc Price) who was about as believable as a headbanger as Mel Gibson was playing Hamlet. Perhaps he wasn’t the perfect choice for the role but somehow managed to capture the perils of the headbanger in the 1980s. See kids before all the obnoxious muscle headed jocks with tribal tattoos took up space at METAL concerts, the headbanger crowd was a desolate bunch. There would be one roaming group in high schools that made up 3% of the student body. Believe me, they got shit on by everybody and their brother. Fellow students would chastise them for their long hair and their choice of music. Teachers would often single them out as hopeless. And if that wasn’t bad enough, they’d go home to hear crap from their parents about the so called evil influences their musical taste had over them.

I have to say I wasn’t exactly one to ever wear my hair long or don METAL t-shirts but I had a lot of friends who did. That and I’d be asked constantly why I was hanging out with “the maggots”. Man that’s mean, comparing a human being to a larvae that eats decaying flesh. Well none the less, I saw first hand what wearing your hair long in the 80s meant, especially around a bunch of douchebags who slapped other men’s fannies in the locker room. I mean yeah, the METAL crowd often didn’t realize that their bands were cashing in millions all the while preaching about the evils of a captilist society. Regardless, I never really got why “the maggots” got so much heat. I mean is growing your hair long worse than styling your trimmed hair with a pound of gel in the morning?

Nowadays we seem to have a pish posh mix of bands trying to pass themselves off as METAL and it's sad. Granted there are several out there carrying the torch of balls to the wall sound and bad attitude. Still, it really doesn't make up for the whiny, overly produced and almost sentimental crap we hear from so many sources today. I've said it before and I'll say it again...there is NO crying in METAL.

So to celebrate, I give to you my uncut review of Trick Or Treat from 2007. METAL FOREVER!!!

The DarkSider

REVIEWED BY: The DarkSider - 10/26/07

THE PLOT: METAL! Yes that’s right you crazy kids, time to shout out that word again while imitating Mr. Dio’s famous hand salute. Trick Or Treat has been one of those films on my back burner for quite some time now. Seeing that the year 2007 saw several roundtables coming about in the bad movie community this, the Halloween theme, proved to be the golden moment for yours truly to take it on. I plan to painfully dissect this film so this could get lengthy.

Our METAL adventure begins with the credits rolling over satanic chanting of sorts. I won’t call the “narration rule” into effect here seeing it isn’t quite narration. However, I might as well have by the end of this film. The film opens with shots of a metal head’s room which apparently was put together by someone who read Metal Heads For Idiots. Indeed there are posters plastered everywhere of Judas Priest, Motley Crue, Anthrax and so on for metal heads to cheer for on opening day. I was a bit young when this film came out so I had to wonder what the crowd was like on opening night. Was it filled with long haired guys in all black or were the theaters filled with…well…nobody. I guess those were truly the only two options.

The camera pan continues to reveal a hamster (wouldn’t a metal head have something cooler like a scorpion), a few board games and then a huge poster of our lead character’s idol Sammi Curr. Speaking of our lead character…um…oh boy…let me introduce him. This would be Eddie who’s METAL name is Ragman. Who did they get to play this guy? Think back to America’s favorite nerd of the 80s, Skippy on Family Ties. Yep Marc Price. Yes, the nerdy guy who hang out with Alex P. Keaton. I imagine the shock in 1986 to the metal head community was like when people found out that the guy who played Screech was doing an adult video.

Although this film took a hit for casting him as the film’s lead metal head, I have to admit they made Price at least look like a metal head. I recall growing up in the 80s listening to metal but never really dressing the part. However I can honestly attest that many of my metal head friends scarily looked like Eddie. Who knows, maybe I was hanging out with poseurs or something.

Back to the film, Eddie is writing away in a notebook to Sammi about how life sucks. How bad does it suck? The film shows you in a montage of clips. Eddie gets his milk punctured by bullies, hair messed up by bullies and a whole bunch of other things which aren’t very nice done to him by bullies. The bullies are lead buy a guy named Tim played by Tim Hainey who would later end up playing one of the comatose guys on Desperate Housewives. Yep, a who would have known acting role.

Probably the most disturbing event for Eddie is when they toss him out of the locker room naked in front of a bunch of girls. Unfortunately we get to see Skippy’s posterior end in this scene. One of many things I could have gone without seeing in my life. Although this event could have wrecked guys like Eddie as a teenager, I have to admit if there was time Eddie could have gotten laid it was here. Simply play it out and let the chicks see your package. What have you got to lose at this point.

Eddie wraps up his note to Sammi saying although he thinks of ending it all, his music keeps him going. Awwwwwww, how sweet. He signs the note and heads downstairs to do some laundry. Of course Eddie sports the mandatory headphones which are blasting METAL. Little does he know a news announcement on Sammi Curr is happening. The oddity of this scene is that the story was billed as a top story of sorts. If this were real life in the mid 80s, not even Rob Halford could have grabbed top headlines. Hell, he’d have to follow stories about small town legislature, union strikes at the local bus depot and a cute fluff story about a skydiving chipmunk until/IF he actually got a mention.

We find out through the miracle of back story that Curr was slated to do a concert at his old stomping grounds which would be Eddie’s school. Wow, that’s convenient. However, this was shot down by school administrators. Eddie tunes in just in time to find out that…gasp…Sammi has perished in a hotel fire. NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Sniff…sniff…this causes Eddie to go on a virtual rampage ripping down posters in his room. Not sure why seeing it wasn’t like Iron Maiden and Slayer lit the fire that killed Curr or anything. Eddie stops his romp when he sees Sammi’s face staring down at him from a poster.

So, lets move on to an interesting character brought to life by one of the kings of shameless self promotion, Gene Simmons. I vaguely recall seeing a show where he said the producers of TOT wanted him to play Curr. However he opted for a Wolfman Jack wanna-be in the form of Nuke. I have to admit that Simmons does a pretty good job in the role although I’m not sure exactly the level of importance his character is to the film. Oh wait a minute…they needed a famous rocker or two to get people to watch this film so perhaps his character on a universal scale was of high importance. The other big “name” will come later in the film in an even smaller role. Oddly these two names get top billing on DVD cases everywhere.

The Metal Gods are crying.

Anyhow, Eddie comes in to visit Nuke for whatever reason. By the way, I couldn’t really figure out why Eddie had such easy access to the radio station. Perhaps he was an intern or something. The two discuss Sammi’s death and Nuke tries to convince Eddie that his idol wasn’t very nice. However, he also provides Eddie with the last known LP of Sammi Curr. Apparently Sammi wanted it played on Halloween night. Of course that means something big to the plot later.

The next day at school, Eddie’s only friend Roger asks him how he is coping with the loss. Eddie shucks him off but at this point we need to fulfill the “popular person who feels bad for the outcast” role. It so happens to be a gal named Leslie who Eddie has the hots for in the first place. Once again, how convenient right? She approaches him and asks him to attend a pool party that evening. Here is where the following golden rule in horror cinema comes into play. You see, whenever a loser is invited to a party by a much popular kid, they have to go. Why, well something bad always happens which starts the ball rolling against the school’s elite.

This example is no different from that rule. Eddie shows up to the pool party (how did a bunch of high school kids reserve a YMCA place is beyond me) and comes face to face with Tim and his buddies. Tim’s main squeeze Jeannie accosts Eddie asking him why he’s so odd. Eddie kind of throws up his arms and walks away. Tim and the boys pounce placing a weight in his backpack and chucking him in the pool. Eddie struggles on the bottom but is rescued by Leslie. Eddie storms out as Leslie tries to stop him to explain. He swears his vengeance but obviously he needs a little help.

Eddie goes home and cues up the latest from his idol on the record player. He falls asleep and has odd visions of Sammi on fire and wakes up to hear the record skipping. He plays it backward and it tells him to be the bait. This is another one of those things METAL is synonymous for and this film pokes fun at which I appreciate. It seems everyone hears something different when you play Houses Of The Holy or The White Album backwards. None of it resembles much of anything audible. Hell, you’d probably have better luck reading this review backwards for a hidden message. Ok, for the record, there are no subliminal messages in this or any of my writings, backwards or forwards. Nor would suggest any evil doings. Well aside from maybe suggesting to intake this film at the end of the review.

Eddie takes Sammi’s beyond the grave advice to school. He sets up a bunch of obstacles and after splattering Tim with his lunch tray, gives way to a chase. Tim and the boys stumble along the way and end up in big trouble when they spray a bunch of teachers with a fire extinguisher.

That evening, Eddie does his best to convince his friend Roger that the record is helping him. Yeah good going, scare away you're only friend you idiot. Roger leaves and Eddie gives the old record a spin again. Immediately he hears the voice of Sammi, however this time the record carries a conversation. Eddie asks what the next course of action should be against Tim. Sammi mentions a room 66, which happens to be the school's shop class.

The next day, Eddie heads into the empty shop class to hang out. Why was it open? Well I guess the school didn't care much about theft or tools being used as weapons. No matter though it sets up the next scene, which sees Tim accosting Eddie in the shop. Tim throws him around for a bit, however Tim's tie gets caught in one of the machines. Eddie shuts the power off right before Tim gets a drill to the head. Tim decides he's had enough of satanic oddness for one day and bails.

Eddie celebrates Tim's near death all the way home by listening to Sammi's new record, which he made a tape of in his spare time. Odd thing about this recording is the fact it is all backwards. Yeah I know without a backwards record we wouldn't have a plot but still, I don't think I could rock out to a reverse recording.

Meanwhile Eddie's mom, while putting his clothes away, discovers some questionable albums in Eddie's collection. No not The Elder, rather some death metal releases along with a Megadeth album. She is immediately disturbed by the fact her son is in fact a...gasp...metal head. Hmmmm...I found it odd that even though she cleans his clothes, which were all pretty much METAL shirts, it took her this long to discover his true identity. Anyhow, she bumps into a stereo, which turns some METAL on. She runs around franticly trying to turn it off and eventually succeeds. I don't know what she was so upset about though. At least it wasn't show tunes. Sigh...Eddie arrives just in time to kick her out of his room.

Eddie commences taping another copy of the tape as a “peace offering” to Tim. Later that evening while Tim parks with Jeannie, she gives the tape a listen. A strange green mist comes out of the headphones, takes off her clothes and obviously achieves desired effects for Jeannie as well who moans with her eye closed. However when she opens her eyes, she realizes a demon with a rather large tongue is licking her. I guess that would be a pretty big mood spoiler for any chick. Oh add in the fact her ears get melted off by the headphones.

Cut to Eddie’s mom who is working out in her bedroom. Cue up one of the best, if not the best, cameos in movie history. The Ozzman as a reverend against heavy metal music on television. I can watch this scene 100 times in a day and still find it funny. Anyhow while this happens, Tim rushes over to Eddie’s house to yell at him for melting his girlfriend’s ears. When he moves in to fight Eddie, the jack o lanterns outside light up in a festive manner. Figuring that this cute little trick is a bad sign, Tim backs off.

Eddie rushes upstairs to yell at Sammi for his satanic naughtiness however Sammi doesn’t see things his way. Matter of fact, Sammi finally makes his way out of the record and into Eddie’s room through the speaker. You see, this apparently is Sammi’s big talent in the afterlife. All the satanic power in the universe and he still needs electrical equipment apparently. Anyhow, Sammi’s face is horribly scarred and he quickly disappears after telling Eddie he shouldn’t have turned his back on him.

Eddie quickly finds himself grounded after his mother gets a call from Tim’s father. Eddie realizes that somehow the tape Tim has must be destroyed. Who else to do this but the pre-cursor to Napoleon Dynamite, Roger. I haven’t made mention of this yet but Roger was cool sh*t to me. Although he is a standard nerd, he gave me a few good laughs throughout the film. This whole next sequence is a fine example of that last sentence.

Roger goes to lift the cassette from Tim and tells Eddie he destroyed it. However, curiosity gets the best of old Roger and he pops in the cassette. This causes Sammi to be reborn once again and Roger tells him that he loves all his records. Sammi pulls an anti-METAL activist through the TV screen which causes her to turn to ash. Sammi demands that Roger play his tape at the school’s Halloween dance. Roger agrees but first starts up the old vacuum to clean up the charred body in his living room. Once again, this kid is frickin’ hilarious.

Roger makes his way to the dance while Eddie hangs out at home. Roger runs into Leslie who asks of Eddie’s whereabouts. When he tells her, she gives him a ring at home. Eddie hears the familiar backwards track being played at the dance. This causes him to jump into his muscle car and head off to the dance. However, Sammi has another plan for him. You see, one of the tapes Eddie made plays in his tape deck which causes the car to go crazy. The car zips all over town and only after Eddie rips the tape deck’s wires out, it stops. Yeah, I know it sounds like a familiar Steven King story about a care but wait, theres another familiar King story plot about to be borrowed.

Meanwhile at the dance, the band is about to go on. Now here is where things get a bit stupid. The lead singer realizes theres a lot of feedback going on so he examines the speaker. Sammi’s hand comes out of it and zaps the singer into oblivion. His guitar hurls into the air and lands into the hands of Sammi who appears fully resurrected on stage. Sammi starts banging like a ninny on his thigh which starts the obligatory crowd participation clapping. The best part of this whole sequence comes when the rest of the band miraculously know exactly what to play with Sammi as the lead. I found it hard to believe these guys didn’t seem to care their lead singer was just zapped into ashes. Perhaps he acted like Axl Rose behind the scenes and they really didn‘t give a sh*t.

"Cat fur, food, burnt up ladies dragged through the
TV by undead rockers, the SUCK-O vacuum handles
it all!"

Sammi breaks out the METAL which sees a lot of odd prancing around. Matter of fact, he gives David Lee Roth a run for his money. All of this leads up to Sammi’s phenomenal guitar solo which sees tons of people getting zapped from his loving rhythms. He zaps a teacher, a guy dressed as Humpty Dumpty (and what a great fall it was too) and the drummer who goes out in a bit of Spinal Tap blaze among others. As mentioned a few paragraphs ago, things start to closely resemble Carrie with people running for the exits. Sammi continues to terrorize the masses in the gym.

Meanwhile, Leslie is in the bathroom getting undressed. Tim walks in on her and attempts a little in-out on her but she escapes. Outside, Eddie arrives and finds Roger rather distraught but tells him to pull it together to stop Sammi. Eddie wanders around looking for Leslie but finds Tim instead. Eddie tries to warn him of Sammi but its too late for him. Sammi explodes Tim with a jolt of electricity causing a load of peppiness to go everywhere.

Eddie does eventually find Leslie who runs with him to escape Sammi. When they are cornered next to the circuit breakers, Roger arrives just in time to short circuit it which causes Sammi to go away. This is where I get confused a bit on the villain front. You see, Sammi supposedly needs his record to play so he can be reanimated. Um ok…that and he needs some sort of speaker to jump through to kill people. Um ok…still electricity has to be flowing through the lines for him to exist. Um ok…the movie is a bit aloof when it comes to explaining this phenomenon. Why, well in a few scenes Sammi is able to jump through a shower radio and a battery operated radio. Yes I’m aware batteries generate electricity but I was under the impression Sammi could only travel through electrical lines when in fact a record of his recording was played backwards and speakers were involved and…ok…I’d better stop…my head is generating too much electricity…I’m afraid I’ll have a dead rock star jump through my ears.

Eddie destroys all the tapes but realizes there is one left. It is in the radio studio and, as Nuke promised, is being played at midnight backwards. Hmmmm…I guess that station doesn’t have a very good program director. The cops are tipped off to Eddie by one of Tim’s buddies. The cops chase after him because…well I don’t know why. Its not like he was at the dance dressed as a 6 foot tall dead rocker. Still, Eddie and Leslie make a mad dash to the station fighting Sammi all the way there who freely jumps in and out of speakers everywhere. Eventually they notice that Sammi has a weakness to water when his hand get stuck in a toilet. Water stomping electricity. Cheers to the rocket scientist writing this script for figuring that out.

Why not to hire Mr. Magoo as your roadie...

Finally, Eddie and Leslie make it to the station after jacking a police car from an officer Sammi fried. They notice that Sammi has infected the broadcast booth with his electrical behavior. Eddie comes up with a last ditch effort to destroy the tape. He takes a hand held radio and goes on a ride with it in the back seat. He tells Leslie before he goes to count to 100 before going back into the station.

The whole time on the drive, Eddie trash talks Sammi saying he doesn’t need him any more…ohhhhh….that hes nothing without his fans…double ohhhhh…and that he is a poseur rock pussy….ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Sammi doesn’t take kindly to that last remark and materializes in the back seat. Eddie drives the car off a bridge and Leslie simultaneously destroys the last tape. The film ends with the metal head getting the girl. Aside from facing charges of murder, grand theft auto and a whole lot more I guess that’s a happy ending for Eddie.

Trick Or Treat seems to have been dropped into the annuals of really crappy movies. However, aside from pulling up the most generic of horror movie characters and mixing it with some rather awful plot loops, the film really isn’t bad at all. Matter of fact, it could very well be considered genius in the real of social commentary on the mid 80’s music trial witch hunts. Metal took a huge backlash during the time of this movie and this film is a wonderful reflection of people’s wild and often idiotic ideas about rock n roll. Sammi Curr just so happens to be the embodiment of all these negative ideas.

Eddies character suffers from what many metal heads would have gone through during this time. His mother is afraid of him, his classmates shun him and the only solace he finds is in METAL. As said in the first few original paragraphs, Marc Price may not have been the best choice as a metal head. People who play the nerd on family TV seem to often get stuck in this typecast. However I have to say regardless, Price doesn’t do a bad job in the role and I could buy it.

I often thought a sequel to this film would be a great idea. Except this time have the kid who played Steve Urkel play a gansta who is told to do things by “ice” from a dead rapper. Now tell me that wouldn’t sell. Oh well, lets wrap this up this rock review our style…


(the A-Holes of the film get their moment)

Sammi Curr

Apparently hairspray and spandex are in good supply in the afterlife.


Ladies and gentlemen, your low budget William Zabka of the movie.


All Reviews Are Copyrights Of The Author. Reproduction of any review must be authorized by the copyright holder.All Titles, Images And Other Related Materials In The Review Are Being Used In Accordance With The Fair Use Law.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.